What Zoe Tay expects from her husband on every birthday

LONG LIVE THE QUEEN: The beloved “Ah Jie” celebrated her 50th birthday a week in advance with a star-studded bash

What Zoe Tay expects from her husband on every birthday
What Zoe Tay expects from her husband on every birthday
04 Jan 2018

What Zoe Tay expects from her husband on every birthday

Photos: Tammi Tan
Video: Philip Ang

Zoe Tay’s husband is a dead man if he ever forgets her birthday.

Okay, we’re probably being a little overdramatic, but the Queen of Caldecott Hill (now Stars Avenue) did declare – with a threatening glare, we might add – that she would be royally ticked off if her hubby, pilot Philip Chionh, were to let such a momentous occasion slip his mind.

Thankfully, he has yet to commit such an alarming relationship faux pas, as the Mediacorp Ah Jie happily reported to us at her 50th birthday bash last night. “He’s not a very romantic person, but I’m happy enough if he remembers and gives me flowers,” she said, when we asked what’s the most swoon-worthy thing Philip has ever done for her birthday.

Flowers are what she received in abundance at yesterday’s star-studded soiree at swanky Japanese joint Enbu, which was also held to mark her 30th anniversary in showbiz (yes, it’s been that long since she won Star Search in 1988). While there’s still a week to go before Zoe officially hits the big five-O on January 10, she gleefully revealed that she will be travelling with her best friend then, so the event had to be brought forward.

Wait a minute – don’t Philip and their three boys Brayden, Ashton and Nathan have anything planned to celebrate her reaching this milestone age? “Not that I know of,” she shrugged. “And besides, I’ll be working over the next few days.”

Oh dear, no wonder Zoe joked that she should’ve been retired by now, a light-hearted comment that was quickly brushed aside by the veteran actress’s reassurance that she has no intention of throwing in the towel just yet. And besides, she’s been too busy to ponder about retirement life thanks to her young sons (they turn 13, 11 and 8 this year), who keep their mama on her toes and her plate full.

Case in point: the dedicated super-mum diligently plans merry get-togethers for her kids’ birthdays simply because they enjoy it. “They love having friends around and they love receiving gifts,” she said, adding that it’s also a good opportunity for her to get to know their classmates better.

Don’t expect the same treatment for Philip, though. “I used to throw parties for him but I stopped because he doesn’t really care for them. (laughs)”

Continued on next slide: Zoe’s most memorable birthday party

Zoe’s most memorable birthday party
Zoe’s most memorable birthday party
04 Jan 2018

Zoe’s most memorable birthday party

In all her years as a top star, Zoe has certainly had her fair share of fancy festivities thrown in her honour. However, one of the birthday parties she holds dearest to her heart is the one that happened over half a lifetime ago, courtesy of her long-time friend and celebrity hairstylist David Gan.

“It was my 21st birthday, but I didn’t tell him anything,” she recalled. “After I drove him home, he told me to get down from the car and go into his house because he needed to pass me something. As soon as I stepped in, I was greeted by all my friends and everyone I knew from my modelling days! I was moved to tears. (laughs)”

Last night’s shindig obviously came as much, much less of a surprise (her managers had been putting it together for two to three months, and Zoe personally picked out the restaurant), but just like it was all those years ago, what mattered the most were the people.

“I’m grateful enough for the fact that everyone was willing to show up today,” she said. “There isn’t anything else that I want or need.”

Zoe’s gratefulness towards her guests wasn’t just restricted to nice-sounding, interview quote-worthy words: she showed it, and we felt it.

For example, while we were halfway through our scrumptious and elaborately plated dinner, Ah Jie herself paid a sudden visit to our table, just for a casual chat. We’re not going to lie: we honestly would have expected her to spend the entire evening mingling with her fellow famous folk (there were 16 other artistes out of the 50 pax present).

Then, at the end of the whole affair, Zoe stood at the door to say goodbye and thank every single person as they exited the venue (and to gladly oblige selfie requests while looking exceptionally flawless in every single one of them), reminding us of the post-reception line at a wedding dinner.

So much for someone who had earlier on declared that she’s “not good at entertaining guests”.

Happy birthday, Ah Jie!

Click through for more photos from Zoe Tay’s 50th birthday bash!

Zoe poses with her enormous bouquet of roses
Zoe poses with her enormous bouquet of roses
04 Jan 2018

Zoe poses with her enormous bouquet of roses

Before the cake-cutting commenced, Zoe was presented with a massive bouquet of 150 roses from Mediacorp CEO Tham Loke Kheng. According to Bryan Wong (who put his hosting skills to good use and acted as the emcee for the segment), the roses come in three different colours, with each colour representing a decade of Zoe’s career, as well as the past, present and future.

We’re still wondering how Zoe brought that enormous thing home, and if she has any room at home to store it.

Zoe makes a wish before blowing out the candle on her birthday cake
Zoe makes a wish before blowing out the candle on her birthday cake
04 Jan 2018

Zoe makes a wish before blowing out the candle on her birthday cake

Zoe removes the candle with her mouth
Zoe removes the candle with her mouth
04 Jan 2018

Zoe removes the candle with her mouth

Bryan Wong relayed a "special request" to Zoe: remove the candle from the cake with her mouth. Although she was obviously worried that someone would smash her face in from behind, we don't think anyone would ever dare to do such a thing to the Queen!

Zoe gets ready to cut the cake
Zoe gets ready to cut the cake
04 Jan 2018

Zoe gets ready to cut the cake

Mediacorp CEO Tham Loke Kheng and The Celebrity Agency head Georgina Chang (both on Zoe's right) join in the group shot with the artistes.

Zoe and her fellow Mediacorp artistes take a big group shot
Zoe and her fellow Mediacorp artistes take a big group shot
04 Jan 2018

Zoe and her fellow Mediacorp artistes take a big group shot

Zoe poses with the decor outside the restaurant
Zoe poses with the decor outside the restaurant
04 Jan 2018

Zoe poses with the decor outside the restaurant

Pan Ling Ling, Zoe Tay, Aileen Tan
Pan Ling Ling, Zoe Tay, Aileen Tan
04 Jan 2018

Pan Ling Ling, Zoe Tay, Aileen Tan

Zoe takes a selfie with guests
Zoe takes a selfie with guests
04 Jan 2018

Zoe takes a selfie with guests

Zoe shares a toast with her friends
Zoe shares a toast with her friends
04 Jan 2018

Zoe shares a toast with her friends

Watch: What birthday party once brought Zoe to tears?

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