Chow Yun Fat a flirt? HK star opens up on personal life and loss of child in new interview

Chow Yun Fat a flirt? HK star opens up on personal life and loss of child in new interview
Chow Yun Fat with wife Jasmine Tan.
PHOTO: Apple Daily

Chow Yun Fat is known to be one of Hong Kong entertainment's most faithful husbands, so it may come as a surprise to hear that the 63-year-old actor considers himself a flirt.

Chow recently appeared on A Date With Luyu, a popular television talkshow in China. In the interview with host Chen Luyu, seen as China's answer to US talkshow queen Oprah, Chow touched on topics like his work and movies, but also on his personal life.

Chow revealed that he's someone who appreciates beautiful women, and while he has romanced many women onscreen, he said his feelings put into the roles were often real. 

As a young actor in Hong Kong broadcasting station TVB, Chow was often cast opposite actress Carol Cheng. The veteran actor added that with the rigorous filming schedules, it felt like Cheng was the first person he saw the moment he woke up for two years. Their relationship was 'sweet', says Chow, and even though they were friends, they felt as close as a couple would.

But asked pointedly on who's the love of his life, Chow replied that it's both his mother and his wife.

Chow has been married for 32 years to Singaporean Jasmine Tan. The couple have no children.

The interview also touched on the Chows' loss when their daughter was stillborn in 1991. The unborn baby died due to strangulation from the umbilical cord when Tan was 9 months pregnant.

In contrast to his wife, who had a hard time getting over the loss, Chow said he bounced back relatively quickly.

"Two people being sad is not going to help things, so I just tried my best to encourage my wife every day."

He also regularly took walks and hikes to cope with the stress.

But more importantly, Chow says it's his happy-go-lucky personality which sees him through tough times.

"I'm someone who's especially positive. I don't take anything too seriously."

Chow Yun Fat and wife: Married for over 30 years and counting

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    Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun Fat and his wife Jasmine Tan have been married for 31 years.

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    The couple are childless since their first child died prematurely.

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    In an exclusive interview with Apple Daily, Tan reveals the tragedy that struck them five years after their marriage.

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    The two were expecting a daughter in 1991.

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    However, the baby died due to strangulation from the umbilical cord before Tan could give birth.

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    In a tearful interview, Tan said it took them seven years to overcome the trauma.

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    Her doctor advised her to remove the baby by caesarian, but Tan refused to and eventually chose to deliver the stillborn naturally.

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    "I said no matter what, I still want to go through it (giving birth naturally). After all, I've already carried my baby for nine months," Tan recalled.

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    Chow had instructed the nurses to carry the baby away immediately as he did not want his wife to have to go through another painful episode.

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    However, Tan managed to catch a glimpse of the corpse before they took it away.

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    In the tearful interview, Tan said: "I still think about her today. This experience is indeed... unimaginable."

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    A day before the baby died, Tan said she did not feel her moving in her womb and consulted her gynaecologist the next morning.

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    Till today, she still remembers details from the fateful day: "It was raining so heavily the next morning when I went to see my doctor at Mongkok that the rainwater reached my knees."

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    At the clinic, the doctor did not reveal any details and told her to go to the hospital immediately.

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    "I looked at the doctor and realised that something was not right. But it never occurred to me that it would be this bad," said Tan, who added that Chow took her to the hospital immediately after the consultation.

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    When she knew her baby girl had died prematurely, Tan said she was not able to cry.

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    "I didn't know what to do or think. I didn't cry. All I could think about was 'why me? Why must this happen to me?'", revealed Tan.

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    "My daughter has died. The love that I have (for her) is something I'm not able to give her anymore. But it is something that I can give to others," said Tan.

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    Ever since the incident, the couple have been helping out the needy and also committed 99 per cent of their assets and belongings to charity.

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    The two decided not to have any children after, as Chow did not want his wife to suffer from any complications.

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    Though childless, the couple are known to have a loving marriage.

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    The two married in 1986.

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    Tan is Chow's second wife, after his short-lived marriage to actress Candice Yu.

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    The two are known to have a low-key lifestyle.

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'90% OF MY FILMS ARE BAD'

On his movie career, Chou candidly admitted that he didn't mind being considered 'box office poison' during his early years.

"I feel like every movie has a life of its own. It doesn't mean that if I act well, the audience will like the movie.

"90 per cent of my movies are bad, but even then, as an actor I have to do my best and fulfil my role. Because the director is dependent on me to deliver the scenes required, and after the job is done, I can get my salary," said Chow.

He joked: "It's not easy to be a lousy actor in a terrible movie, you know."

But one thing Chow would not do, is work in a film for free, even one that is guaranteed to win awards.

"Getting paid is due process and part of the rules. Everyone should play by the rules, even if the real motivation and interest is in the acting."

His view? Movie-making is a business, not art: "Hong Kong is a realistic place, you act and hope it will bring returns at the box office. So one should just follow this path and not think too much."

candicec@sph.com.sg

 

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