I'm not Thaksin's mistress

I'm not Thaksin's mistress
Veteran Thai actress-singer Mai Charoenpura is sexy at 40. She refuted rumours of her being ex-Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's "mistress".

Romantic entanglements involving female celebrities and politicians make titillating tabloid fodder.

US President John F. Kennedy and screen siren Marilyn Monroe (never confirmed), former Chinese politician Bo Xilai and actress Zhang Ziyi (denied vehemently by the latter), the list goes on.

Thai singer-actress Mai Charoenpura knows only too well what it feels like being at the centre of salacious chatter.

Between 2008 and 2011, the bosomy 44-year old star was the target of swirling rumours that she was the secret lover of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

In a phone interview with The New Paper from her home in suburban Bangkok, Mai denied it with candour.

"It's kind of funny, actually," she said in halting English. "My dad and Thaksin go way back - they have been close friends since they were young.

"Thaksin's like a family friend. I studied in London for five to six years as a teenager and I remember hanging out with him and his daughter."

Amid allegations of corruption, Thaksin, 64, was ousted from office in a military coup in 2006. Local TV viewers can catch Mai in Thai horror flick Meat Grinder later this month, as part of cable channel Thrill's month-long Asian Fear Fest 2013.

The gory, bloody 2009 film about cannibalism will premiere on Thrill (StarHub Ch 618/SingTel mio TV Ch 415) on Oct 26 at 9pm.

Mai plays protagonist Buss, the owner of a noodle stall who chops up people for meat.

Mai, who stressed that she is "happily single", said she believed the rumours arose when Thaksin invited her to sing at a party he was hosting for Manchester City, the English Premier League football club he bought in 2007.

"He said he'd like to show Thai singers to his English audience and asked me if I knew other Thai entertainers. Of course I said yes," she said.

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