An entertainment career is sustained mostly by market demand. Celebrities are always on full alert, knowing very well that a small misstep can put an end to everything they had worked for. Joel Chan (陳山聰) certainly got a taste of this terror when he flirted with danger and was thrown to rock bottom. Away from the limelight for the past six months, he dedicated the time to self improvement and is now ready to make a return. Opening up about his personal life for the first time since his hiatus, Joel shares the lessons learned and how the darker times forced him to change for the better.
Although he was appreciated for his acting talent, Joel is mainly known for his whirlwind romance with heiress Florinda Ho (何超雲). Their relationship began shortly after Joel filed for divorce from his former wife Ponny Yeung (楊渡萍) in 2011, and immediately prompted cheating speculations and massive backlash.
Without a care about his worsening reputation, Joel and Florinda dated on and off for two and a half years amidst accusations that he was only wooing her for her money. Joel was also on bad terms with TVB after repeatedly skipping jobs and taking time off to be with his girlfriend. His nonchalant behavior and unprofessional attitude angered his company and eventually isolated him from his old social circle, including friends Christine Ng (伍詠薇) and Sharon Chan (陳敏之).
When the couple finally broke up in May of 2013, Joel became a laughingstock and few expected his career to survive this embarrassment. He returned to his modest flat and spent his days hiding at home, afraid of running into paparazzi. Guilty about the impact his actions had on his family, Joel felt helpless and was trapped in a dark mood. Luckily, he was able to make an important mental breakthrough. “Others may say that Joel Chan is a negative person, but that doesn’t mean that Joel Chan is negative in real life. I made mistakes, but I have reflected on my past and have let it go. Now I will only look ahead.”
Making his emotional health top priority, Joel realized that he needed to do whatever it takes to move forward. He picked up running during this time and slowly turned a hobby into an obsession. He goes for his daily jog at 5 a.m. without fail, and continued the habit even after landing an office job. “I worked at my friend’s company for four months. My colleagues were kind, though they refused to go out to lunch with me out of fear of having their pictures taken.”
Although Joel was reportedly “frozen” by TVB, top executive Virginia Lok (樂易玲) remained in contact and is now working to ease him back onto TV screens. She recently offered him a raise and a new three-year contract, paving his comeback with a role in a new series by director Lee Tim Shing (李添勝).
Humbled and more mature, Joel feels that he is ultimately responsible to and for himself and is grateful to be given that rare second chance. “Humans grow from experience. You win some, you lose some. The most important thing is [how I live] my life… I don’t need to prove to the world who Joel Chan is, but I owe myself an explanation. I am very lucky to still have the chance to do the work I love.”
Source: Ming Pao
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