Text & Photos: Joanna Goh
Video: Foong Mieng Shi & Fiona Lin
Having weathered through trials and tribulations (a “roller coaster ride” as Andrea called it) kept them united and “stronger as a couple.” It also tells of why they aren’t big on grand love gestures (because it’s also hard to top the gallant actor’s selfless liver donation to his then girlfriend back in 2002) or over-the-top surprises, choosing to place value on the little things in life instead.
In fact Pierre is so bad at surprises he only managed to pull off his first ever successful surprise – in 10 years – last year, for their 10th wedding anniversary, revealed Andrea. Unbelievable, but true – the man also foiled his proposal surprise for her back then because he’s too “nervous and kan chiong,” said Andrea.
Lucky for Pierre, she doesn’t mind the non-surprising surprises and even finds him a “more romantic” partner than she is. And the way to Andrea’s heart, it seems, is through simple, gentlemanly acts such as opening the door, pulling the chair out and tucking her chair back. (Ed: And if we may add, it also includes Pierre thoughtfully and voluntarily holding up the microphone for his wife during the entire course of their 25-minute interview with us.)
The most romantic thing Pierre has ever done from courtship days till today, shared Andrea, would be when he gifted her with VCRs of all her favourite movies he went round finding and collecting when they first began dating. “I was still script-writing for MediaCorp at one time and I’d always come back to my desk and find something from him (a basket of presents),” she chuckled. “He was already an actor then and had access to where I was.”
But Pierre did not just stop at the movies. He went one step further and painstakingly collated all her past interviews done (even before she joined MediaCorp too!) as a psychologist and put them together in a collage.
“That was a very, very thoughtful and romantic person. And he’s grown to be a very classy man I must say,” cooed Andrea as Pierre basked in slight embarrassment, adding casually, “Then I wasn’t earning much lah. Very easy to get all those and also very cheap (chuckles).”
“But it came from my heart!” he quipped, and we agree. That’s all you need to keep a marriage going - plus, according to Pierre, a backrub or two for when the missus is annoyed with him.
The lovey-dovey couple lets on their secret sauce to a happy marriage, and tells us what they think of “massages in the dark” and, ahem, “intense tickles”. Plus, Andrea gushes over Pierre’s transformation as a badass villain on TV (no kidding!) and puffs up like a proud mama with his recent work achievements.
Read on for more!
Andrea: The things that he still does are his gentlemanly actions – he still bothers to pull out your chair, tuck your chair back when you’re about to sit and even open the car door for you.
Pierre: Plus put the toilet seat down – all that is training okay? You don’t see the number of canes I have at home. It’s not for the dogs but …
Andrea: That’s going to the kinky bit… (chuckles).
When is the longest you’ve stayed angry at each other?
Andrea: There’s never been a big enough quarrel that lasts over two days; there’s no such thing as a cold war. We’ve learnt that before you go to bed, whatever issue you have to sort out, you sort out before your head touches the pillow. You can do so much more with your life than be angry or upset with someone.
Pierre: We can’t stay angry with each other for too long ‘cos I’d end up doing something silly unintentionally and she’d burst out laughing. The more nervous I am, the more I try to say sorry, the more I slip up. What I’d normally do is just reach out to her (when we’re lying on bed) and rub her back ‘cos that’s what always puts her to sleep.
Previously you guys spoke about wanting to adopt, how are things coming along for that?
Andrea: Well… the trend recently is to adopt dogs (laughs) - all the dogs that people don’t want, abandon or ill-treat. It has become our means of adoption.
Pierre: But in the meantime I think we’ll just leave it to fate - baby, not dog.
Andrea: We’re not gonna say no [to the possibility of adopting children].
What are the perks and perils of marrying an actor – especially one that’s been gaining a lot of fame of late?
Andrea: You know, I really admire him 'cos he gets to live his life vicariously through all the characters he plays. And I’m so envious he gets paired with girls that are so, so young, so fresh and they have so much energy! I’m grateful I’ve been in the industry and I understand what the job requires; it helps me not doubt him and trust him. I wish I was a man in this sort of job (and be able to) hold another woman’s hand everyday (laughs).
Pierre: See, this is what she says here right now… But I must say Andrea’s been really understanding, very supportive. To date, I think the youngest girl I’ve been paired with is Julie Tan. And Andrea would tell me: ‘Aiyo, apply your moisturiser! You have so many wrinkles! You’re being paired up with her!’ My skin regime has been a lot more intense…
So, do you guys do facial masks together at home?
Andrea: Nah. I wished he was a little bit more gung-ho of slapping things on his face.
Pierre: But it’s gotten better over the years, right? It used to be just a bar of soap and clean the whole body in one shot. But now I bother to remove my make-up, wash it thoroughly, cleanse and do whatever steps I have to do.
Andrea: Definitely. And I think he’s been getting roles that are a lot more challenging and it’s bringing him out as an actor. He concentrates on his work and works on his craft. And the amount of homework he puts in, nobody knows except me.
Pierre: There’s this thing that goes on in the house – when I’m on a project, she and the three dogs stay far away from me (grins)… And what’s really surprising is the dogs also know when to leave me alone (laughs)… I’ve yet to ask her (turns to Andrea) Is it that obvious when I’m on a project?
Andrea: Yeah, we know when he needs his own space and when he needs his own time. So don’t trouble him with anything! If you know better… don’t go near him (chuckles),
And… what do you think about him doing more villainous roles of late?
Andrea: Love them! So sexy! I so love this bad guy kind of roles! He’s so good at it, so good at it!
Pierre: Okay… So it is true lah. Girls love bad boys (and the good guys always finish last).
If you’re so crazy over Pierre the bad boy now, what did you see in the goody two-shoes in the beginning?
Andrea: He was tall, dark, handsome and he was broody, y’know?
Pierre: I think you kinda missed it right. When you first met me, I was there..
Andrea: You’re just a boy lah, but now you’re a man.
Your favourite villain role of Pierre’s thus far?
Andrea: I actually liked Hei Long (from The Journey: A Voyage, which he is also nominated for Best Actor award this year) the best so far. I think he did an excellent job with Hei Long. And you know he bothers to get his fingernails dirty, bothers not to cut his nails, bothers to get in character. And if has to remain that way, he remains that way. That’s the role and that’s how they played it that time… To me, it was totally sexy because he took on the role and he did it well.
We were presented this fun 'suggestive' dice inspired from a recent survey done with couples. Based on its options, Pierre, what would you do to appease Andrea when she's mad?
Pierre: I'd give her a... massage (looks to Andrea for approval) in the dark.
And what would you do to amplify your romance?
Pierre: I think scent has always been a big part of our lives. There was a time when Andrea had difficulty breathing and we'd always burn rosemary oil. I like it when Andrea showers and I like the smell of a clean body. That's so sexy. So I think, uh, scent of each other.
And what is the least romantic combination on the dice?
Andrea: Intense tickles! I'd definitely not appreciate that. No way!
Pierre: Okay, now I know. But I know that she doesn't like to be tickled or taken by surprise. It's okay if it's a lovely surprise, but if a cicak (lizard in Malay) were to walk in front of her, I tell you... this girl...