It seems serendipitous that by a stroke of fate, or just pure coincidence, Jesseca Liu, who got hitched to Jeremy Chan last July, plays a gynae who resorts to surrogacy to save her marriage in the upcoming Ch 8 drama Babies on Board. It makes it all the more convenient for us to lob the “So are you planning to have kids?” question at the 39-year-old actress.
They say marriage changes people. And in Jesseca’s case, she’s become a lot more forthcoming about her life with Jeremy, especially when you compare it to how reticent she was the last time we spoke to her, which was a fortnight before her wedding. When we grill her on the most romantic thing Jeremy has done for her, she rattles on about how he ensures her coffee never gets cold, restocks her favourite snacks and helps refill all her bathroom toiletries Every. Single. Time. And the sweetest thing she has done for him? “I’d plan the itinerary for our holidays and I won’t tell him the places we’ll be going to, to give him a surprise,” she says. Indeed, their romantic retreats are well documented on both their respective socials. It seems that Jesseca and Jeremy are relishing their couple time. No wonder the actress is in no hurry to have kids.
8 DAYS: In Babies on Board, you play a married woman who chooses to have a kid through a surrogate. If money weren’t an issue, would you ever hire a surrogate in real life?
JESSECA LIU: I’d consider adopting instead ’cos to me, whether the kid is my own flesh and blood isn’t as important as the values that I inculcate in him or her. Raising my kid right is more important than passing on my genes. So if I really come to the point of having to make such a decision, I don’t mind adopting lah.
You know what they say, never work with animals and children. What was it like working with babies on this show?
I had a lot of scenes with newborns. And besides crying and eating, they don’t know how to do much else. They also can’t listen to instructions. So our filming schedule had to revolve around the babies’ daily routines. Thankfully, the entire process was quite smooth. I remember there was a funny moment when we shot this scene where I had to carry a baby. Just as I was about to do so, he let out a very loud fart! All of us reeled in shock for about two seconds. Then, we pretended nothing happened and continued shooting. But the moment the director shouted ‘Cut!’, we all burst out laughing.
You play a gynae who deals with patients with pregnancy problems. Has filming this show made you apprehensive about motherhood?
I realised that it isn’t easy to even get pregnant in the first place. I learnt that there are many women who keep going for IVF [to try to get pregnant]. Some refuse to give up, but others do halfway through. That made me realise that just the decision to bring a life into this world is already an amazing one.
Of course, many people are concerned about when you and Jeremy…
(Laughs) I’m still not prepared [to be a mother] lah. I’m still not that amazing! (Laughs) I look forward to the day when I can very proudly tell everyone that I’m pregnant. But for now, I haven’t made that decision [to be a mother].
What’s stopping you?
A part of it has to do with my career. Also, I’m not mentally prepared. [Jeremy and I] quite enjoy our couple time. And we’re both busy with work. Of course, a lot of people would say, “Aiyah, wait till when you’re really pregnant, all these things won’t be important anymore.” But right now, I can tell you that I’m not prepared lah.
What about Jeremy?
He’s on the same page as me. The two of us are ‘kidults’. We are each other’s ‘kid’. (Laughs)
But do you and Jeremy plan to have kids in future?
Yeah, maybe in future. I think I’d just let nature take its course.
Are you worried about not being able to have kids?
(Ponders) Actually, even if I don’t have kids, it’s also all right. It’s not a must for me to have kids.
Won’t your parents rush you?
No, they are very surprised that I even got married in the first place. So, to them, me having kids would be a bonus. (Laughs)
The couples in this show go through a lot of struggles to get pregnant, like IVF and IUI. Would you ever consider IVF to get pregnant?
I cannot answer that question ’cos right now, I’m not even prepared to be a mother yet. But if one day, I’m prepared [to be a mother], and I cannot give birth, maybe I will consider [IVF]. I think if you badly want kids, and your body [isn’t cooperating], then that’s a very good option.
What about freezing your eggs?
I’ve never thought about it. But I’m open to the idea.
Are you and Jeremy still in the honeymoon phase?
I think we can be in the honeymoon phase for a very long time leh. (Laughs) I’ve always been quite independent. But marriage lets me feel like I finally have someone that I can rely on.
Has marriage turned out the way you imagined it to be?
More or less, maybe ’cos I don’t have high expectations towards married life. I don’t demand a lot of my other half, like, “Oh, you must remember our anniversary” or “You must plan something every weekend”. In the past, I was quite apprehensive about settling down. The thought of marriage was quite frightening to me. I had always been very guarded when it came to relationships ’cos my parents’ divorce cast a shadow over me when I was growing up. Of course, I now realise that marriage really differs from person to person. And actually, marriage is quite a wonderful thing.
Scroll through the photo gallery above to see more pictures of Jesseca at the drama’s press con.
PHOTOS: CHEE YAN/CH 8