Why stars hide their marriages

Why stars hide their marriages
American Mandopop singer Anthony Neely last week revealed he has been married for the past four years with a three-year-old daughter. But other celebrities, including actor Andy Lau and singer Wu Chun, have also kept their marriages secret.

To be a popular Asian idol in show business, one has to have the looks, a certain X factor... and also remain single.

As frivolous as it sounds (not to mention ridiculous), appearing to be single and available does seem to have an effect on the image and popularity of certain celebrities. Or at least, that is what certain Asian stars and their management believe.

Apparently, once a celebrity gets married, he is instantly less desirable - the fantasy collapses like a house of cards. Otherwise, why would so many stars go out of their way to hide their marriages?

Last week, American Mandopop singer Anthony Neely, 28, revealed that he has been married for the past four years and is a father to a three-year-old girl.

He confessed it in a video clip posted on his Facebook page, saying amid tears he decided to finally tell the truth "out of love" for his family.

His wife, whose identity he did not reveal, had "suffered" in silence over the years, he said, while his daughter kept asking him why he never took her to outdoor playgrounds to play.

Fans were shocked by the admission, but were generally supportive of it.

Not all stars, however, have been as fortunate.

When Japanese singer-actor Jin Akanishi, 30, formerly of boyband Kat-tun, was discovered by the media in 2012 to be secretly married to actress Meisa Kuroki, his agency Johnny's Entertainment was reportedly so angry, it penalised him by cancelling his entire concert tour and making him pay the venue cancellation fees out of his own pocket.

Reportedly, the company's president Johnny Kitagawa told reporters Akanishi should have considered the consequences that marriage would have on his career.

An official statement from the agency said the heart-throb "deviated from the rules of etiquette as an adult member of society" by not informing the company of the marriage and asking for permission first.

Who said marriage is something between only two people?

Certainly not Jackie Chan, who claimed he hid his marriage to actress Lin Feng-jiao for more than 10 years out of fear that his fans would commit suicide.

He might not have been entirely delusional in his belief.

Nanyang Technological University assistant professor Liew Kai Khiun, whose research interests include popular culture, believes certain stars find it crucial to appear single as marriage "represents the end of youthful innocence, which would be difficult for younger fans to accept because they are precisely attracted to these traits of the young celebrities".

He adds that being single for those stars "signifies total devotion to their fans".

This may be why artist contracts for many South Korean pop groups and idols have a strict "no dating" rule - having a partner would distract them; fans should be their No. 1 priority, it would seem.

Silly? Think again.

When Taiwan-based singer-actor Wu Chun finally confirmed news of his secret marriage and fatherhood last year after years of denial, guest relations executive Elisa Chua, 23, lost all interest in him.

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