The New Paper
14 October 2015
Today, local actors Chen Liping and Rayson Tan will be picking out her wedding gown.
No, it is not the real thing for the long-married couple, who are both 50, but part of a scene for their new Channel 8 drama, Life - Fear Not, which they are currently filming.
While most women would be thrilled by the prospect of shopping for that perfect white frock, Chen dreads it and doesn't enjoy the experience one bit.
Premiering on Monday at 7.30pm, the 120-episode series about a family who runs an inn, sees Chen and Tan play lovers who eventually tie the knot over the course of the show.
Chen and Tan, who wed in 1998, never had official wedding photos taken or did any bridal shoot because Chen has a self-confessed "phobia" of wedding gowns.
"I have tried on so many gowns while acting over the years that I associate them with work, and it is not fun for me," Chen told The New Paper in a joint interview with Tan at a press conference yesterday.
"For Life - Fear Not, we had wedding photos taken for the first time since we were married 17 years ago, but it was still not exciting for me. I didn't even wear a wedding gown on my actual wedding day!"
Incidentally, Chen and Tan played a married couple - complete with "wedding photos" - in their very first series together, Golden Shenton Way. This was back in 1990 before they started dating. Life - Fear Not marks their third outing as on-screen spouses.
"Back then, Liping was already an established actress and I was a newcomer," Tan said. "But I liked her immediately, and I am really grateful for that show for bringing us together."
The spotlight fell on the pair at yesterday's press conference, as journalists teased them for being dressed in a "couple outfit" of matching black and white.
"Of course we have to be matching - it is to promote the show!" Tan joked.
Chen and Tan last played a couple, albeit a divorced one, in this year's Channel 8 drama Good Luck. At that press conference in January, Chen had expressed doubt that they would play a couple again as it was difficult to differentiate acting from reality, especially when they had fight scenes together.
The couple were also concerned that acting together would mean less family time with their 13-year-old son, Xavier. So why play a couple again so soon after filming Good Luck?
"I was initially hesitant, because real life and acting can get mixed up," Chen admitted. "But after all, we are professionals. And Life - Fear Not was a great drama, so we were keen to come on board."
She added with a smile that their son was probably delighted to have time to himself.
"He is enjoying himself at home, playing computer games."
While Xavier has not seen their Life - Fear Not wedding photos, he does watch their programmes faithfully and even records them.
At home, it is Tan who tutors their son in his studies, which can be taxing when he is filming.
"It is a sacrifice, but I consider it quality time spent with my son," said Tan.
So do Chen and Tan see themselves hooking up on screen again in the future?
"I won't commit either way, it always depends on the script," said Chen. "If it is a good story, sure."
Added Tan: "I really relish the opportunity to spend more quality time with Liping. I am really thankful that we can do press together today, for example."
"Having him around relaxes me," said Chen. "That's why at the press conference, I am more chatty than usual."
This article was first published on October 14, 2015.
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