Alex Fong (方力申) and Stephy Tang (鄧麗欣) have ended their 10-year relationship. In a lengthy statement released by Stephy, the former Cookies star said she and Alex drifted apart naturally, separating because they “understand each other too well.” She stressed that the breakup was a mutual decision, and that a third party was not involved.
Alex and Stephy’s split devastated many fans. Ever since the release of their hit duet “Love Earnestly” <好好戀愛> in 2004, Alex and Stephy have attracted a strong following of shippers, and their continuous collaborations in the next few years solidified them as one of Hong Kong’s most popular on-screen couples. When it was revealed that they were actually a real-life couple in 2010, fans rejoiced.
Everyone was taken aback when the couple announced that they have decided to go on their separate ways a few days ago. Many celebrities have also expressed their shock at the split, such as Andy Hui (許志安) and Leila Tong (唐寧). However, when one digs deeper into their relationship and consider their attitudes toward marriage, it shouldn’t come to a surprise at why the couple decided to call things off.
Stephy, who was raised by a single parent, has expressed her fear towards marriage and commitment in the past. Last December, roughly around the time when both Stephy and Alex were in their “cold period”, Stephy said in an interview, “There’d be rumors about us getting married every year, but I feel that even if it was true, we shouldn’t get married on the day everyone’s talking about.”
In that same interview, Stephy talked about the pressure she had to endure after publicly confirming their relationship. “Many people see us as the main heroes of a romantic fairytale. If something happened to us, they would stop believing in love. That just puts more stress on us. That means we have a responsibility to everyone.”
Stephy then expressed that she has a fear towards marriage, and the consequences that come with a union. In the interview, she hinted that she and Alex were in a cold stage in their relationship.
“What is marriage? What is the significance of marriage? I’ve always been afraid of trapping myself in marriage chains. To know that the two of you would be tied together forever. You know you shouldn’t think this way, but you would unknowingly try to get yourself out of those restraints, and that gives you a lot of pressure. Or maybe, it really is because your relationship is no longer as simple as it was before.”
While shooting the TVB program Celebrity Honeymooners <蜜月到訪> last year, MC Wong Cho-lam (王祖藍) asked Alex and Stephy when they plan to tie the knot officially. The couple said they never talked about marriage with each other before.
“A woman’s career is very important… don’t give up!” said Alex. Stephy then said that the only time she would consider marriage is if she had kids. “Why get married? It’s not like your relationship would just improve after.”
But marriage has always been on the back of Alex’s mind. The actor-singer has implied in a different interview that it was Stephy who was the one who didn’t want to get married. “Don’t push the blame towards me!” said Alex when asked why he didn’t pop the question to Stephy yet. “Maybe it’s because she’s unsure yet, or maybe it’s because I haven’t done well enough.”
Reportedly, Alex did consider popping the question, and even discussed about how he should do it with his friends, but because Stephy showed literally no interest in getting married, Alex decided to leave it be.
On social media, Alex would occasionally post photos of him with Stephy, but on Stephy’s Instagram, she seldom post pictures of Alex unless it was for a promotion event.
Alex Fong Officially Responds to Breakup
When Alex and Stephy’s agency announced their split on March 17, only Stephy responded to the announcement with a statement of her own. Alex remained quiet. But on the following day, Alex decided that it was finally his time to share his thoughts.
Alex said when he first read the agency’s statement on his phone, his hands were shaking. Like Stephy, he stressed that the split was a mutual decision. Their growing differences was already apparent to them when they promoted their film, Anniversary <紀念日>, last year. At the time, they agreed on a “cooling off” period for three months.
“We didn’t want malevolent people to think we were using breakup rumors to promote the film,” said Alex. “We value our relationship and we wanted to make it work, so that’s why we decided to have a cooling off period. Occasionally we would meet up with each other. Sometimes we talked until we cried. When we hit our 10-year anniversary, we decided that it was best to break things off. It was a peaceful split. Us splitting had nothing to do with marriage. It took us over a week to make this decision.”
Alex added that he has no problem working with Stephy again; although they are no longer together romantically, they remain as close partners in work. He did not tell his parents about their failing relationship until after the breakup. Stephy sent him a text afterwards, “I’m sorry that you have to face this yourself.”
Alex and Stephy’s film, Anniversary, is directed by Patrick Kong (葉念琛), celebrating his 10 years in filmmaking. The movie follows Alex and Stephy, a jaded couple married for 10 years, who have lost their spark in their marriage. They end up cheating on each other, even threatening divorce. However, the movie ends with their reconciliation.
Asking if Anniversary was the fire that fueled their decision to breakup, Alex said, “We had our worries at first.” After a moment of thought, Alex said, “Maybe.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.