Randall Tan never thought he would end up with wife Melody Chen after their first on-screen kiss in 1998

The couple married 10 years later in 2008 and are proud parents of four-year-old twins.

Fasiha Nazren | April 07, 2021, 02:43 PM

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Growing up with local television, I recognise Randall Tan as that heartthrob of an actor who acted in series like "Moulmein High", "Light Years" and "Lifeline".

If those titles ring a bell, then you're probably feeling old like I did.

Although these shows were produced more than 10 years ago, it seems like Tan, 48, didn't age at all when we met him over coffee earlier in March.

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Homecoming

But young wasn't exactly what he felt when he was on the set of the series adaptation of "The Teenage Textbook".

Tan played the dashing heartbreaker Tom D'Cruz in the 1998 movie version of the book.

Based on the book by Singaporean author Adrian Tan, it is a teenage romance movie following the life of Lee Mui Ee as she navigates through relationships in junior college.

Almost 23 years later, he was asked to play a cameo role in the television series (not as Tom D'Cruz though, who is played by 987 deejay Chris Mak in the series adaptation).

Without revealing much, he told us that his character shares the screen with the newer Tom D'Cruz.

Coming back for a shoot after some time felt a lot like homecoming for Tan who has been in the media industry since 1995.

One of his last few times he was on television was in 2017, when he played a supporting role in Mediacorp Channel 5's television series "BRA".

"When you've been doing it for 25 years of your life, being in front of the cameras and lights, it just brings back a warm, fuzzy feeling."

But it also made him feel really, really old.

Recalling the day he went for the shoot, he laughed as he told us that the young cast members basically formed a line to say hello to him.

Letting out a sigh, he said: "They shook my hands and said, 'It's an honour to be acting with you'. I was like... You all just stopped short of calling me an uncle."

While Tan may be the only returning cast from the movie, he let on that the series director had asked his wife Melody Chen, the original Lee Mui Ee, to make a cameo appearance as well.

Unfortunately, we won't get to see a mini "The Teenage Textbook" movie reunion any time soon.

Tan said: "Because of the twins and scheduling would have been crazy, she had to turn it down."

Never imagined to have married Mui Yee

Speaking of Chen, some would probably think that the couple has been together for a long time since their reel life characters did have a fleeting romance.

On top of that, they both gave their first on-screen kisses to each other in the 1998 movie.

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However, Tan told us that back then, they were just "really, really good friends".

In fact, prior to filming "The Teenage Textbook" movie, the pair had acted as siblings in "The Donny Lee Show".

Yup, that probably made the on-screen kiss a little weird.

But as the saying goes, fate has a funny way of coming around.

In June 2007, Tan was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre Syndrome.

It is a rare neurological disorder where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system and at worst, can cause paralysis.

He spent months hospitalised and had to relearn everyday tasks like standing and walking.

Throughout these difficult times, however, Chen was always there to support him and nursed him back to health.

Truly in sickness and in health, the couple got married the following year in 2008.

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined Tom D'Cruz marrying Mui Yee," Tan said.

Now, the couple are also proud parents to a pair of twins — a boy and a girl — who will be turning four in November.

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And yes, their toddlers have watched their shows on Netflix (Fun fact: Tan has three films on the streaming service right now), including "The Teenage Textbook" movie.

Gushing over his beloved children, he shared: "We have tried showing them bits and pieces of our older shows. They recognise that it's mummy and daddy on screen, but I think they still don't know what it truly means."

Taking a step back from entertainment

While you may not be able to see Tan as often on your television screens, you can probably find him with a glass of whiskey in hand at The Macallan Experience.

Tan has been the brand ambassador since 2019, where he conducts whiskey tasting and masterclasses for the whiskey brand.

That doesn't mean he's entirely done with the entertainment industry, though.

"Basically, I've taken a step back from entertainment unless something amazing comes up, like the cameo on 'The Teenage Textbook.'"

But for now, he's just content to know that people still remember him for his acting chops.

I really don't know what else I'll be doing in terms of being in the spotlight, because I already entertain people here at Macallan [laughs]. Though I have to add, it's nice to know that I've not been forgotten."

Top image from Randall Tan's Instagram page.