Spanish wedding for ex-Little Nyonya star Dai Xiangyu

SINGAPORE - Chinese actor Dai Xiangyu says he is planning a wedding with actress Chen Zihan in Barcelona on Dec 9.

He announced this on his Weibo microblog yesterday (Nov 9) and added: "Want to let the whole world know I'm marrying you (heart emoticon)."

The actor, formerly known as Dai Yangtian, found fame in Singapore with the period epic drama The Little Nyonya (2008).

But he returned to China in 2011 to develop his career there.

Dai, 31, registered his marriage in China in May (2016). Asked about his choice of venue, he tells The Straits Times over the phone from China: "The form of the wedding is a kind of declaration of a man to a woman. I want to keep the reason a secret, but the concept is to find a place close to heaven, close to contentment."

The event will be cosy - with about 60 guests, comprising close friends and family. The couple will hold a larger reception in Beijing on Dec 19.

Dai says he is happy that Chen, 38, agreed to a Spanish wedding because "she has a fear of flights and the farthest she has flown is to Singapore".

The couple have been together for more than a year and worked together on Chinese dramas such as Pearl Earrings, which was filmed last year (2015).

He says: "We've basically not been apart all this time. When I'm filming, she would accompany me, and vice versa. We've built this great understanding between us."

He adds protectively: "I hope she won't take on too many jobs as Chinese projects can really be quite tiring."

The couple are also in the process of starting a production company.

Dai says: "We would only be taking on the role of producers. But if I'm free and the right role comes along, I don't mind acting since that would mean lower production costs."

bchan@sph.com.sg