Joe Ma and Karen Cheung’s 30-Year Romance

By on February 14, 2013 in NEWS, Star Interviews


For a lasting marriage, the formula goes: 10 years of insistence, 20 years of tolerance and 30 years of understanding and this seems to be the winning formula used by Joe Ma (馬德鐘) and his wife, Karen Cheung (張筱蘭) who, after all these years, have managed to keep the romance alive in their 20 years of marriage.

Joe has known Karen for more than 30 years, beginning their budding love romance when they were merely teenagers. Not only has their love for each other not wavered, it has grown stronger than ever. The passionate couple’s public display of love for each other is often captured on camera. Apparently, not one to shy away from talk of his marriage, Joe even boldly proclaimed he has the best wife in the world. He added, “Karen is like a part of my body. I cannot do without her! If she is not there to help me manage the household and take care of our son, I won’t be able to concentrate on my career.”

Despite working through most festivals and holidays, the ardent Joe is never sloppy when it comes to planning the most memorable Valentine’s Day for Karen. A few Valentine’s Day ago, while the couple was holidaying in Southeast Asia, Joe arranged for a helicopter to chauffeur Karen to a secluded island. On the island, Joe flew in a chef, a band and several wait staff to serve up the most romantic meal to the couple.

20th Wedding Anniversary

This year will mark the platinum wedding anniversary for the loving couple. Friends have suggested throwing a party to celebrate this milestone in their marriage. However, Joe slyly claimed that he will be busy filming the sequel of Tiger Cubs <飛虎2> in June and has no plans yet. Chances are, the romantic Joe may already have an idea up his sleeves!

First 10 Years of Insistence, 20 Years of Tolerance

Only a weathered love can stand the test of time and last more than 10 years. Karen admitted that their love was not as easy in the beginning, when it was tested by the realities of life. Karen said, “From knowing each other to exchanging wedding vows, we have shared more than 10 years together. In our initial years of marriage, Joe was just beginning his career in the entertainment industry and we had to struggle to make ends meet. Even my mother also questioned my choice then but I had confidence and insisted on treading on. And I have proven that I made the right choice.”

Though the couple suffered more setbacks after that, nothing could break their strong bond created in those first few years. Karen said, “We have indeed gone through some hitches and unhappiness in our marriage, but those are already in the past. Nothing was worse than the beginning. If not for Joe’s encouragement and support, I would not be able to study and do my research at the same time.” Karen had formerly taught at Hong Kong University.

It has not been Joe’s good looks or tall physique that Karen is most attracted to. She was won over by Joe’s filial piety. Like Joe, Karen believes a family that eats together, stays together and so it is the couple’s wish to stay under the same roof as Joe’s parents and siblings.

30 Years of Understanding

Having spent more than a quarter century together, Joe and Karen have a tacit understanding, especially when it comes to their son, Ma Zaixiang (馬在驤). While Karen is in charge of their son’s education, Joe takes care of the other aspects of his son’s development, such as teaching him sports as well as introducing him to music. With such an arrangement, there has never been any conflict when it comes to bringing up their son together.

Source: Ming Pao

This article is written by Karen for

13 comments to Joe Ma and Karen Cheung’s 30-Year Romance

  1. onearth says:

    wow, that is really a long long time for a celeb couple who i didn’t think is that old. he still looks pretty fit and havent aged much it seems…

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  2. Jen says:

    Thought he cheated on her several times

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    • sandcherry replied:

      Karen must be a super “tough” and considerate wife. Not many women can stand their husbands cheating.

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  3. Maci says:

    “I cannot do without her!” is a weird wording.
    More like “I cannot function without her.” no?

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    • pandamao replied:

      i think do sounds appropriate though function sounds better

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  4. Lucia says:

    They are a beautiful couple and I hope they will cherish each other and Joe will be faithful to her forever.

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  5. Tvbmaniac says:

    Both of them match each other really well ! Good looking couple. 30 yrs in a r/ship is such rare occasion. May their marriage lasts forever !

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  6. MT says:

    I wonder if the tolerance would be reciprocated if she cheated on him???

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  7. Mazeltov says:

    I used to like him very much, but am totally disgusted after the scandal with Rose Chan.

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  8. Funn Lim says:

    With all the past and constant rumours of his behaviour, whether you believe it or not, I suppose how they can reach 30 year marriage is this;

    For the woman, one eye opened and one eye closed as long…

    For the man, wherever you play, always return home.

    Not many woman can be that patient so if the rumours were true and I do believe they are but maybe not as extensive as reported, then she is one woman who is the traditional sort; go play outside but always come home.

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    • onearth replied:

      I believe so. And marriage is not often about LOVE LOVE LOVE as they say in the movies or novels My dad has this friend who used to be really really cute looking compared to his then g/f who was not cute or even have a pleasant personality for the outsiders. They really can not see it but as they say love is blind. They have been together since H.S. days and all the way to their 40’s and he says they are many many bumps along the way but they still didnt divorce as some ppl will do. Some ppl stay together for the kids or for the sake of being married; out of habit or routine. He says some might not want to do it all over again in their older age because they are already comfortable in their current position in life whether its happy or unhappy.
      I find it odd and do not believe that’s a good way to live but everyone has different opinions on the matter i guess.

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  9. Kidd says:

    This marriage prove that if the couple is willing, they can survive even infidelity.

    So, it might be sound to give a chance and not be absolutely firm and insistent to part when cheating happens. It might be worth it to work through the problem.

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    • jayne replied:

      It’s dependent on the cheating partner to reform himself/herself. The matter is why the partner cheated and whether it will happen again or if it is a one-time incident.

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