'I still regret it': Ben Yeo on getting married too early in his acting career

He’s been married for 18 years, but local host-actor and F&B business owner Ben Yeo still harbours some regrets about it.

Not about being married to his wife Claudia Cheong, with whom he shares two sons, but how early he tied the knot.

The 45-year-old discussed the matter candidly in a video with fellow actor Desmond Ng in a video uploaded by Mediacorp’s The Celebrity Agency yesterday (May 22).

“When do you want to get married?” Ben asked Desmond.

Desmond, 36, responded: “Last time I felt I want to get married at 27. But I was focused on my career and a decade passed.”

Hinting that he is finally ready, however, Desmond stated that “it’s almost time [to get married]”.

Turning the tables on Ben, Desmond described watching the former on TV “since [he] was young”, noting his “Japanese-influenced style” when he just started out.

“Then suddenly, you announced that you were getting married. Was there a period where you regretted, even a little, getting married so early?” Desmond quizzed.

“Oh, actually it wasn’t just any one period, I still regret it even now,” came Ben’s quick


“I’ve actually spoken to my wife about this, I told her honestly that I regretted getting married so early. Because my career had just started, and I had the image of an ‘idol’.”


Ben started off as a host back in 2002 on Channel U, before making his acting debut in 2005. The next year, he got married to Cheong aged just 28, which came as a shock to everyone.

“Even my boss fell off the chair,” he added.

Ben said that things may have “been better” if he and Cheong hadn’t gotten married so early, but concluded that “what’s done is done, there’s no [point] regretting”.

Keeping to the topic of relationships, Ben also asked Desmond which celebrity he’d date if he were single.

“Zoe Tay. Because she’s like a goddess to me, someone I’ve admired since I was young,” Desmond responded.

And who would Ben pick?

Chantalle Ng, because he likes his women “straightforward”.

“She’s quite a spitfire,” Desmond agreed.


Showbiz or F&B?

Desmond also asked Ben if he would pick showbiz or F&B were he to only have time for one, and Ben picked the latter.

“Because I feel that a showbiz career has an expiry date, so I can’t possibly act my whole life,” he explained. “I’ve acted for 22 years, and I don’t know how long I can continue. But I’ve just started my F&B business, so there’s room to grow.”

Ben, who has dabbled in several F&B ventures over the years, opened his Tan Xiang Charcoal Fish Head Steamboat Restaurant in Toa Payoh in collaboration with celebrity chef Cao Yong last year. They’ve also set up a wet market-themed kopitiam called Tan Xiang Chai Chee most recently in April.

He added: “At least I can leave my business to my kids, I can’t leave my showbiz career to them,” which had Desmond remarking that Ben is a “good father indeed”.




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