Photo: Instagram/Noontalk Media
Channel 8 actor Xu Bin had to keep his relationship with his fiancee a secret - and not just from the fans.
He also had to hide the romance from his artiste manager as he knew he was under strict orders not to date.
Artistes such as him who are signed to TV host Dasmond Koh's agency NoonTalk Media are not allowed to get romantically involved as Koh thinks it may distract them from their work.
At a press conference held at Orchard Hotel on Tuesday (Oct 10), Xu, 28, admitted that it was tough having to keep mum about his other half for two years.
He said: "When I met her, we clicked and just naturally got together. I had to hide it from dage (big brother in Chinese), which was hard. I've never been the obedient sort.
"But about a year ago, he lifted the no-dating ban for some of us, so I finally revealed the truth."
Koh, 45, who was also at the press event, said that he lifted the ban for Xu and fellow NoonTalk Media artiste Aloysius Pang, 27, as the two of them had "reached the right age".
"Work is important, but them getting on with their personal lives is also important. At this point in their lives, they're mature enough to know what to do, and I would also want them to get married and have families of their own."
He added: "But for the rest of you young ones, you're still not allowed to date."
He was referring to the other artistes in his stable, which include Timothee Yap, 22, and Zong Zijie, 20, who were also at the event.
Xu looked relaxed as he dished details about his Chinese bride-to-be, Ms Wang Yifei, 27.
The two plan to hold three wedding banquets - one in Singapore next month (November), and two more in January, in Xu's and Wang's respective hometowns of Fujian and Wuhan.
Xu said: "Dating hasn't been easy, because we could never hold hands, or do the usual things that couples do, in public. I'm glad I can finally start posting some pictures of us together on social media."
But some of his NoonTalk Media artiste friends knew about the relationship, such as actress Kimberly Chia, 22, who gave a helping hand with the marriage proposal.
Xu said: "We rode a yacht out from Sentosa, and Kimberly really helped, buying balloons and decorating the yacht for us. It was very romantic. I am really grateful to her."
He first announced news of his wedding on Monday night (Oct 9), in an Instagram post. Many fans and netizens alike were sceptical and wondered if it was a publicity stunt.
"It's real. I'm really getting married," he said with a chuckle.
Xu met his fiancee at a friend's birthday party here more than three years ago, he said.
While she is a Beijing Film Academy graduate, she is not an actress and has no plans to enter show business, choosing instead to help in her family's property business.
Still, her academic background was what helped link the couple together, Xu said.
"I was definitely the one who was interested in her first, and I wanted to chase her. At the time, I hadn't been acting for very long, so I kept asking her for acting advice.
"She has watched my dramas, and she always says that I'm a terrible actor," he said with a laugh.
This article was first published in The Straits Times