The New Paper
Jan 28, 2015
It was all systems go for Taiwanese-American actor-singer Van Ness Wu's latest project, but a no-go when it came to questions about his personal life.
The sullen 36-year-old shut down anyone who dared to broach the topic of his marriage during an interview with local media yesterday, making it the most awkward 15 minutes for both celebrity and reporters involved.
Wu, who married 32-year-old Singaporean Arissa Cheo in August 2013, was in town for the official launch of new reality show Asia's Got Talent at Marina Bay Sands.
He is part of the celebrity judging panel, which also includes Canadian musician-producer David Foster, former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm and Indonesian singer Anggun.
When asked if he took time out to be with his wife on his trip to Singapore, Wu replied curtly:
"This is my personal matter. I hope everyone doesn't ask about it. Thanks."
Speculation over the state of the couple's marriage arose late last year when they had a nasty spat on Instagram, which resulted in them reportedly unfollowing each other.
When pushed by a reporter who asked why he did not want to use this chance to clarify recent rumours, Wu - who was still wearing his wedding ring - said that "it wasn't the right circumstance to do so".
"I feel that this is not a suitable time and place to be addressing this and there is no need for me to, because this is my personal and private matter. I hope the focus can be placed back on my work."
At this point, a minder interjected, reminding reporters to keep their questions to Asia's Got Talent, a spin-off from the massively popular Got Talent format created by Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment.
Asia's Got Talent was mainly filmed in Malaysia and looks for the most talented individual or group around the region.
Last October, Wu and his fellow judges travelled to 15 cities in Asia, including Bangkok, Jakarta, Taipei and Singapore, to audition thousands of applicants.
The semi-finals and finals will be held at Marina Bay Sands in March, with prizes worth up to US$100,000 (S$134,000).
The show premieres on AXN (StarHub Ch 511) on March 12 at 8.05pm. Wu visibly lightened up when the focus of the interview turned to the show, and made reporters laugh when he said:
"I'll never admit it but I joined this show because of David Foster. "I've also watched other Got Talent shows and I understand the context and background of this programme.
"Initially, I had movies coming in, and I wasn't going to do it if the timings didn't match. But I took it up because I heard that David was going to do it."
The other judges described Wu in separate interviews as "a softie", who ended up being the nicest judge.
"I was able to relate to the contestants as I could see the hard work they put into it.
"I don't want to make people feel defeated. Some judges are just more straightforward than others."
When asked if he is also "Mr Nice Guy" when it comes to relationships, Wu - possibly feeling wary and defensive about the indirect prying into his marriage again - offered only a brief answer:
"I am who I am."
He also gave the impression that he is uncertain about his upcoming schedule. When asked whether he would be spending Chinese New Year here with his wife, he became evasive, saying "it's not confirmed yet" and "no comment".
He was similarly tight-lipped when asked if he would be flying straight back to Taiwan or remain in Singapore for a few more days.
He answered: "Still working on the plan." But he made no bones about returning here. "I love Singapore," he said.
Their story so far...
Van Ness Wu and Ms Arissa Cheo register their marriage in Singapore
They hold wedding in Los Angeles, US JAN 2014 They hold wedding banquet at St. Regis Hotel in Singapore
They go on vacation to Greece DEC 25, 2014 Ms Cheo posts a photo on her Instagram account and writes:
"I am going to give you the same amount of effort as you give me."
She also calls Wu "fake" when his fan defends him, adding: "Don't believe the hype. What you see on the telly is definitely not real. Don't tell me what I know."
The post has since been deleted. Wu reportedly tells her to mind her tongue on his Instagram account.
DEC 26, 2014
The couple reportedly stop following each other on Instagram, fuelling rumours that their marriage is on the rocks.
Wu returns to Taiwan after a New Year's countdown event in China and ignores questions about his marriage when reporters ask him at the airport.
He is still wearing his wedding ring. On Weibo, he writes a cryptic New Year's wish:
"And now let us begin the new year, full of things that have never been."
Over the weeks before, Ms Cheo also uploads cryptic posts on her Instagram account, one of which reads:
"Stop letting people who do so little for you, control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions."
Ms Cheo posts a comic of a woman crying, with part of the caption reading:
"A woman's struggle and what goes behind the scenes, no one will ever know and understand."
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