Love is in the air this week — or at least matrimony. Following on from the high-profile marriage of Barbie Hsu (徐熙媛) to multimillionaire Wang Xiaofei (汪小菲) last month, early May has seen a slew of celebrity weddings, some long anticipated, others rather more surprising.
The biggest jolt came with the announcement that recently minted star Amanda Chu (朱芯儀) has tied the knot with boyfriend Wesley Chia (衛斯理). The 24-year-old Chu rocketed to stardom for her role as “the other woman” in the soap opera The Fierce Wife (犀利人妻), a TTV (台視) and SET TV (三立電視) co-production featuring Sonia Sui (隋棠) and James Wen (溫昇豪).
Chu, whose television career had been stuck in second and third tier TV programming, got her prime time break in the hugely popular soap that began broadcasting in November last year. She became much sought after as a product spokesperson, and her career looked like it was taking off into the big time. The recent wedding, and more importantly, the announcement that Chu is already three months pregnant, might well take the wind out of her career breakthrough. According to Next Magazine, Chu has already lost NT$3 million worth of endorsement contracts on account of her pregnancy.
Chu’s husband is the little brother of television personality Alyssa Chia (賈靜雯), who, according to Next, has helped the young actress cope with the intense media scrutiny that her fame and unplanned pregnancy have caused. Reports in the magazine say that Chu has become close to her husband’s family, as the information that she became pregnant outside wedlock has deeply hurt her parents, who are devout Christians. Her father and mother were not present at the registry office wedding last Friday. Chu’s relationship with her father, who has long disapproved of her involvement in the entertainment industry, are still frosty.
Later in the week and higher up the celebrity ladder, two other weddings have captured the media’s attention, though both are devoid of the exciting scent of sexual scandal. Last Saturday, pop singer Christine Fan (范瑋琪) made things official with TV personality Charles “Blackie” Chen (陳建州). This was followed by the marriage of singer Stephanie Sun (孫燕姿) to Nadim van der Ross, a businessman of mixed Dutch-Indonesian ancestry.
Neither of the weddings came as a surprise, as Fan’s relationship with Chen dates back 10 years, and Van der Ross and Sun have been an item for five years. The lack of salacious gossip regarding the two brides has kept the run up to the weddings off the front pages, and compared with the hoopla attending Barbie Hsu’s wedding, these have been relatively low-profile events.
Sun probably had the more beautiful location, as the Singapore-born singer hosted her reception at the Capella Singapore, a six star resort on Singapore’s Sentosa Island. Fan chose Taipei’s newest and swankest hotel, the W Hotel in the city’s East District (東區). The guest list for the weddings ran to 440 for Sun and around 500 for Fan, making them relatively modest affairs, and the all-important wedding rings cost NT$700,000 and NT$900,000 respectively.
The most notable difference is that Sun declined sponsorship for her event, while Fan’s wedding was subsidized by a host of suppliers aiming to capitalize on their involvement in the celebrity event. Sponsorship for celebrity weddings emerged as an issue last month after the Hsu wedding, in which mother-of-the-groom Zhang Lan (張蘭) was caught making some rather exaggerated claims about the sponsorship she had been able to command.