The Life List: Top 10 most-read Asian entertainment stories of 2019

(Clockwise from top left) Taiwan-born Canadian model-actor Godfrey Gao, former Big Bang member Seungri, former member of girl group f(x) Sulli, local actor Aloysius Pang, Korean actor Song Joong-Ki and Korean actress Song Hye-Kyo. PHOTOS: AP, REUTERS, ALOYSIUS/FACEBOOK, VIU

SINGAPORE - Death and scandal dominated Asian entertainment news in 2019, with the sudden deaths of young celebrities among the best-read stories this year

While there was good news this year in the form of Taiwanese supermodel Chiling Lin's marriage and wedding to Japanese band Exile member Akira, readers tuned in more to stories about marrital break-downs or sex scandals.

Here are the top 10 best-read entertainment stories of 2019 compiled by The Straits Times:

10. Louis Koo's 'engagement' to Jessica Hsuan

Hong Kong actor and bachelor Louis Koo sent excitement rippling through social media when he said at the end of a video broadcast at Hong Kong singer Kay Tse's concert that he has just gotten engaged. The 49-year-old's fans speculated that he was getting married to his friend and fellow Hong Kong actress Jessica Hsuan, who is also 49.

Koo's manager later clarified that Koo was merely playing a role in the video and was not actually getting engaged. But it did not stop fans from commenting that Koo and Hsuan made for a lovely couple.

9. Vivian Lai speaks up about husband's woes with Pokka

In August, Mediacorp actress and host Vivian Lai spoke up in public for the first time about the immense pressure she was under after her husband Alain Ong - formerly a chief executive at beverage company Pokka - was removed from his job last year.

News broke this year that Pokka is suing Mr Ong. The drink maker alleged that Mr Ong was part of a conspiracy that caused the company to suffer at least $10 million in losses.

8. Zoe Tay and her son's PSLE

The queen of local television Zoe Tay recently walked her second son Ashton past the hurdle of the nationwide examinations. The mother of three brewed herbal soup for her son and monitored his work at night after she finished filming.

She was not the only celebrity parent to make the news. Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie accompanied her son Maddox to his first day of school at Seoul's Yonsei University and was heard in a video of the trip saying, "I'm trying not to cry."

7. 'Sorry Sammi': Andy Hui cheats on Sammi Cheng

Cantopop's golden couple Sammi Cheng and Andy Hui this year faced their biggest crisis since tying the knot in 2014. Hui was caught on camera kissing and canoodling with TVB actress Jacqueline Wong in the back of a taxi and had to admit to the affair and apologise to his wife in a teary press conference.

Wong's career screeched to a halt and she fled to the United States to avoid the public scrutiny and criticism. She has also reportedly split with her TVB actor boyfriend Kenneth Ma. Cheng has since forgiven her husband.

6. Film with 13-year-old actress in sex scenes yanked out of cinemas in Vietnam

Vietnamese film The Third Wife was well-received overseas but ran into trouble at home in Vietnam, with audiences shocked that actress Nguyen Phuong Tra My, who had sex scenes in the movie, was only 13 when she shot the film.

The movie was withdrawn from the screens in Vietnam.

5. Aloysius Pang dies in a military training accident

Local actor Aloysius Pang died at the age of 28 after he was seriously injured in a live-firing exercise in New Zealand early this year. The actor's romance with actress Jayley Woo was made public after this death, which sparked widespread grief in Singapore. Two soldiers were fined for their roles in Pang's death.

The deaths of fellow local celebrities like veteran Bai Yan and actress Lin Li Yun this year also made the news while messages of condolences poured in for home-grown English-language drama Growing Up (1996-2002) actress Irin Gan, whose partner died earlier this year.

4. Song-Song divorce

The fairytale of South Korean entertainment power couple Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong-ki did not end in happily after, as the couple announced their divorce this year. The Song-Song couple, as they were known, met and fell in love on the set of 2016 drama Descendants Of The Sun. They married the next year, in an intimate outdoor ceremony. But not even two years later, the couple called it quits, citing "differences in personality".

3. K-pop suicides

Sulli, a former member of girl group f(x) was found dead in her home in South Korea on Oct 14, due to what is widely believed to be a suicide. The star, who was the subject of much online bullying, was 25. Six weeks later, one of Sulli's close friends and former Kara member Goo Hara was also found dead at home due to a suspected suicide. She was 28. Both stars were reportedly battling mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Young actor Cha In-ha, 27, was also found dead at home in December - the cause of death is still under investigation.

2. K-pop sex scandal

Former Big Bang member Seungri had to retire from the entertainment industry this year after he was mired in a K-pop scandal that has since snowballed to involve claims of drugs, sexual crimes, prostitution, bribery and more.

Seungri made the news when he was allegedly one of the recipients of sex videos of women taken by singer Jung Joon-young. Jung, who has also quit entertainment, admitted to taking sex videos of women without their consent.

Jung was also recently sentenced to jail for his part in a gang rape alongside fellow K-pop star Choi Jong-hoon.

1. Godfrey Gao collapses and dies during variety show filming

Taiwan-born Canadian model-actor Godfrey Gao, 35, died in November after he collapsed suddenly while filming Chinese variety series Chase Me in Zhejiang in eastern China.

An outpouring of grief and shock ensued after news of his death broke as the actor looked to be in perfect health. He was also well-loved in the industry, with many celebrities and industry insiders sharing stories of Gao's good manners, kindness and professionalism.

His death highlighted the issue of safety on sets, and the show Chase Me came under much scrutiny for its difficult challenges and punishing filming schedule.

The death seemed even sadder as Gao, who had been dating 23-year-old Bella Su, had reportedly planned to propose to his girlfriend at a dinner that was to be held just a day after his death.

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