SINGAPORE - After a series of photos showing former football hero Quah Kim Song embracing an unidentified woman, he and Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim have responded to say that 'this is a non-issue to us'.
The joint statement was sent as a text message from Ms Lim's handphone to Chinese evening daily, Shin Min Daily News.
The photos of Mr Quah and the unidentified, Filipino-looking woman began circulating in an online forum thread, with the heading, "please do not show this thread to Sylvia Lim", shortly after their romance was officially announced.
Ms Lim, 48, and Mr Quah, 61, confirmed last Saturday that they have been dating for about six months.
She told The Sunday Times that some mutual friends had coaxed Mr Quah to sing at the WP's variety show, Bricks In Blue, in January.
"We became close after that," she said.
The former football star, 61, is a widower with two children.
Who doesn't have a past?
According to Shin Min, Ms Lim sent the message to the evening daily on Thursday evening, at around 6.25pm. The couple issued the joint statement after discussion. They were uncontactable before that.
Ms Lim reportedly said in the same statement that the photos were taken in the past, and who didn't have a past? We will look forward to the future, the the times we will be spending together."
The couple also confirmed that Mr Quah had told Ms Lim about the woman before they dated.
In a phone interview given to the Chinese evening daily after Ms Lim's statement, Mr Quah said he and the woman in the pictures were dating for a year, but they went their separate ways about one and a half years ago.
He said: "We tried dating, but things didn't turn out well, so we went our separate ways.
"I have not been in contact with her for the past one and a half years. I don't even know whether she has changed her handphone number."
The photos were reportedly uploaded online in June 2012. The woman also thanked Mr Quah for celebrating her birthday with her in an online posting.
Mr Quah added he had requested for the woman to remove the photos from the Internet before his relationship with Ms Lim became public. But he cannot confirm why the photos were still available online.
He also said that he will not request for the woman to remove the pictures again, or take any actions against online bloggers who have been circulating the photos.