The happy family: Junyang, Azalea and Candyce
Photos: Lee Layna
Sugar, spice and everyday squabbles: Married life is not always a bed of roses and with every relationship there are bound to be ups and downs, as seen in this couple’s 11-year romance. For most of their courtship and early days of marriage, Candyce and Junyang were separated by distance as they lived and worked in different countries (he was based in China and Taiwan while she was based in Singapore), but they made things work and are now proud parents to 6-month-old Azalea Ang.
As former Project SuperStar contestants turned lovers, Junyang and Candyce are polar opposites – he’s a little more in tune with his emotions and his sensitive side while she’s ‘hardier’ than your average girl and seldom wears her heart on her sleeve despite her demure and feminine appearance; he’s the kan cheong spider (a colloquial term to describe an anxious person) and she’s a laidback chillax soul.
And you know what they say about opposites attracting and complementing each other.
After more than a decade together, the couple bare their hearts on Toggle’s In Bed With interview. Did you know that Junyang attempted to win Candyce’s heart with throat candy and intense stares during the PSS competition, but these little tricks failed to work their magic on his fair lady (unsurprisingly) and she only changed her mind after a serious work accident…?
Emotions ran high, some tears were shed and punches were thrown as this couple remembered their relationship milestones and shared about the little quirks that annoy the hell out of each other. Welcome to the married life of Candyce and Junyang.
WATCH: Junyang laments about the new "invader" in their bedroom
Their ‘unimpressionable’ first impressions of each other
Junyang didn’t leave the best first impression on Candyce due to his tanned skin tone and baggy outfits. Plus, it didn’t help that he was lacking in EQ (emotional quotient) when it came to conveying his interest. She didn’t even know he was trying to get on her good books during their competition days on PSS because of his “woody” personality and the lack of romantic vibes until their fellow contestants started pointing it out to her.
Candyce recalled, “The people around me kept telling me that Junyang is really nice to me and because we were all in PSS back then, we loved eating this throat candy that’d help our vocals during the singing performances. So there was once he walked over to where I was seated with the rest of the girls and offered it to me without acknowledging the rest. Everyone wondered if they were invisible to him! (Laughs)”
To further drive home that he clearly only had eyes for her, Junyang revealed that he’d fix his gaze on her when singing, like that one time he was performing David Tao’s ‘Ai Hen Jian Dan’ during the competition. He had both personal and work reasons for doing so: A good friend once told him not to let his gaze wander when he is singing, so what he did was to concentrate and focus his gaze on Candyce, who he was currently trying to pursue and who was conveniently seated in his direction.
Well, his plans to charm the socks off her using his eyes didn’t work out… what Junyang did next, however, won her over.
The first time they saw each other as life partners
Candyce’s love awakening, or should we say “enlightenment”, came much earlier than Junyang’s, when she accidentally broke her arm during a cheerleading rehearsal for the President’s Star Charity show 10 years ago.
The mother of one recalled him fussing over her wellbeing in front of everyone even though they weren’t an item yet. He also “skipped rehearsals to accompany me to the hospital”, chuckled Candyce, and “called his mum and dad to go to the hospital” so as to give him updates about her condition when he had to go back to work.
That was when she knew he was “The One” – when he risked it all to be with her. But before they could walk down the aisle, start a family of their own and spend the rest of their lives together, they had a few more hurdles ahead of them, one of which involved Junyang’s decision to give up his career as a singer and go abroad to work behind-the-scenes as a music producer.
Things got only tougher for him after the career switch because he had to “fight it out with the crème de la crème of the music industry” when he started work in Taiwan and China. Through the hard times, including a subsequent job switch to a different recording company, where he earned even less than at his previous job, Candyce never once complained about their situation.
She was the breadwinner, recalled Junyang, eyes welling up. “She didn’t say anything and just silently supported me… She took on many jobs and most of the income came from her. Because of that, I made the decision to get married in 2010.”
(Continued on next page: Candyce tells us why she was happier when Junyang was working in Taiwan)
The first time they had to be physically apart for long periods of time
Distance can make the heart grow fonder but it can also make or break a relationship, especially when it comes to living apart for a long period of time—years, even, for Junyang and Candyce’s case. The couple knew what was coming when Junyang had to base himself in Taiwan for work and determined to ride it out together, they made it a point to share about their lives via phone or video calls on a daily basis.
“When you don’t make it a point to share, it’s harder to integrate your lives together and you’d start to drift apart. That is why long distance relationships fail and I told her we have to make it a point and do it,” Junyang said. It worried him even more when his then-girlfriend and wife appeared to be happier and coping well without his presence – a point gleefully affirmed by Candyce herself during the interview.
“I didn’t feel lonely – I had my sisters, my son Tuffy (their golden retriever). I’m more of a homebody who’s happy staying at home,” quipped Candyce, “Plus, it’s better to miss someone than quarrel with him. I’m actually happier without you [in Singapore] because there isn’t anyone nagging at me (guffaws).”
Speaking of quarrels…
What does Candyce do when Junyang annoys her with his incessant and repetitive questions?
The quibbles and squabbles over each other’s bad habits
It’s important to make sure that’s food on the table at home, but Junyang’s career-mindedness got in the way of their relationship when he started to spend more time focusing on business dealings and socialising with visiting work contacts from Taiwan during his rare visits back home. But it was not so much about his focus on work that irked her, said Candyce as she tried to set the record straight.
“You neglected me [then] because you’re always playing games – on DOTA or Warcraft, and you’d tell me you need to go home to meet your friend on LAN to play computer games,” she huffed in mock annoyance. “And that’s why I get angry.”
While Candyce had to grapple with her beau’s love for games, he had to manage and change her “bad” texting habits. “She has a bad habit of typing on the phone instead of talking things out over the phone,” lamented Junyang as he recounted the pains of having a long-distance quarrel. “But the thing about chats is words have different interpretations and the other party might interpret it differently and think you’re angry.”
“I really hated typing, plus I had a hand injury, and she didn’t like to pick up her phone back then too, so I had to brainwash her to tell her that we have to chat on the phone for important matters,” groused Junyang, to which Candyce replied indignantly, “That’s how girls are like when they’re angry!” Touché.
WATCH: How well do Candyce & Junyang know each other's habits and quirks?
The struggles and joys of parenthood
Their “long-distance” romance finally ended when Junyang came back to Singapore for good during the final trimester of Candyce’s pregnancy. The then-dad-to-be was on tenterhooks 24/7 because she was constantly having dizzy spells and puking during the early stages of her pregnancy. “I decided that I must come back after the third month [because] I was worried sick and I had to come back for the kid too,” Junyang let on.
Six months into their lives as new parents, the both of them are coping swimmingly with baby Azalea – even with Candyce’s post-labour pelvic injury (which she has yet to fully recover from) and a growing sleep debt.
Their lovers’ tiffs are still an everyday affair as the couple learns to accommodate differing sleeping habits and patterns, as well as cope with the demanding regime of nightly feeds, soiled sheets and dirty diapers while nurturing their child. Candyce, as usual, with her independent streak is persistent in her determination to breastfeed her baby despite her post-labour injuries (“I want to give my baby the best,” she says), and Junyang continues to coax and dissuade her from doing so (“It’s important to make a full recovery,” he nags) – but to no avail.
At the end of the day, as with all parents, their squabbles stem from love: he just wants the best for her and their family and she just wants the best for their baby. There will be many more milestones ahead of them as they watch their little bundle of joy grow and share weal, woe and wet diaper-moments together.
Welcome to married life v2.0 (also known as the world of parenting).
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Special thanks to Lanson Place Winsland Serviced Residences.