Though they claimed to have dated for only four years before announcing their Internet-breaking marriage last Saturday, Stephen Fung and Shu Qi have, in fact, known each other for nearly twenty years.
Accordig to Jaynestars, the couple first met on the set of 1997’s Bishonen, a drama film about an ill-fated gay romance. At the time, Stephen and Shu Qi referred to each other as Jet and Kana, the names of their respective characters in the film.
Though Stephen and Shu Qi did not have much screen time together in the film, they immediately clicked off screen. In a personal documentary released in 2006, Stephen went in depth about his close friendship with Shu Qi, and said, “I met her in 1997. I already had good feelings for her then. Shu Qi is someone with a very natural disposition; she doesn’t hide her feelings. When I first met her, I took the initiative and asked for her phone number.”
As both Stephen and Shu Qi lived close by, they oftenmet up. Stephen became Shu Qi’s go-to technician, as Shu Qi would always him to fix her house’s electronics. But when asked if romance would be possible between them, Stephen said at the time, “Maybe the longer we’ve known each other, the more strange it is to be a couple. But Shu Qi is an actress I admire very much.”
And now, ten years later, the longtime friends have finally confirmed that romance did happen—and it’s actually not at all surprising to see.
Even when they were still friends, Stephen and Shu Qi often confided their secrets in each other. Stephen was always the first person Shu Qi went to when she was feeling unhappy. He was always the first person to hear about her struggles. Stephen was always there when Shu Qi needed him the most—and that never changed.
Shu Qi faced one of the darkest moments in her career when she started dating Leon Lai around early 2000. Egged and bullied by Leon’s fans, there was a period of time when Shu Qi was afraid to go out in the streets. Though Shu Qi had high alcohol tolerance, the stress from her public and private life had pushed her to a boiling point—and she would keep drinking until she passed out.
But even then, Stephen never left her side.
The actor-director recalled in the interview, “She got herself really drunk one night so I had to take her home. Just as I was about to leave, she fell out of her bed and slammed her head against the floor. I tucked her back in and didn’t leave until she fell asleep. I need to make sure that she’s safe.”
The adorable and uncomplicated Shu Qi wears her heart on her sleeves—when she’s happy, she smiles like the sun, but when things aren’t going exactly as planned, she’ll look impatient and upset. Stephen never had to ask her about how she’s feeling—he could always read right through her.
“When she throws a tantrum, she can get really terrifying,” said Stephen with a laugh. “But I prefer to see her smiling.”