Mediacorp stars Ian Fang and Carrie Wong have landed themselves in hot water following the leak of explicit private messages between them on social media platform Instagram.
These messages included coarse language suggesting a relationship of a physical nature between the two, who are said to be dating other people.
In one of the leaked screenshots of their conversation, which was almost entirely in Chinese, Fang, 29, suggests that he will "plant strawberries" on Wong - a slang term in the Chinese language referring to love bites. In another, he suggests that they kiss.
Fang also says in one of their exchanges that he feels comfortable sleeping with the 25-year-old actress and can fall asleep easily with her, to which she agrees. He then says he is looking forward to their next encounter.
In an online video of the messages, the two stars also criticise her co-star in upcoming Channel 8 production My One In A Million - actor Lawrence Wong, 36, who shot to fame last year with his role as Hai Lan Cha in hit Chinese drama The Story Of Yanxi Palace. He was tapped to replace Aloysius Pang's lead role in My One In A Million following Pang's death from a military training accident earlier this year.
Carrie Wong asks: "How can (Lawrence Wong) even compare to Aloysius?"
And Fang says: "You have to win him and let him know that we don't rely on connections, looks or luck."
Lawrence Wong seems to have hit back at the criticisms. On Tuesday, he posted an excerpt of his interview with magazine 8 Days on Instagram about his struggle from "the lowest level" to become an actor.
He did not name names but added: "During the interview, I didn't realise I gave the perfect answer to all the naysayers who think that my achievements are due to 'good looks', 'connections' or just simply 'luck'."
Chinese paper Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday that Carrie Wong has apologised to Lawrence Wong directly. He was quoted as saying: "She was very calm when she apologised to me. I'm thankful that she said sorry so graciously."
The leaked exchanges also show the two stars grieving for Pang, with Fang consoling Carrie Wong at one point.
It is not known how the messages were leaked, but the two stars, who are both managed by Mediacorp's artist management arm, The Celebrity Agency, have confirmed that they are genuine. They say that the messages were sent in jest and not meant to be taken seriously.
They also clarified that they are not in a relationship.
Carrie Wong is currently in a relationship with Boris Lin, reportedly a model from Taiwan. Fang is rumoured to be dating fellow Mediacorp actress Rebecca Lim, 32.
In a statement sent in Chinese, Fang apologised and said: "Carrie and I are good friends who talk about everything. I acknowledge that our language was vulgar and inappropriate. I apologise for our conduct. I am sorry to those who saw the exchanges. As a public figure, I will be much more careful in my behaviour going forward."
Similarly, Wong said: "Ian and I have been friends for many years and we often do not filter or think through the words we use with each other. The distasteful language we used in our conversations has caused everyone unnecessary worry and harm and I am regretful."
She also apologised to her boyfriend, though she did not mention him by name: "I am thankful for my boyfriend's trust and offer my sincerest apologies to everyone."
The head of The Celebrity Agency, Ms Ivy Low, said the stars' conversation was "distasteful and inappropriate" but noted that it was a "private exchange conducted in jest".
Ms Low said: "The parties involved are deeply embarrassed and have no doubt taken away many lessons from this unfortunate incident. We expect our artists, being public figures, to conduct themselves professionally and appropriately at all times."
Fang was one of the Eight Dukes of Caldecott Hill - a term referring to the eight most promising young Mediacorp actors in the early 2010s. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at this year's Star Awards.
Wong was discovered on Channel U's talent scouting programme Hey Gorgeous in 2013. She has won the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artist at the Star Awards for five years running, including this year.
The two are currently starring in the Channel 8 drama Hello, Miss Driver as siblings.