It may seem like local multi-hyphenate Mark Lee has everything going for him — his showbiz career and multiple businesses are doing well, he is happily married with three children, and he has enough to live a comfortable life.
But in August 2018, his younger daughter, Calynn, was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, a progressive kidney disease where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the kidneys and causes them to malfunction.
She was five at the time.
Lee has three children with his wife Catherine Ng -- Calista, 14, Marksonn, 11, and Calynn, who is now nine.
Broke down after his daughter fell ill
Lee has previously talked about how worried he was when Calynn underwent a test at the hospital on Guo Liang's talk show "The Inner Circle".
On this week's episode of Quan Yifong's talk show "Hear U Out", he went into detail about why he was adamant about not letting his feelings show.
While he was stressed out by the situation, he held himself together as Ng was "a lot more anxious".
"If the both of us were [equally] anxious, we wouldn't be able to get anything done," he reasoned.
It was only when he saw medical staff insert a "huge needle" into Calynn's back to get a sample when he felt like crying.
Even then, he held himself together as his wife was next to him.
"I only broke down in the toilet later on," Lee explained. "After crying, I freshened up and came out from the restroom. My wife asked me if I cried, and I just smiled because she understood too.
When Quan asked Lee how he managed to hold on during that difficult period, he stated matter-of-factly:
"You just have to keep going no matter what. There's no [formula] of getting through it and all you can do is to hold on.
I shed tears in the dead of night while having coffee on my balcony.
I questioned why this little girl has to go through this. She's still young and [doctors said that] there's a possibility that she will always remain at her current height."
Calynn's immune system is slowly but surely recovering, and Lee hopes that it will be back to normal by the time she turns 18 or 19, as they have been told she will be considered fully recovered if her immune system works the way it should.
The other two times he shed tears in public
Lee revealed that on days that are too much to bear, he sits alone on his balcony at home with a cup of coffee.
Apart from sadness, he also processes his anger there, saying that he will head there if he argues with his wife.
For this very reason, Lee insists on having a balcony in his house.
Lee spoke about two other instances where he shed tears in public — after his older brother died, and after his father was cremated.
The thespian said, "When my brother died, I broke down because I was there at the scene of the car accident. I never imagined that he would look like that when he passed away."
When his father passed away, Lee "didn't shed a single tear" until he boarded the coach after the cremation.
As the bus pulled away from the crematorium, he looked back and saw the fumes rising and recalled how hard his father hit him when he was a child. At the same time, he remembered how much his dad loved him and his two siblings.
"Just like that, he turned into smoke," Lee mused.
He shared that he feels that he "cannot cry in front of [his] wife, mother or children".
"If [they see me] cry, it'll be as if a pillar [that is holding the family up] has crumbled, so I keep a tight rein on myself," he continued. "It's only when they are not around that I let myself [be emotional]. Even then, it doesn't happen often."
You can watch the interview here:
Top images from Mark Lee's Instagram account & meWATCH respectively