Photos: Lee Lay Na
Born and bred in Taiwan, Kate Pang would never have thought that she’d one day come to Singapore to further her career, much less settle down and build a family. Her rose-tinted glasses were shattered at a young age, with her parents going through a divorce when she was still a child.
Moving out to live on her own at the tender age of 16 after growing up under her grandmother’s watchful eye, Kate started her career in modelling and at the same time, dated a number of men but never found Mr. Right. By what she calls a stroke of fate, Mediacorp came a-knocking when the company flew to Taiwan to cast fresh faces. She arrived on our sunny shores in early 2010 and the rest, as they say, is history.
It was a double surprise when she announced her marriage to fellow artiste Andie Chen and pregnancy in 2013. The couple previously denied being in a relationship and admitted that they had never thought of tying the knot despite knowing that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
Baby Aden changed all that and more. The pair celebrated their second wedding anniversary last November, and with their second child (a girl this time) due in June, the 33-year-old confessed that bedroom activities between man and wife have not been as smooth-sailing as they once were. This has become one of the biggest bones of contention between the couple – and what’s more, the couple no longer share a room.
From unexpected confessions about what goes on behind closed doors in Andie and Kate’s home, revelations about why her grandmother was initially worried about her choice of groom to the reason behind Andie’s need to continuously brainwash her, read and watch on for more.
Coming to Singapore and settling down was never part of the plan
Her childhood was far from ideal, with her parents filing for divorce when Kate was still pretty young. She grew up with her grandma but moved out when she was 16 and earned a living by taking up modelling.
While she was happy with her modelling gig back then, Kate hungered for more, with acting coming into mind. The competitive industry over in Taiwan, however, had her manager warn her against trying.
“I think I’m a very lucky person and things that I hope for tend to come true. I told my manager that I wanted to act but she said that it would be too tough – and it’s true, you often need to go hungry as an actor in Taiwan,” the Kate explained.
But as fate would have it, Mediacorp came knocking on her door in Taiwan. “They came to cast new talent so I gave it a try. I intended to leave Singapore after my first contract with Mediacorp expired, but the company gave me so many opportunities that I signed a second one and I got married even before that was completed.”
Andie wasn’t Kate’s first brush with love in Singapore…
Who knew that this mother of one (and soon two) was a player during her younger days? She started dating at a young age since there was no one at home to “control” her and had five to six “serious boyfriends” with each relationship lasting for a long time. The shortest relationship she has ever been in lasted for a grand total of six months, which isn’t too short, in hindsight.
But things changed when a man named Andie Chen entered her life, after they got to know each other on the set of Channel 8 drama series, Joys of Life. “After we started dating, he’d think of my ex-boyfriends from time to time and find it a little strange. We’d then just brush it off and carry on (with our lives),” Kate laughed.
“Andie was my first serious boyfriend after I came to Singapore, and also the first showbiz boyfriend who I thought had the potential to go the distance with (…) I did have good feelings towards other men and with regards to my dating rumours back then (with fellow actor Jerry Yeo), I can only say this: there’s no smoke without fire.”
… And the pair never imagined that they’d find their happily ever after with each other
We’ve all heard about ideal types and probably have an idea of what we’d like our future husbands or wives to be. Andie and Kate were no exception – but they were the types who either party would never imagine seeing themselves married to.
“When we look back, we can also hardly believe that we’d end up together. We’ve asked each other, “How did you end up by my side?” because we’re both not each other’s types. His ideal wife is someone who’s like Rebecca Lim, someone very warm and homely, or Ann Kok, who’s very sexy. I’m someone who’s in the middle and does things my own way, so he’s said that marrying me could be his retribution,” Kate laughed.
“I’ve always liked men with milky skin, and the people that I’ve dated all had pretty good skin. I felt that guys needed to be fair and pristine – flower boys are my type. That being said, Andie isn’t ugly and I pay more attention to the feeling I get from the person more than his appearance itself. What’s more, we truly get along so well, it’s like we’re living with ourselves.”
Her family knew nothing about her relationship with Andie until she was pregnant
Being independent from a young age also means that Kate makes most of her decisions on her own – including those related to her personal life. “I’m someone who does everything secretly – even when it comes to my career, I don’t tell my family much. In relationships, it’s only when I feel that things are stable then I’ll introduce my other half to them so they haven’t seen many of my boyfriends,” the star explained.
Sharing that her sister has only seen two of her ex-boyfriends – whom she didn’t approve of – she added, “I was in Singapore and my family was back in Taiwan, I only told them about Andie at the last moment when we were about to get married. At the time, my grandma had never seen him and she only got to do so for the first time after I gave birth to Aden.”
“She didn’t oppose to our relationship but she was worried because she’s read a lot of reports in the papers and magazines about unhappy celebrity marriages – she’s never seen how happy (Hong) Hui Fang jie and (Zheng) Ge Ping ge are, plus the majority of showbiz couples in China and Taiwan didn’t turn out well,” she explained. Chuckling, Kate added, “This time however, when we were back in Taiwan, she asked him to tolerate and give in to me.” It seems like the tables have turned, and granny has given her stamp of approval.
She wasn’t opposed to having an abortion back then
They say life changes when you’re 30, and Kate was faced with a life-changing decision when she hit the big 3-0. That was the year she discovered that she was pregnant, and while she felt that she was ready for one, she left the decision on whether to keep their then-unborn baby to Andie. When her pregnancy test came back positive, her first thought was, “Oh Sh**. Is it that easy to get pregnant?”
“The only question my grandma asked me back then was, “Does he want to have kids?” She was worried that he was the sort who toyed around with women but never thought of having children. Honestly, he was the one who wanted to have a child and I was the one who was more concerned about it. She said, ‘If he likes children and he wants them, then there’s no problem.’”
Thankfully, once she told him the good news, he responded “without a hint of hesitation, ‘I definitely want this baby.’”
Even before getting married, she’s thought about divorce
As someone who was “terrified at the thought of marriage”, perhaps due to her parents’ bad history, Kate once told Andie, “If we get married, there will be the possibility of us getting a divorce”. Even now, he has to constantly “brainwash” her to ensure that she doesn’t let negativity get to her.
“He told me, ‘You can’t think that marriage will eventually end badly, because if you think that way there’s a chance that it will really end up like that because of your thoughts. Regardless of what happens, we must think positively.’”
And it seems as though Kate has started to be convinced that marriage can be forever, even through thick and thin. “When I first came back (from Taiwan) after giving birth to Aden, I didn’t have any jobs yet and would constantly complain about how expensive it is to drive here. He’d get annoyed with how miserly I suddenly became,” Kate shared.
“My bank account only had $100 left and I didn’t even have enough to buy groceries. He later found out about it and transferred some money to me.” The family doesn’t have the habit where Andie regularly transfers money to Kate, but instead, she will let him know if she’s running low and he’ll deposit funds into her account.
Declaring him to be “the one I love the most in this life”, she let on, “Andie made me believe that fairytales can come true and that it’s possible to be happy in life.”
They’re both ticking time-bombs that both parties don’t dare to set off
Unlike their reel-life selves, these two actors have never yelled at each other when things don’t go their way. “In the two years or so we’ve been married, we’ve never had a real argument where we raise our voices at each other. Instead, we often sit down together and have serious discussions,” she shared.
“He holds everything in until he feels that he can’t contain it any longer and say, “Do you think we have time to talk?” We’d be very serious and the both of us might even end up with tears streaming down our faces,” Kate shared. “We’re both ticking time bombs, and neither one of us would knowingly set each other off. We’ve never come across a situation that’s irreversible – such as one party cheating – so we wouldn’t want to do that to each other.”
Sex – or rather, when to have it – has been discussed at length
Holding true to her no-holds barred approach to interviews, Kate shared that not all has been smooth-sailing for her and her hubby, especially when it comes to night-time activities between the pair. “A lot of couples who’ve had a baby should have experienced this issue – bedroom matters don’t go as smoothly as before. We’re busy with work and looking after our child so come nighttime, I don’t have the time and energy to be with my husband,” Kate confessed.
“To me, it doesn’t matter whether or not we have sex, but I’d often prefer not to because I’m so tired,” she continued. “We’ve even discussed having a fixed schedule but he finds it too unsentimental. I think this is the only way I can remind myself [and] I think we’re both still young so I don’t want this to become something that ruins our relationship.”
Smiling wryly, she concluded, “We both agree that the situation will probably improve once our children grow up.”
They have been sleeping in separate rooms since Aden was born
Another issue that the couple is facing an en passant is their sleeping arrangements. Kate confessed that the pair sleep in separate rooms – not because of differences between the two, but for practical reasons.
“Andie is tall and snores when he’s too tired, while Aden moves about a lot in his sleep. We run out of space on the bed and I have no way of having a good night’s rest,” she explained. “Aden is used to sleeping with me and if we let him sleep with our helper, she might get disturbed by his restlessness so Andie quietly sacrificed himself and sleeps in another room.”
“The longest we’ve gone without bedroom activities is one to two weeks. He’s told me, ‘Never let your man leave the house with a loaded gun’ and I agree with what he says but I have no choice because I’m really too tired.”
While Kate’s grandmother has nagged at her that married couples should be sleeping in the same room, Kate shrugged and said they have “no choice”. Even in their new home, Andie has a room all to himself.
Kate considers her miscarriage a hidden blessing
Professing that all three pregnancies were “accidents”, Kate smiled wryly, “Andie is a very careful person and pays attention to my ovulation period. There was once we came a bit too close to the fertile window and he said, ‘We’re in trouble this time' and I wondered why because getting pregnant didn’t seem that easy.”
She continued, “He hit the jackpot with that statement and even for my second pregnancy, he felt something was amiss even though my period hadn’t resumed while I was breastfeeding [Aden]. I didn’t know if getting pregnant was possible but it really happened, [though] it ended with a miscarriage.”
While things might have been hard for Kate after her miscarriage last year, she realised that she found the silver lining for that dark, gloomy cloud.
“Those who have trouble conceiving might get jealous of us because some of my friends work really hard to have a baby. When I had my miscarriage, I finally realised that it wasn’t as easy as I thought and we thought too lightly of having a baby,” she mused.
On her soon-to-be-born little girl, Kate was the one whose gut feeling proved to be right. “This time, I felt like I was pregnant and we didn’t plan for this baby either. We just weren’t careful enough.”
Her little princess won’t be growing up in an ivory tower
Kate shared that Andie is especially excited to have a little girl, “because he sees others’ daughters who are very close to their dads, and wonders if it’ll be the same for him.” That being said, the issue of which child the pair will dote on more has definitely been on their minds. “I don’t know if he’ll dote on our little girl more, because Aden is really cute too,” she grinned.
Far from babying her princess, Kate has something different in mind. “I wasn’t particularly protected when I was young and was independent from a young age (…) I won’t tell her to not have a shotgun marriage because I don’t believe in forcing others to do something that I can’t achieve myself. I’ll tell her to take responsibility for her actions and hope that we have a good relationship, especially since I wasn’t able to tell my parents what was going on in my life.”
Special thanks to the Grand Hyatt Singapore.