(HAPPIER TIMES: Carole Lin with her ex-husband in 2008.)
IT WAS supposed to be a nice catch-up interview with former TV actress Carole Lin.
How’s her handsome French husband? Is she enjoying her life in Oxford, England, where the couple call home?
After all, she had given up a 13-year showbiz career when she got hitched in a fairytale wedding at a chateau in France in June 2008.
But the hints were there even before the interview began.
When the wife is in Singapore starting a business and the husband is away in Europe, something just isn’t quite right.
Our instincts were right, even though we still weren’t prepared for the surprise: That Carole had divorced aeronautical engineer Bertrand Gouge, 33, last November after being married for just a year.
It is her second failed marriage – her first lasted three years before ending in 2002.
But we got another surprise: That she has recovered from the divorce and has been dating a Singapore-based Scottish professional since late last year.
Carole, 36, was amused at my awkwardness, for she herself didn’t appear upset about the divorce.
Neither does she feel stigmatised over being a twice-divorced woman in a conservative society.
Of her divorce, she said: “I’m happy that we decided to split. He’s busy with his job and studies, and I have my ambitions.”
Mr Gouge is pursuing an MBA in marketing in Paris and travels between the English city and the French capital every two weeks.
Carole, on the other hand, aims to start a business to impart what she learnt about quality living from the Europeans.
Despite their divorce, she said they are still good friends and chat twice a week. Mr Gouge also has a girlfriend now.
But the strength and good humour that she displays now doesn’t mean there was no heartache when their marriage was ended.
“We have different paths to take and both can’t afford the sacrifice. It was very difficult and painful. I went through low times too and I cried a lot,” she admitted.
When they got married, she thought she could accept living a tai-tai lifestyle. But she soon realised she wanted to do more.
She added: “I don’t take marriage lightly. There’s always a reason why things happen. I learnt a lot too and changed for the better. Something better will happen if you have a positive attitude.”
That “something” could be her current boyfriend, a 35-year-old Scot, whom she wants to keep out of the limelight.
He has worked in Singapore for the last three years and they met on Facebook when Carole was packing her bags to return to Singapore.
At that time, both thought it was amusing that they were in each other’s continents – a Singaporean in the UK, and a Scot in Singapore.
Both love travelling, good food and discussing the economy, politics and philosophy. She doesn’t want to call it a serious relationship, only that it’s a happy, constructive one.
He also shares Carole’s passion for living a quality life the natural way.
This kind of lifestyle – eating healthy, exercising, loving nature and keeping a positive mental outlook – so inspired her that she has set up a company, icell harvest, with her entrepreneur friend, Ms Idy Low.
She intends to organise workshops to teach grooming, hygiene, beauty care, diet, exercises, knowledge and positive mental health.
This article was first published in The New Paper.