It's the showbiz shocker of 2013 — Joanne Peh and Qi Yuwu are together. After he confessed his love for her in an exclusive interview with 8 DAYS, we just had to talk to Joanne about her new love. To say she’s smitten is an understatement.
8 DAYS: Look at you — you’re glowing!
JOANNE PEH: (Giggles) Yeah I feel pretty good. Sometimes, I wake up and I can’t believe it. It feels a little unreal, ’cos we’ve known each other for so long. It’s such a positive, invigorating and empowering feeling; something I haven’t felt in a while. The funny thing is there’s no head-over-heels feeling, there’s no if-I-don’t-see-him-I’ll-die. I can’t explain it, but I don’t need to see him all the time. I don’t need to be physically close to him — I just feel close to him.
That’s amazing. How did it happen? Of course, we’ve talked to Yuwu, but we want to hear it from you too.
He told me how he felt about me. It was a shock, as I wasn’t ready to be in another relationship. I was still trying to figure out what went wrong in my previous one. When he told me, part of me was like, “Am I dreaming?” Yet it wasn’t completely unexpected, ’cos we do have a certain chemistry. There was definitely a struggle when he told me. I didn’t know what to say or do. Then we talked… a lot. About our values. I understood more about him; what he wanted in a partner, and he helped me find that peace I’ve been looking for. I started feeling more and more confident and comfortable. You know, I felt it was right.
Are you afraid people will think it’s too soon?
To me, it’s not something that I jumped into immediately after [my break-up with Bobby Tonelli]. It’s something I struggled with. And put a lot of thought into, and had sleepless nights over. To me, it’s not too soon, ’cos I’ve thought it through. I felt that the momentum was right, so I went into it with a 100 per cent confidence. Actually, 200 per cent, ’cos he’s the other 100 hundred per cent.
Wow. That is a lot of confidence.
There’s no possibility that this relationship will fail. You know the cliché about finding your other half? I’ve never felt more strongly about that than now. We both know what we want in a relationship and we will work at it. We will not take each other for granted. How is this going to fail? I don’t see any possibility at all.
And you’re ready for the world to know?
There’s nothing to hide. What’s wrong with us being together? It’s such a wonderful thing. Why wouldn’t I want to share? Not share in a bragging way, of course. But we want to be able to go out and be in public together. Coming out with it gives us the freedom to be ourselves and not to have to pretend, to build a relationship rather than worry about it being ambiguous. We’re so happy together, why would we want to be like, “No, we’re not together”?
He talked about your deep connection. Do you feel the same?
Yes. I didn’t think it was possible. To find someone that echoes your fundamental values. He has strong family values that coincide with mine. What we both want in a partner and a relationship is compatible. It’s not just about being together, or looking good together. It’s about growing as a couple, experiencing new things and enduring hardships together. When I realised we were so similar in this aspect, I started to feel he was the right person for me. This relationship is very organic — it has a life of its own without us having to try very hard. We just need to be ourselves and that’s enough. Like what I said in my previous interview with you guys, I was so afraid of keeping up an appearance in a relationship, and I know now that I don’t have to. I feel so relaxed and liberated.
We were really surprised when he told us. You guys seem quite different on paper — he’s quiet; you’re extroverted.
I think a lot of people are going to be surprised too! But I’m not scared. I’m not scared at all, ’cos I feel that with him in my life now, we will be able to work through everything. I don’t know why everyone says he’s quiet! I’ve never felt he was quiet, maybe ’cos of our interaction over the years. His humour is such that not everyone gets it. Maybe when people look at it from the outside, they wouldn’t think we were so similar, in terms of values. When that foundation is strong, a lot of things can be worked through. If the foundation is weak and you lay a lot of things on top of it, it’s gonna crumble, eventually. That’s why I say I’m not scared, ’cos our foundation is strong. It’s built on 10 years of friendship, respect and admiration. It’s a connection built over the years.
Why didn’t it happen 10 years ago?
I believe in meeting the right person at the right time, and if you’re meant to be together, you will be. Maybe he was the right person, but 10 years ago wasn’t the right time. I think maybe this has shown that we are meant to be together. Chemistry is hard to explain. Everyone was gushing about C.L.I.F 2 and our chemistry in it, but I don’t know how to explain it.
What about him makes your heart go pitter-patter?
Actually, my heart doesn’t go pitter-patter leh. Like I said, no head-over-heels feeling. Instead, it’s a stable, I’ve-known-you-all-my-life feeling. I only get the fluttery feeling when he looks at me in that way. Maybe some people feel it also — it’s just the way he looks at people. And when he smiles, it’s the best thing that can ever happen to me. He’s so reserved, so when he smiles, I feel like my world has lit up. I love the lines around his eyes and face when he smiles — I think that’s so cute. I’ve seen his ‘little boy’ persona, and I’m thinking, “Why you act so cool when you’re actually like that?” (Laughs)
He says he’s met your parents and that they’re great. I’m guessing they love him too?
(Nods happily) He’s very sincere. He makes an effort to connect with them. It’s important for my parents to like the person I’m with, ’cos only then will they support us. My parents are not just looking out for me and my well-being now. They also care for him and his career. And because of him, my traditional values all started coming back to me. Work is not that important — at the end of the day, it’s about building a family of my own. I remember saying that I wanted to get married at 24 and have two kids, and I still do! Just not at 24 anymore! Along the way, that got lost, and he helped me find myself and be more at peace. With him, I don’t have to pretend. He knows. It just feels really solid.
So will you two step out together at the upcoming Star Awards?
I would love to be able to do that. There’s a certain sequence to the appearances at the Star Awards, so I don’t know. But I would love to.
He said that on your first date, you guys went to the Botanic Gardens and strolled through the park, clandestinely.
I’m sure he did not use the word “clandestinely!” (Laughs) Yeah, it was at night and it was a bit like, maybe we wanted to hold hands but we didn’t really hold hands. (Laughs) I like nature and being with the trees and all. To have someone who’s willing to walk with you, side by side, sometimes with nothing to say, yet being completely comfortable… it just felt so empowering.
In May, you leave for to film in Malaysia and he goes to China. Is it going to be tough to be physically apart?
I’m not afraid at all. I am very confident and I feel very close to him. I think what we have is strong enough to withstand distance. Besides, we have the rest of our lives together.