SINGAPORE – Fann Wong may prefer to stay at home, but the home-grown actress will venture out for the sake of her son Zed.
Her husband, actor Christopher Lee, 48, told Nuyou magazine in an interview published in its October issue that Fann does not really like to socialise and his friends “grumble” that they seldom see her.
However, the 48-year-old star is willing to go out with other parents and their children so that five-year-old Zed, an only child, would not feel lonely and can interact with other kids.
“So I rank last (in priority) at home,” Lee joked.
During the photo shoot for the Nuyou article, Fann’s eyes brightened up when Zed entered the studio. The boy hugged his mother tightly when he saw her.
Fann, looking back on her 25 years in the television industry for the interview, says she hopes she can play all the roles in her life well – those of actress, wife and mother.
Fann and Lee married in 2009. Their most famous on-screen pairing was as star-crossed lovers Little Dragon Girl and Yang Guo in the local television adaptation of Louis Cha’s classic wuxia drama, The Return Of The Condor Heroes, in 1998.
However, they have not acted together many times since tying the knot a decade ago.
“That’s because viewers may not be able to differentiate the real and ‘reel’ us, and we may feel that we are playing out roles for them,” Fann explained.
“Yet viewers like to see us together,” Lee added. “We have been paired together for acting, photo shoots and charity shows.”
Such opportunities help the couple gain a deeper understanding of each other as they already know what the other is thinking with just a glance or utterance.
They were given the title of “husband and wife with tacit understanding” when they took part in Chinese reality show, Go To Love, in 2015.
Last year, they acted together in local drama Doppelganger as they wanted to see how married life and parenthood had changed them as actors.
Fann’s acting career began unintentionally. As a 16-year-old, she and her friends had heard of a free cosmetic makeover and decided to register at the counter at Tangs department store.
She then found herself taking part in a Her World Cover Girl contest, which she eventually won. She could not even recognise herself from the photo that was later published on the cover of the magazine.
She joined a modelling firm soon after and became a professional model. At that time, she had not entertained any thoughts of acting.
“When I returned home one day, my mum told me that a television producer had called to invite me to act in Dreams Come True. I still could not believe it was real… until I reached the set,” she said of the 1994 drama serial she eventually starred in.
It was an unexpected role, but the good response led her to believe that acting was her calling.
She remembers those early years as a busy time, when she had to both act and do voice recordings for drama serials. She often ate while driving to the studio, sometimes wearing her period drama headgear. She admits it was dangerous to have done so.
“The drivers in the next lane must have been thinking this woman was crazy,” she said with a laugh. “I used to be so busy that I didn’t go home to sleep.”
It was a form of character-building, she says, adding that she learnt how to psyche herself up to endure the difficult periods by telling herself they were temporary and would end soon.
Among the highs and lows of her acting career, one of the most challenging times was when she was suspended by then Television Corporation of Singapore in 1996, when it was discovered that she had a prior six-year contract with PT Models in Taiwan, a year before she signed her contract with the Singapore station in 1994.
“I couldn’t act at that time and I kept asking myself why such things were happening to me,” she recounts.
The row ended a month later and Fann has since been conscientious about contract clauses.
Looking back on her acting career, she says she values everything she has learnt at every stage. It has not felt like work over the past 25 years, but more like “having fun” in her favourite playground.
She may have scaled many peaks in her career, but she believes the best is yet to come.
She is working at “embracing my future self”.
“I am looking forward to the future precisely because it is an unknown,” she says.
• This is an excerpt from an article in the October issue of Nuyou magazine translated by Lim Ruey Yan. The latest issue of Nuyou is available at newsstands. For more articles, go to www.nuyou.com.sg