Celebs & Dating: Jeffrey Xu On Being Called An “Ah Tiong” When He First Started Dating Felicia Chin, And Sheryl Ang On Why She Can’t Reveal More About Her Boyfriend
Zoe Tay and Guo Liang chat with Jeffrey Xu and Sheryl Ang about how celebs deal with going public with someone they just went steady with.
The latest episode of The Zoe and Liang Show saw Guo Liang and Zoe Tay talking about relationships, and who better to provide some insight than Jeffrey Xu, who recently went on his honeymoon with wife Felicia Chin.
Star Search 2019 alum Sheryl Ang, who we found out is surprisingly candid about her dating life, also joined him as guest on the podcast.
Guo Liang dove into the topic straight away, asking Jeffrey about his concerns when he first started dating Felicia Chin back in 2015.
“I’m very interested in this 'cos I dated [my wife] before I became an artiste... You guys decided to keep your relationship a secret at first, right?” asked Guo Liang.
“Yes. It was because we didn’t know how to face the media. None of our showbiz friends knew [about our relationship] but a lot of people [tried to find out],” revealed Jeffrey.
He then talked about how he had an “inferiority complex” back then, because Feli was one of Mediacorp's Seven Princesses and had a lot more showbiz experience than him.
“If our relationship went public, the media would talk about my negative points. As a guy, I faced these pressures,” admitted Jeffrey.
“Perhaps celebs think too much about relationships,” reasoned Guo Liang.
Jeffrey then explained that celebs are public figures, and hence would be more “naked and exposed” to criticism than others should they choose to go public with their relationships.
“Netizens can be very harsh, and I always read their comments. They [used to call me] things that weren’t very nice, like ‘Ah Tiong’. So I received plenty of criticisms like that, you all just didn't see it. They said I 'coveted' Felicia. [But] I was already living in Singapore for quite some time and had some projects, so it made me wonder why I still wasn’t accepted. It made me very disappointed,” said Jeffrey.
He added that the main reason he didn’t go public with Feli at the start was because he was afraid the comments would get to him, and “directly affect their relationship”.
“Can you understand what Jeffrey experienced?” Guo Liang asked Sheryl, who quickly said that she understood, but “will not feel the same”.
“Of course lah, because you haven’t dated someone in the industry,” added Guo Liang.
Sheryl then smiled coyly, before admitting: “Actually I’ve dated [someone in showbiz] before, but we’ve already broken up. Back then, we didn’t dare to tell people we were dating either. I was worried people would talk and gossip, and I don’t like being talked about. I am someone who really believes in energy and I think when people talk behind my back, [the negative energy] will stick to me. So if I’m not sure about the person yet, I won’t publicise it."
Zoe entered the discussion, revealing that it was very common for celebs to date each other back in the day.
“I think there were many couples because our working hours used to be so long. There were no phones back then either, so we would see the same people at work everyday,” she said.
Guo Liang then quizzed Ah Jie about the differences between celebs dating back then and now.
“Celebs back then used to be more reserved. Everyone would know about their relationship, but nobody would expose them. But now, when celebs date, maybe it’s because of social media, and comments from others are much more visible, they are afraid to publicise their relationship before they are ready,” said Zoe.
Jeffrey shared that he wasn’t worried about losing his fans when he went public with his relationship. Instead, he was more concerned about Felicia losing her fans.
However, he described his wife as someone who “dares to love and hate”. She wasn’t very bothered with losing fans because she believed people who genuinely support her would continue to do so regardless of her relationship status.
He then shared that they used to go to “less crowded” places for dates, such as a secluded cafe in Bukit Timah, which was frequented by foreigners who couldn’t recognise them.
“I also heard of [celeb couples] hanging out at gatherings at another friends house. Everyone knew they were together, but they wouldn’t admit it. My friend got up to go to the washroom, but saw the couple french kissing at the back. They then walked out like nothing happened,” revealed Zoe, to everyone’s amusement.
“I’m not someone who likes going out much, so I’m very okay to just hang out at home,” said Sheryl.
“Our Jie Jie who just got married did that too, she usually had dates at home,” added Zoe, making an obvious reference to Rebecca Lim, who got hitched in November.
Jeffrey recalled how his relationship with Feli eventually went public.
“We were photographed holding hands at Orchard Road, and there were pictures of our back,” Jeffrey said.
“My relationship was also revealed by the media," shared Zoe. "We were coming back from a holiday when we were photographed together. I remember my boss telling me to not get married so young. I was 27 and they were still asking that of me, I was like “Boss, I’m not that young anymore.”
Guo Liang went on to ask his guests if there's a “right time” to publicise a relationship.
“Actually if people find out about my relationship I will let it be, I won’t put in extra effort to announce it," said Sheryl. "When I’m dating someone, and I can see myself marrying him, it means the relationship is stable."
“So your current boyfriend... Is he in showbiz or not?” asked Zoe with a laugh, probably not expecting Sheryl to be so candid about her relationship status.
“He’s not [in showbiz]," revealed Sheryl, to everyone's surprise.
"I can say that I have a boyfriend, but I don’t want to reveal his identity because people will be able to guess who he is if I talk about him," she added, leading us to wonder if he's a famous personality too.
“What are some ways you can get to know someone in showbiz?” was another question that Guo Liang posed to the group.
“[As an artiste], it’s very tough to find someone who is not in the industry,” said Zoe.
“Then you’re good! You didn’t just find someone who is not in showbiz, you found someone flying in the skies!” teased Guo Liang, while Jeffrey and Sheryl giggled.
Zoe, who is married to former RSAF pilot Phillip Chionh, then joked: “I don’t want to talk anymore.”
She continued: “I think people who are not in showbiz find it hard to get to know celebs, and they think [we] have high living standards. Celebs also find it hard to find a partner [for that reason].”
“I initially wasn’t planning for my other half to be in the same industry as well," said Jeffrey. "I think having one person in showbiz is enough, and the other can look after the kids and the house. I thought about it before, and felt that it would be nice if my partner was an educator, like a kindergarten teacher, or piano tutor. Or someone in the advertising or creative industry."
Sheryl then said dating someone who is also in showbiz can be quite “exciting”.
“It's because no one knows about it. And when you bump into each other, you have to pretend you don’t know each other. I think that’s fun,” she added.
Zoe revealed that she has never dated anyone from showbiz. “It’s too tough, it’s hard to arrange our schedules,” she said.
Guo Liang then tried to find out how many people Ah Jie had turned down for that very reason.
When she said there weren’t any, he again teased her, saying: “Confirm have, don’t make me say who ah. People liked you but you told them “sorry we can’t be together because we’re in the same industry. If only you were not a celeb too”."
Zoe explained: “Maybe we were okay when filming, but after it’s over we don’t have time [to interact anymore]. It’s not like we really liked each other, we just got along well. As actors, we have to build a connection fast, but we can also get rid of it fast.”
Watch the group discuss more about the pros and cons of having their partners in showbiz on The Zoe and Liang Show on meWATCH, or catch it below.