It has been over two years since Taiwanese show host Patty Hou broke up with superstar singer Jay Chou, but their love life still makes headlines.
In fact Chou, 30, mentioned the old relationship in an interview with Apple Daily Taiwan only last month. He said that the Chou-Hou romance, as it was called in 2005, was a 'healthy' one.
Still, as it is the only relationship that the singer, who has also been linked with Jolin Tsai and Hebe Tien from girl group S.H.E, has been upfront about, the media fascination is understandable.
As for Hou, 30, she is trying to move on from being labelled his trophy ex-girlfriend, though previous media reports have said she gets emotional when the break-up is mentioned.
But when Life! spoke to her last Thursday in a telephone interview from Taipei, the relatively composed TV host and actress gamely fielded questions about her failed romance, although some of her answers were a bit cryptic.
'I can understand that people are interested in celebrities' private lives and I respect that.'
She added in American-accented English: 'I also understand some things are best kept private. It's hard to talk about it openly because some things are not as simple.'
Besides handling the pressure of the high-profile Chou-Hou relationship and its aftermath, the University of Southern California mass communications graduate has been busy hosting gigs including Taiwan's Emmy equivalent, The Golden Bell Awards, and acting.
The former news anchor has also been co-hosting variety show Azio Superstar with veteran host Jacky Wu. It airs on mio TV's Asia Plus Channel (Channel 72) on weeknights at 8pm.
On top of that, she released a book last year titled Zi Yan Zi Yu (Words), in which she divulged details about her romance with Chou.
1. Why did you decide to write a book about your innermost thoughts?
In my book I don't only talk about relationships. It's my view on love in general. That's why I wrote the book so that people would know about my views on politics and other issues.
2. What are some lessons you've learnt from past relationships?
You evolve and you learn. To love, you need courage. So I would say that I've learnt to be brave and just to love.
3. What kind of qualities do you look for in a guy?
I would like him to be optimistic because there are a lot of downsides in the world. If you can grow old with an optimistic person, you can face difficulties with a smile and with a lot of energy. So I'd like my other half to be optimistic.
4. What are some of the things that you've learnt from co-hosting with Jacky Wu on Azio Superstar?
I'm trying to learn his wit, his humour and (how) he reacts to questions quickly. He has his own structure of logical thinking. That is incredible. So I try to catch it as quickly as possible. I guess it takes time. I'm spending a lot of time with him - we work together two days a week, which is a long time - so I think we're getting more and more familiar with each other and I think the show is going to get better.
5. What if you had to interview Jay Chou on your show?
Because we're friends, I would do the interview as I would (with) other people. It wouldn't be any different.
6. You were the voice behind Tigress in the Mandarin-dubbed version of Kung Fu Panda. How was that experience?
It was very fun, very wonderful. I love to play tough characters. I think the producers wanted me to do the voiceover because they found a toughness in my voice. I loved that experience because people usually think I'm very gentle.
7. You have a degree in mass communications and you started out as a news anchor. Was it your plan to go into showbusiness?
No, not at all. My plan was to get married and have children. All these happened accidentally. Fate changed that. I believe in fate and that's what led me to this industry. It has opened up doors and changed my views towards the whole world.
But now with this twist of events, I'm more open-minded and I've learnt a lot. So all this came very surprisingly but it has all been pleasant so far.
8. Complete this sentence: If I could live my life all over again...
I wouldn't change a thing. I think every step I take means something and I learn something from it.
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Nov 24, 2008.