TAIPEI - Actress Yang Hsiu-hui and actor Bai Yun swiftly denied they were dating after Yang shocked the Taiwanese entertainment industry with a Facebook photo.
On Sunday night (May 15), the 57-year-old posted a photo of her with Bai Yun, 51, with the caption: "We are together. Let's congratulate us."
Yang was baring her belly in the photo, while Bai Yun, whose real name is Li Kuo-hung, looked distraught while holding her hand behind her back.
The photo trended rapidly on social media, with the post drawing more than 124,000 likes and more than 9,600 comments in less than a day.
While several celebrities and netizens congratulated the "couple", others wondered if it was true due to Bai Yun's expression.
Some even speculated if Yang was hinting at a pregnancy.
Yang and Bai Yun, who are known to be good friends, did not reply to queries from the Taiwanese media which approached them for confirmation.
The two celebrities then held a live-streaming session on Yang's Facebook on Monday morning, with the caption: "After a night of deliberation, it's better for us to remain as ordinary friends."
They apologised for the "love declaration" and said it was a joke.
They explained they were drinking on Sunday night when Yang suggested taking a photo together and posting it on social media.
Bai Yun asked Yang if she had thought carefully before posting the photo, but she said there should be no problem.
They did not expect the huge reaction. Yang said: "I couldn't sleep as I regretted it."
They received many calls from their friends after the post. Yang said she hoped their clarification would calm things down.
Their live stream attracted more than 16,000 views in half an hour and had been viewed more than 38,000 times as of Monday afternoon.
Yang, who is single, has been in the entertainment industry since the early 1980s.
She was initially a Taiwanese opera actress before making guest appearances on variety shows and acting in television serials such as Love Above All (2008 to 2009) and Fighting Meiling (2016).
Bai Yun joined the industry in the early 2000s and featured in variety shows such as Everybody Speaks Nonsense (2004 to 2007) and Celebrity Imitated Show (2007 to 2012) - TV sketch shows which parodied Taiwanese politicians and celebrities.
He divorced in 2004 after an eight-year marriage.