Tragedies, scandals, and break-ups: We remember the biggest news in entertainment in 2019

"Entertainment" refers to something that provides amusement, but ironically, many events that occurred in the industry this year were far from funny.

Below, AsiaOne writers look back on the tragedies, scandals, break-ups, and victims of collateral damage that stuck in our minds.



PHOTO: Instagram/ aloypang

The 28-year-old Singapore actor died on January 23 in New Zealand from injuries sustained during a military exercise with the Singapore Armed Forces.

Kwok Kar Peng: Aloysius' death hit too close to heart because it's the greatest fear of any Singaporean mum. I interviewed Aloysius when he returned to showbiz in 2012, and he told me that his days in the army "whipped him into shape". He was rebellious before, but he learned to plan his future. He said he wanted more for his parents, his two older brothers, and himself, and didn't want his future wife and children to suffer. He wanted to grow into the showbiz industry and become a veteran actor.

It hurts that there are some who wanted so much from life but it's snatched from them, and there are others who gave up their lives.


Just days before their son celebrated his first birthday, the former actress' husband Ben Goi died in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 3 from a heart attack.

Candice Cai: I remember I was on holiday in Japan when I first got the news. The reason it hit me was because I had written about Ben and Tracy's lavish wedding two years earlier, and I knew they left behind a young son.

It also hit home because like Tracy, I too, have a son who's still too young to fend for himself and I couldn't imagine a baby never getting to know his dad. What struck me as well was how bravely Tracy appeared to soldier on, difficult as it must be, exemplifying the depth of human resilience.


PHOTO: Instagram/ jelly_jilli

K-pop singers Sulli and Goo Hara were found dead in their homes on Oct 14 and Nov 24 respectively.

Lam Min Lee: They were young, beautiful, and successful. So their deaths, which happened six weeks apart, came as a surprise to many, including non K-pop fans like myself. Sulli and Hara were active on social media and shared snippets of their work and personal lives right up to the day before their demise. Who would've guessed that Hara's 'Good night' would be her last words to her fans?

Rainer Cheung: It seems almost clockwork at this point: celebrities struggle with mental health issues and ever-present scrutiny as a result of being in the limelight, but no one seems to care until they're gone.

And with every death, after a wave of "rest in peace" and "please reach out if you need help" messages (all of which seems only cursory by the way), these issues are swept back under the carpet until the next one bites the dust. People say they care, but how much has actually been done?


PHOTO: Instagram/ godfreygao

The Taiwanese-Canadian model-actor died on Nov 27 while filming the physically-taxing Chinese reality show, Chase Me.

Bryan Lim: Every death should be accorded the same respect because life is sacred. But I do have a soft spot for Godfrey, not because he had the face of Adonis and the personality of an angel, but because it was the most shocking to me. When I heard the news, I was gobsmacked and I thanked my lucky stars that I got to meet him at a fan meet a few years ago. Perhaps he could be putting on a facade but he seemed every bit as genuine, charming, and considerate as his friends made him out to be.



PHOTO: Blossom Entertainment

South Korea's golden couple filed for divorce on June 27 after two years of marriage due to personality differences.

Joey Lee: The Song-Song couple was a dream come true for many drama fans who followed their onscreen romance in Descendants of the Sun. Their fairytale romance and subsequent breakup left me shellshocked and wondering if everything was just a publicity stunt.

However, I respect the way they kept details of their marriage and divorce private, unlike the Ku Hye-sun-Ahn Jae-hyun debacle which stunned me with the ugly details. Even though a relationship has ended, I believe smearing each other's reputation will only provide fodder for public gossip and besmirch one's good name.


PHOTO: Instagram/kookoo900, aagbanjh

The Korean actress posted on social media on Aug 18 that her actor husband Ahn Jae-hyun had filed for divorce, even though she hoped to remain together. The couple exchanged barbs publicly, accusing each other of multiple instances of bad behaviour.

Trini Ng: Honestly, I thought the Song-Song breakup would come as the biggest shock to me but I guess somewhere inside, I felt it could just have been for the publicity. This, though, was one I never would have expected. Who would have known that the seemingly perfect marriage between the two would turn into something so messy and ugly, exposed for the world to see. It's not my place to judge but both could have definitely handled the divorce much better.


Malaysian singer Fish Leong confirmed on Sept 8 that she had signed divorce papers ending her marriage to Taiwanese businessman Tony Chao, with rumours pointing to his alleged affair as the cause.

Kar Peng: If things aren't working out between a married couple, get a divorce before engaging in extra-marital affairs. It must have been extra painful for Fish when the media published stories of him hanky-pankying with a woman and driving her around in the car that Fish supposedly gave him.



Jung Joon-young. PHOTO: AFP

The scandal exploded in March, revealing how South Korean singer and television celebrity Jung Joon-young secretly took videos of him having sex with women without their consent, and distributed those clips to other men, including celebrities, in online chat groups.

Kar Peng: I usually hold celebrities to a slightly higher moral standard because there are impressionable kids and youths who look up to them. And these secret recordings and sharing of sex videos are depraved and "18 levels of Hell" kind of despicable. Quitting showbiz is just the easy way out. I wait for the day all of them are thrown into jail, and hopefully for a long time.


PHOTO: Instagram/entertainment.mpw

Exposed in April, the secret video showed Hong Kong singer Andy Hui canoodling with TVB actress Jacqueline Wong in the back seat of a car.

Joey: I could really feel for Sammi Cheng as video evidence of her husband's marital affair spread across the Internet. She handled it like a queen, and her decision to forgive Andy must not have been an easy one. While the subsequent public backlash for Jacqueline, her breakup with boyfriend Kenneth Ma, rumoured financial woes, and her (disgraceful) return to Hong Kong were interesting reads, I think she could have laid low for a little longer.


Photo: Lianhe Zaobao

Private messages between the two local actors were leaked illegally in May, and the content containing inappropriate language and sexual innuendos — was shocking to say the least, especially since both are said to be attached to other partners.

Bryan: Look, it's not often that we get a scandal that rocks our local showbiz scene, and the sexy text messages left our jaws on the floor. Let's just say that I now have a newfound appreciation of the phrase 'planting strawberries'.




The Hong Kong actor got dragged into the Andy Hui-Jacqueline Wong scandal in April for being the latter's boyfriend.

Joey: Like Sammi Cheng, I think Kenneth managed to handle the whole fiasco with grace and proved that he's ultimately, a really nice guy. Perhaps it was a good thing the truth came to light before he decided to put a ring on her (marriage was on the cards, right?) and I believe he deserves a better woman at the end of the day.



After Aloysius Pang died, his leading role in a local drama was given to Malaysian actor Lawrence. Carrie Wong threw shade at the latter and was caught red-handed when her private messages with Ian Fang were illegally exposed.

Mabel Khoo: It's definitely gotta hurt, when you find out your colleagues have been dissing you behind your back. The entertainment industry in Singapore is so small, and Lawrence has handled the awkward situation graciously. 


She uploaded a photo of herself wearing a surgical face mask on Facebook in Nov, and was promptly accused by some people in mainland China as a supporter of anti-government protests.

Kar Peng: Some people are just so sensitive. Celebrities from Hong Kong to South Korea all wear surgical face masks when they don't want to be photographed looking less than gorgeous. Joey is just darn suay.

Look out for part two of our 2019 entertainment news round-up tomorrow, where we talk about news that made us go 'WTF', and also the most 'Awww'-inducing, the 'Biggest Reveals', and the 'Most Unexpected Viral News'.