19 Jul 2016
Jesseca Liu and Jeremy Chan
On July 15, Jesseca Liu and Jeremy Chan finally admitted - in separate interviews - that they are seeing each other, following months of speculation after the former’s admission that she is in a stable relationship.
“Since everyone was talking about it, admitting to it would be less stressful for us,” explained the 37-year-old actress during our visit to the set of upcoming Channel 8 drama Hero.
News of the confirmed romance was met with lots of congratulations on the internet, but there were also a handful who chose to respond with unfavourable remarks, from labelling the pairing a mismatch to insinuating that Jesseca, who was once known as one of Mediacorp’s 7 Princesses, can do better than the 35-year-old former Project SuperStar contestant. Even before they admitted to the relationship, much was said about the then-rumoured couple’s height difference - at 166cm, Jeremy is shorter than the statuesque 172cm-tall Jesseca. However, the support and well wishes far outweighed the naysayers’ opinions, urging them to pay no heed to the haters.
While some unpleasant things were certainly said about this local showbiz couple, at least their love announcement did not cause a ruckus as rampageous as the following pairs, who seemed to draw more anger than adulation from the public for a variety of reasons:
19 Jul 2016
Tom Hiddleston & Taylor Swift
Fans of the British heartthrob crossed him off their lists of ideal celebrity boyfriends as soon as pictures of him kissing the blonde music star by the sea were released last month. Prior to the devastating blow for “Hiddlestoners” everywhere, 35-year-old Tom was considered the epitome of the perfect English gentleman and perhaps one of the last guys who would ever associate himself with 26-year-old Taylor and her infamous, hit song-producing dating history.
The backlash: The judgement that came upon the twosome was, well, swift (pun intended) and ruthless - netizens were quick to express their disappointment in Tom, and to point out the fact that Taylor had just broken up with DJ Calvin Harris just two weeks before their smooching shots were unleashed. But perhaps the most amusing reaction of all would be from Calvin himself, who beat her to the punch with a new track that accuses a girl of infidelity. And then there came his tweets, which included statements like “I know you're off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy [Perry] ETC but I'm not that guy, sorry (sic)” and “I figure if you're happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do (sic)”.
Drama level: 10/10 - and it ain’t dying down any time soon. “Hiddleswift” has only continued to fuel the rumour mill with more public outings and the fact that they have already introduced each other to their respective parents and pals. A recent conspiracy theory even suggests that the whole thing may be part of an elaborate new music video of Taylor’s, but no matter what the truth is, this whole shebang has created major buzz in the online stratosphere.
Right now, the world’s attention has been taken from their relationship and to the recent feud between Taylor, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian over the lyrics in Kanye’s ‘Famous’ – but that’s a whole other story altogether.
19 Jul 2016
EXO’s Baekhyun & Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon
Another couple who was caught canoodling on camera are the lead singers of two of the most popular groups in K-pop. Hours after the grainy photographs were shared - and went viral - in June 2014, their agency SM Entertainment confirmed the relationship, inciting a wave of distressed wails and broken fangirl hearts around the globe.
The backlash: Anyone with even a shred of understanding about the nature of EXO fans (at least, the more extreme ones) probably saw the hate coming from a mile away. Scorned users unleashed a barrage of hateful comments on both their Instagram accounts (which fans accused the lovers of using as a means to communicate via cryptic codes), and there was even a petition to remove Baekhyun from his band. Things got so bad that Taeyeon, 27, and Baekhyun, 24, issued apologies on social media, which have since been deleted.
Drama level: As with most things that concern Hallyu scandals (especially with idols a little higher up on the food chain), this deserves more than just 10/10. Thankfully, the vitriol towards the two of them died down significantly after they reportedly broke up last year, and they have gone on to enjoy monstrous success in their respective careers.
19 Jul 2016
Sulli & Choiza
Rumours of a romance between the former f(x) starlet and Dynamic Duo rapper first surfaced when they were photographed holding hands in September 2013. They abated after their respective agencies denied the allegations, but were reignited when Choiza’s wallet was stolen and found to contain pictures of Sulli inside. Two months later, SM Entertainment and Amoeba Culture finally confirmed their artistes’ relationship.
The backlash: To say that the couple, especially Sulli, was bombarded with malice would be an understatement. It didn’t help that the scandal drove the 22-year-old into hiatus, which in turn cut short f(x)’s promotional activities, leading angry fans to blame Sulli for causing her group’s reduced exposure while she happily went on dates. Her Instagram posts were also scrutinised and criticised for their supposedly suggestive content, amplifying the animosity towards her further.
On the other hand, Choiza, who is 14 years older than Sulli (another point that incited the backlash), came under fire after releasing ‘Eat, Do It, Sleep’, a thinly-veiled ode to sex. Given the fact that they were already dating when the track came out, it didn’t take folks long to put two and two together… and then express their disgust.
Drama level: 9/10. It looked as though every single thing they did drew flak - we would be surprised if they actually earned some praise from the public for once.
19 Jul 2016
BIGBANG’s G-Dragon & Kiko Mizuhara
The rumours about Kiko, a Japanese model/actress of American and Korean descent, being the 27-year-old rapper’s “Bae Bae” first came about in 2010, not long after BIGBANG’s debut in Japan. What followed were years of speculation and “evidence”, including photos of the two behaving intimately in public, but Kiko, GD and YG Entertainment constantly used the good ol’ “just friends” excuse to rebut it all.
Although a romance was never confirmed, it was reported that GD and Kiko broke up for good in August last year.
The backlash: GD, who was criticised for his poor taste in women, got the easy end of all the hate from netizens. His 25-year-old rumoured ex-girlfriend, on the other hand, was put down (harshly) for everything from her looks to her Instagram photos to the fact that she’s a non-Japanese using a Japanese name. Even more damning were her labels as a Japanese “right-wing b****” - a pretty offensive accusation in Korea.
Drama level: 6/10. All of a sudden, Kiko gained a whole new audience in the worst possible way. Now that they’re no longer an item, the negativity towards her seems to have died down a little – until recently when Chinese netizens threatened to boycott her upcoming film (prompting her to release an apology video), but that’s another matter altogether.
19 Jul 2016
Aaron Kwok & Moka Fang
It seems like that Hong Kong heavenly king and Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio have something in common: they both have a thing for models. Two years after Aaron’s highly-publicised relationship with Lynn Hung came to an end, the 50-year-old made the unexpected move of confirming his romance (the first time he’s ever done so) with Moka, who is 23 years his junior.
The backlash: Unfortunately, the revelation did not exactly garner a positive reception. Not only did Aaron’s Weibo posts featuring Moka draw countless snarky comments, netizens also wasted no time in digging up the young Shanghainese model’s past (to paint her in the most unsavoury light possible) and sparking plastic surgery rumours. Discouraged by the unpleasant response, Aaron vowed never to discuss his love life at public appearances again.
Drama level: 7/10. It was all the Asian entertainment scene buzzed about for a while, but then Aaron kept his word by keeping his private matters to himself and the furore subsided a little bit. In April this year, it was reported that the lovebirds had broken up (supposedly due to his unhappiness with her materialism) but the claim was never confirmed.
Photos: TPG, Moka Fang/Instagram
19 Jul 2016
T-ara’s Jiyeon & Lee Dong Gun
Love blossomed for 23-year-old Jiyeon and 36-year-old Dong Gun on the set of their movie Encounter last year, and their agencies confirmed the relationship in July. Romance rumours had first started swirling when photographs of the co-stars-turned-lovers holding hands and being affectionate with one another were released.
The backlash: Netizens did not seem to view Jiyeon as a worthy partner for Dong Gun, who not only is 13 years her senior but is a highly-respected actor in the industry (it also didn’t help that T-ara’s reputation isn’t the most pristine thanks to their 2012 bullying scandal). Many commenters deemed his image ruined, and some even likened the couple to Sulli and Choiza which, as we’ve seen earlier, is not a compliment.
A few days after the new broke, Dong Gun shared a statement in an attempt to appeal to the public for support, claiming that his love with Jiyeon was “fate” and promising to protect her. However, his words only served to fan the flames, and he was made fun of and called immature.
Drama level: 5/10. This hullabaloo definitely didn’t do Dong Gun’s image any favours, and neither did it help to elevate Jiyeon’s status, but after a while, most people just forgot about it all. When Jiyeon’s side provided an update in December last year that their relationship was still going strong, the response was generally “no one cares”. Well, we’d take that over never-ending bashing, to be honest.
19 Jul 2016
Super Junior’s Sungmin & Kim Sa-eun
The baby-faced idol, 30, and musical actress, 26, met as co-stars on the theatre production of The Three Musketeers in late 2013, and by September the next year, their respective agencies confirmed that the two were “in the beginning stages” of a relationship. While that piece of news was welcomed with general positivity, his sudden wedding in December - not three months after the official acknowledgement of their romance - drew a nastier response…
The backlash: Things got so bad that several Sungmin fansites shut down and there was even a social media petition (“#SungminOut”) to get him out of the group. The anger was still felt two months later in February 2015 when the couple opened Instagram accounts, only to delete them after they were bombarded with horrible remarks from netizens.
Drama level: 6/10. Most of the fury came from Korean fans, who accused Sungmin of putting his personal interests ahead of his band, who just had their highly-anticipated comeback with ‘Mamacita’, and overshadowing their promotions with his “scandal”, among other things. For now, only time will tell if he ever regains their trust, especially after he’s done with his military service later this year.
19 Jul 2016
Sonia Sui & Tony Chia
Did you know that the Taiwanese actress and her hubby had their first official date right here in Singapore (where she also gave birth to their son Max)? The couple were introduced to each other by Tony’s stepmother, singer Lai Pei Hsia, in April 2014, and got together in September that same year. Then, just four months later in January 2015, they registered their marriage in the United States.
The backlash: While Sonia’s Facebook post announcing her new relationship received lots of love and support from her followers, one Taiwanese tabloid made the nasty move of calling Tony “ugly”. The 35-year-old took to social media once again to defend her beau, saying, “It’s fine if you don’t congratulate us, but attacking someone else’s appearance does not make you far more superior.” You go, girl!
Drama level: 2/10. It was a short saga that came and went, but it certainly taught everyone a lesson: don’t mess with Sonia Sui’s loved ones.
Photos: Sonia Sui/Facebook
19 Jul 2016
Woody Allen & Soon-yi Previn
It’s easy to see why this relationship, despite lasting over two decades, never garnered much favour with the public: not only is Korean-born Soon-yi 35 years younger than Woody, 80, but she was the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, who was his romantic partner for 12 years. Mia famously found out about the affair when she discovered nude Polaroids of Soon-yi, then about 21, at Woody’s apartment in 1992. Five years later, Woody and Soon-yi married, and they’re now parents to two adopted daughters.
The backlash: Needless to say, the revelation of their liaison sparked a huge media frenzy and caused an uproar from the public. Mia was even alleged to have beaten Soon-yi with a chair and ordered her to leave the house. The couple found themselves constantly defending their relationship, with Soon-yi reiterating that she was not molested or manipulated into the affair, as some have claimed.
Nevertheless, the scandal did nothing to tarnish Woody’s esteemed career as a filmmaker, and he went on to win many more awards and work with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Drama level: 8/10. Almost 25 years on, and their personal life still makes headlines, especially when Woody has a new movie out. And, judging from several comments from netizens, it seems that a majority of the public will never get used to this unusual - some would even say creepy - arrangement.
19 Jul 2016
Special mention: Fann Wong & Christopher Lee
They’re a beloved celeb couple now, but it’s easy to forget that many people looked down on Christopher when it was first confirmed he was dating Fann in 2005 (although they started seeing each other about three years before that).
Back then, he was not yet as established as he is now, whereas his then-girlfriend had already achieved major feats such as being the first Singaporean actress to land a major role in a Hollywood film with Shanghai Knights, and was even having success in music (in addition to her phenomenal acting career) as well. Naysayers deemed Fann to be too good of a match for Chris in terms of her star – and earning – power, and Chris’ notorious car accident in 2006 certainly did not do him any favours.
The public’s perception of him was better by the time they wed in a high-profile ceremony in September 2009. Chris continued to climb up the celebrity food chain, and they’re now known as the crème de la crème of local showbiz couples (as well as parents to the adorable little Zed).
19 Jul 2016
Special mention: Xiang Yun & Edmund Chen
We’re pretty sure that if social media had existed back in the 80s, this 27-year-long marriage would have been scrutinised and torn apart by the internet community: not only was it practically unheard of for two celebrities to tie the knot in the local scene, but they did so after just three months of dating.
As expected, the wedding caused a media frenzy - and, we suspect, a few sceptical folks to raise questioning eyebrows of judgement. Even Xiang Yun herself calls it the most outrageous thing she’s ever done in her youth and advises the people around her not to follow in her footsteps of courting a whirlwind romance. Well, at least their love story is still going on long and strong.
Photos: Xiang Yun/Instagram