The Straits Times
Mar 25, 2015
Fearless Taiwanese-American travel host Janet Hsieh is equally gung-ho when it comes to her romantic relationship with Singapore-based actor George Young.
Young, her newly minted husband, tells Life!: "I said it as a joke - 'Janet, since you like travelling so much, let's go to Antarctica.'
Janet being Janet, the travel-show wonderkid, she took it seriously. She took over, planned it all and we ended up getting married there."
The friends-turned-lovers announced their wedded bliss on their social media accounts in January by posting a photo of themselves holding a "Just Married" sign amid penguins in Antarctica.
Their exotic destination wedding will be aired as part of a new travel series that is still in the works.
It plays up the couple's different personalities - Hsieh, 35, is a seasoned traveller and a daredevil, and Young, also 35, is, well, not. Hsieh, who grew up in Texas, says:
"I'm very used to doing challenging and adventurous things. George does not want to do them, but he was a trouper. He's doing all these things for the first time; his reactions are priceless. The craziest thing he did was to sit on a rodeo bull. When we were in Antarctica, we went kayaking and chasing after whales."
Despite being thousands of miles apart from each other during a recent telephone conference with Life! - she was in Taipei, where she is based, and he was in Atlanta, the United States, for the filming of a drama - their chemistry was palpable and their banter fun and easygoing.
The couple's different personalities and inclinations will likely extend into their parenting styles in future.
"George is going to put GPS (Global Positioning System) on our children and wrap them in bubble wrap." Young replies:
"Janet is the one who is going to let them roam and take risks. I will instil a sense of caution in them."
As spunky and alpha as she is, Young, the eldest of four sons born to a Malaysian-Chinese father and Greek-Cypriot mother, made sure he was the one who took charge of the marriage proposal.
Hsieh, who is known for her escapades on travelogue Fun Taiwan, vividly recalls the surprise proposal he staged in the rain on the rooftop of her old Taipei apartment in the middle of last year.
"I remembered when we first started dating, the rooftop was where he first told me he loved me. He got down on one knee and proposed," she says.
Although the proposal came just months after they started dating at the start of last year, the pair say they know they are soulmates.
"We had known each other from 10 years ago while we were modelling in Taiwan and dating was another aspect to it. We are so comfortable with each other. If you have known someone for so long, it just works," says Young.
Hsieh chimes in:
"Two months into dating, I pretty much knew this was something I wanted for the long term."
Their wedding ceremony was attended by family and friends, including Taiwanese actress Janine Chang and Taiwanese band sodagreen's vocalist Wu Ching-feng.
Rebutting speculations that the cost of the event was astronomical, Hsieh reveals that the total budget for the production and wedding was a little under US$500,000 (S$684,000).
They spent 50 days on the road, filming non-stop in Texas, Argentina and Antarctica. On top of dealing with fatigue from the hectic filming schedule, they were robbed of their valuables after 10 days of filming in Texas.
They lost laptops, sponsored shoes, Young's electric razor and Hsieh's jewellery - her grandma's pearl necklace and Young's gift of a black diamond necklace.
"It was a real test of our relationship. It was the first time we worked together for such a long period of time. We did say that it could either make or break us. Thankfully, it made us," says Young, who has been a guest on Hsieh's Fun Taiwan.
Another challenge for them would be to start a family, given their long-distance relationship.
Sharing that they make it a point to meet at least once every two months, Hsieh says:
"Ideally, we would be able to live in the same place and raise our kids, but I think we will never be the normal, standard couple. Whether I have to strap the kid on my back and carry him around or George has to do it, we're going to make it happen."