Man of the house at 18

Man of the house at 18

In 1999, when actor-host Paul Foster was 18 years old, he was forced to grow up quickly when his father died from cancer.

For Foster, who says his businessman father Len "knew how to do everything", taking over the responsibilities was naturally a challenge, and at a time when he was sitting his International Baccalaureate examination and moving house.

His mother, Mrs Joyce Foster, who is in her 60s, says: "He had to grow up overnight."

Foster adds: "It was more so once I turned 21. I was able to take over the family estate and start to find another home to buy since we were moving, and then take care of the finances."

He is the elder of two children from his mother's marriage to his father, and has three older half-sisters from Mrs Foster's first marriage.

Now 33, British-Peranakan Foster actively participates in charity events that raise awareness of cancer such as Run For Hope, which will take place on Nov 16 this year at The Promontory @ Marina Bay. He is one of its celebrity ambassadors.

Although his father had encouraged him to further his studies in Britain, he decided to study sports science at Deakin University in Melbourne because he preferred the lifestyle there.

While at university, a chance opportunity with a Channel 5 reality show about overseas tertiary education led him into the entertainment industry.

Initially, his mother was not aware of what he was up to. She says: "I knew he was doing something, but I wasn't sure what it was. In the beginning, I wasn't sure he would be okay, but he's proved to be good at it."

Foster, who is dating a 23-year-old Canadian, has starred in Channel 5 dramas Red Thread, Polo Boys and Mata Mata.

He lives with his mother, his oldest half-sister, 44, and her daughter in a two-storey apartment in Boon Keng. His younger sister lives with her husband in the United States.

When your father died, how did your family cope?

Foster: We became more aware of one another's lives and feelings.

How do you spend time together now?

Mrs Foster: On Sundays, we have lunch or dinner together.

Foster: My sisters, mother and I try to get together at least one or two Sundays every month, or on occasions such as a birthday or dad's anniversary.

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