Actors Randall Tan and Melody Chen give us an insight into their marriage.
You’re a good-looking couple. What do you do when someone hits on your spouse?
Melody: Randall still gets that a lot! I used to be quite affected by it when we were dating. I’d had some bad experiences in my past and it took me a while to come to terms with my trust issues. But I’m handling it better now.
Randall: I avoid doing anything that makes Melody feel insecure – I tell her where I’m going, who I’m with and what I’m doing. We also go to events together. We’ve learnt to trust each other. I never get jealous because at the end of the day, Melody goes home with me!
How did you first meet?
Randall: Melody is my sister’s friend and she was always wanting to introduce us. But I was working as a flight attendant then, and whenever my sister invited Melody and their friends to our home, I would always be away! We finally met on the set of The Donny Lee
Show in 1996 and I was like, “Hey, I think I know you…” That’s when we started hanging out as friends.
What were you like as friends?
Melody: We were like brother and sister, so if I’d imagined us being together then – it would have been almost incestuous! (Laughs)
It wasn’t love at first sight; it was about how comfortable we felt with each other. And we just decided, “Why not?”
Randall: I was already the son her mum never had. My parents loved her too – they could see how much she cared for me. Our parents met when I was hospitalised for Guillain-Barre syndrome (a disease which attacks the nervous system) in 2007. I recovered from it in the same year.
So you started dating nine years after your first screen role together in 1998, when you played lovers in The Teenage Textbook Movie.
Randall: My first thought was: “I hope I don’t mess this up.” Melody is a great friend and I didn’t want to lose that. But I also didn’t want to go through life not knowing if we’d work out as a couple.
Melody: It was different from all my previous relationships – not only was Randall a friend, lover and confidante, he also felt like family. So I thought that maybe this was how love should be. We’ve been married for five years and it’s still good.
Do you still discover new things about each other?
Melody & Randall (in unison): Every day!
Randall: Just recently, I found out why Melody keeps the cap of the toothpaste tube open – so it doesn’t ruin her manicure! Now, I just leave it open for her.
What do you fight about?
Randall: It can be something as small as me wanting to stay home, while Melody wants to go out for dinner. I literally “tsk” at her and that’s when it starts.
Melody: He’s quick-tempered, especially when he’s hungry or when it comes to driving.
Randall: When I get angry, Melody likes to say, “Can you calm down?” And I’m like, “No!” I just want to be angry for that moment but I always cool down afterwards.
Melody: That’s why I’ve learnt to ignore his outbursts.
What do you admire most about each other?
Randall: Her organisational skills and attention to detail, especially when she’s planning our holidays. At first, I thought, “Really?”
(laughs). But we always have a good holiday, so I now appreciate this trait of hers.
Melody: Which some people think of as bossy… (laughs). I got it from my dad. Growing up, I remember thinking I’d never want to be like that. Then, I realised I love having checklists – they make me feel safe. It’s not something most people can put up with, so I’m glad Randall’s easy-going enough to accept it.
What about you, Melody?
Melody: Randall’s extremely loyal and I love that about him. He’s sociable and has no problems making new friends. But he never forgets his old buddies. If they need him, he’ll make great efforts to be there to help if he can.
Who do you look up to as a couple?
Randall: I wish I could be more like my dad. He’s very patient with my mum’s quirks, and they still hold hands when they go out. He’s the jovial guy everyone loves.
Melody: I look up to my parents, too. Whenever they quarrel, I wonder how they’ve kept going for 30 years and counting. It’s something that never fails to amaze me. My parents aren’t openly affectionate like Randall’s, but after my dad’s recent bout with cancer, he hugs his loved ones a lot more.