The model and her man

Amber Chia and Adrian Wong didn’t have a chance of keeping their March 25 wedding a secret – the news leaked within 24 hours.

SIX months ago, Amber Chia sat down to compile her guest list for her wedding.

“I was shocked to have 2,000 names! I managed to shrink the list down to 1,200 which was also too many. In the end I gave up and decided to run away to Bali for my wedding,” explains Malaysia’s supermodel and worldwide winner of the Guess Watches Timeless Beauty Contest held in Basel in 2004.

Only 40 relatives and friends attended the wedding.

Amber is looking positively radiant despite having no make-up on as she and her new husband arrive at Concorde KL’s Melting Pot Café. Both are clad in fashionable, sporty attire and look like any newly-married couple. She had just finished modelling for Kavita’s inaugural resortwear collection at Stylo’s Fashion’s Tribute to OneMalaysia at Wisma HGH in Sentul and hurriedly fled the event to avoid the media.

“I didn’t attend the show as Amber can now model for me at home for free,” grins Adrian Wong, then adds seriously: “This is the last time I am ever giving an interview as I will tell everything and refer this article to other journalists requiring information!”

Like all celebrity weddings, it is either a media circus or closed-door affair. Sighs Adrian: “I was hoping for a low-profile, private and secret wedding so people wouldn’t know and we could continue with our life as before. I guess that was delusional! Our guests were sworn to secrecy but I think I know who spilled the beans ...”

Amber is now working on a new reality show with the working title The Diary of Amber Chia. “Like all couples, we had our wedding recorded for our own private keepsake, not intended for any programme or public viewing. But now some have suggested we should consider playing it on the show as we had recorded the entire wedding reality-style, showing us and our guests waking up, eating, relaxing, dressing up, rehearsing for the wedding and the nuptials itself.”

Wouldn’t it have been better to let it be known they were an item when they started dating a year and half ago?

“No one knew we were BF and GF when we were dating seriously. I was involved in her projects including Ford Supermodel Search so people assumed I was her working colleague or business partner or manager as I was seen picking her up and sending her everywhere. No one suspected anything more. I didn’t mind when other men tried to hit on her. The more Amber is chased, the more value she has!”

This opens the door to the sensitive topic of her purported link to a Tan Sri banker – she was said to be either his mistress or wife.

Amber laughs loudly. “I heard this rumour but I don’t know how it ever got started! I know this Tan Sri as I did some work for the bank years ago but we only met at the bank’s functions. I respect him highly for his accomplishments but don’t you think he is a bit too old for me?” asks the 29-year-old.

How they met

Amber met Adrian, 36, some six years ago when she auditioned for a job for his entertainment company Absolute Entertainment which specialised in bringing international acts like the Pussycat Dolls and Andy Lau. Adrian has since moved into property development.

“When I saw him, it was not love at first sight. I treated him like my boss,” says Amber.

“Now she acts like the boss!” Adrian interjects.

Adrian was separated from his first wife when they met and did not keep in contact with Amber. They crossed paths two or three times a year, usually at fashion events, shows or parties. Two years ago, their relationship turned serious and Amber asked Adrian to be her de facto manager.

Love bloomed for both of them very slowly. When asked what attracted him to her, Adrian says anxiously: “Oh I better listen carefully to this!”

“He makes me laugh, which is important. He also bullies and teases me all the time so I am surprised I continue to love him! It has been a slow process for me but now I think he is so handsome. Then again, when you fall in love, no matter how ugly he is, you will think he is good-looking! This is the power of love! He is the best even if he is the worst!” she says.

Adrian prefers to describe what he “dislikes” about Amber! “I dislike her being in the limelight, being recognised wherever she goes and being stopped for photos and autographs. For being a celebrity. I love Amber Chia because she is Amber Chia. If she was not well-known, I would still have fallen in love with her.”

He continues: “Before I met her, I read her fans’ blogs. Many were ga-ga over her. A few said she is not conventionally pretty but is okay lah. Others declared she has great sex appeal. When I met her, I wondered what the fuss was all about as I didn’t find her spectacular. She was so down-to-earth but now I think she is the most beautiful person. As we got to know each other better, I found her to be good natured, easy going, always laughing and in a good mood. She is for real and I am so relaxed when with her.”

As he was previously married with two children, he was determined this time it would be forever. “Amber is the one I want to grow old with,” he says simply.

Amber nods: “When I met him, I was single and he was single. We were just two people who fell madly in love. Whatever happened in the past is history and doesn’t affect me. As for his previous marriage and children, I have no comment. I had a boyfriend before but by the time we met, we were both single and available.”

The wedding

Amber proudly shows off her two-carat diamond ring. “I gave him a Bvlgari gold ring in exchange.”

As the ring cost around RM2,000 and her diamond solitaire is worth RM50,000, she has invested wisely. But she points out: “Adrian also has all of me, which is worth a lot, I am sure!”

“I have learned a lot from Amber, not about work but about her compassionate view of life, her philosophy about helping the less fortunate as she grew up so poor and everything there is to know about modelling!” smiles Adrian.

Amber and Adrian come from very different backgrounds. She left school after Form Five due to financial problems. He left his hometown of Kuala Lumpur aged 13 and went to Australia where he stayed for 10 years. He studied at the posh and upmarket Geelong Grammar School and Melbourne University where he graduated in Commerce.

Adrian chose March 25 as their wedding day which is also his birthday. Both are cagey when it comes to the actual proposal.

For the first time in the interview, Adrian seems unsure and looks warily at his new bride. Finally Amber confesses: “I ruined everything for him. We were in our suite at Diwangkara Holiday Villa in Bali but before he could say anything, I saw the ring, snatched it from him and shouted: ‘Is this for me? I love it! Yes, I want to marry you!’”

“Well, she had tears in her eyes so it worked out well in the end. We stayed awake till dawn so it was one unforgettable night of romance!” grins Adrian.

Amber adds: “Since the proposal was made in Bali, our wedding had to be there too. I love Bali and dreamed of getting married there since the first time I visited this Island of the gods. It is so romantic.”

Diwangkara Holiday Villa on Sanur beach is Malaysian-owned. Its manager Husni is from Kuala Lumpur and used to be a model. “The theme was ‘A White Wedding’ so I decided to dye my hair white but it came out blonde! Now I will leave my hair alone,” says Adrian.

For her wedding, Amber wore four couture gowns by Alvin Tay, and three by Keith Kee who crafted the spectacular bridal gown with 999 pearls from Rafflesia the Pearl Centre owned by socialite couple Winnie Sin and Sin Cheang Loong.

The groom’s lightweight linen suit and his parents’ outfits were also designed by Kee.

Tay created the Orient-inspired garments for the tea ceremony held in Diwangkara before the Western-style nuptials officiated by a local officer.

Though the couple holidayed in Bali, they have planned a honeymoon in New York, Las Vegas or Australia where Adrian has a house on Queenland’s Gold Coast.

On starting a family, Amber says: “I wish to be a mother before I am 30. Ideally I would like to have a son and daughter. Life is so good now, coming home to each other.”

Adrian is relocating to Melbourne where he is a developer. He travels between Melbourne, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.

Says Amber: “We will continue to pursue our own careers until the baby comes. If I have work in KL, I will be here though he may be in Melbourne. We have total trust in each other.”