Photos: Elis Ching
Video: Philip Ang
It’s been such a long time since Evelyn Tan left the shiny lights of showbiz to be a stay-at-home mum – 13 years, to be exact – that even she herself can’t remember the last drama she ever filmed (she was last seen on a Channel 5 telemovie, Spelling Armadillo 2).
And while the 41-year-old former TV sweetheart admitted that she occasionally feels drawn to acting again (especially when she catches her husband Darren Lim’s programmes or spots a particularly interesting role), she quickly changes her mind when she remembers the unforgivingly long hours.
“At the moment, returning to acting isn’t something I’ve given much thought to because my children aren’t fully grown yet, so I still need to be very flexible with my time,” said Evelyn, who has four kids aged 4 to 12 with Darren. Having the production team make special accommodations to her schedule won’t entice her either, as she feels that it isn’t fair to the rest of the cast and crew.
That’s not to say that we’ll never see her on screens again – Evelyn joked about deliberately putting on a lot of weight and making a comeback as a jolly, plump aunty à la Nancy Sit. But for now, the closest we’ll get to seeing her in the spotlight is as the celebrity ambassador of German skincare label frei öl.
Evelyn demonstrates how to apply one of the oil products at the event
In an interview with Toggle at the brand’s consumer event last weekend, Evelyn admitted that ever since she tied the knot in 2004 and became a mother, she’s paid less attention to her beauty regimen simply due to a lack of time, and we don’t blame her: in addition to being a full-time mum to Kristen, Elliot, Way and Jairus, Evelyn has also been home-schooling her brood, and things are set to become even more intense as she embarks on an ambitious new direction for their – and other children’s – education.
“I’m currently working with a company that develops leadership programmes and curriculum for youths,” she shared, refraining from elaborating further as planning is still in its early stages. “I hope to see my own children display leadership qualities and capabilities.”
She’s also keen on her little ones learning how to be self-sufficient by letting them live by themselves in the near future as she and Darren move back onto their famous boat, which the entire family called home for four years until about six months ago.
“We’ve always wanted them to be able to be independent from an early age, which is why we home-school them because we’ll be able to balance their academic needs and life skills,” Evelyn explained. “But at the same time, I don’t wish to burden my eldest daughter with the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings, although my husband believes this will be good for her. We’ll see what the situation is when the time comes.”
Evelyn, her husband Darren, and their four kids (Photo: Evelyn Tan/Instagram, Darren Lim/Instagram)
Speaking of her oldest, Kristen, who recently passed her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) with flying colours, does Evelyn intend to continue home-schooling her through secondary school?
“It’s something that I’ve been mulling over for the past two years, but after doing some research, I found a home-school curriculum that really suits her,” she said. “Kristen is more into liberal arts education and she loves to read, so I think home-schooling is still the best option for her.”
This time, Evelyn will apply a “blended learning” technique to Kristen’s education instead of being her one and only tutor. In addition to the readily available and rich resource that is the World Wide Web, Kristen and others under the same home-school programme will meet a teacher to go through what they need to cover during their self-studies.
“I still have the biggest role in her studies at home, but now there will be a mentor to guide her and answer her questions as well,” she said, adding that these arrangements should be similar for the rest of the kids.
With four youngsters to wrangle, you’d think that Evelyn must rule her household with an iron fist. On the contrary, she said that while she can be quite strict, she is not fierce with them. Instead, she adopts a “communicative” method of correction, although, “When I ask them to do something, they know that it must be done.”
This super-mum certainly knows what she’s doing. So, any plans to try for baby number five?
“A fifth child!? I’m already very busy!” We thought our question almost gave poor Evelyn a heart attack. “If I were younger I might have considered it, but I think it won’t be so easy given my age, plus I already have my hands full with four. Thanks, but no thanks! (laughs)”