Pregnant actress Jayley Woo grappled with guilt after finding love again
After her boyfriend, local actor Aloysius Pang, died due to a military training accident in 2019, Jayley Woo believed she would end up alone and never “love or be loved”.
In a telephone interview with The Straits Times on Tuesday, the 30-year-old local actress admits that she was depressed for a long time after his death at the age of 28. They had been dating for several years at the time.
She says: “I felt like maybe I was cursed, and that’s why my partner died. For a while, I blamed myself. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of love. My parents told me I had to stop thinking that way because that negativity wasn’t affecting just me, but people around me too. So I tried my best to work on myself and my mental health.”
Fortunately, things have changed, with Woo finding space in her heart for love. In a surprise announcement on Sunday, she revealed on social media that she is engaged and six months’ pregnant with a baby girl.
Her fiance, whose name was given only as Mr Tan, is in his late 20s and works behind the scenes in show business. They were introduced by local actress Julie Tan and have been dating for over a year.
By then, Woo was in a better emotional state, but still felt hesitant about starting a new relationship.
“I did feel guilty. But my friends and family were so supportive and encouraged me to be open-minded and give it a chance,” she says.
When asked if she found it quick to get engaged after only a year of dating, Woo says: “I am quite sure about him. It’s just a feeling. After what had happened, I didn’t think I was going to settle down. But when he came along, I thought, ‘Maybe it’s not the end. Maybe I won’t end up alone with no one to love and no one to love me.’”
When asked what drew the couple together, Woo says Mr Tan was attracted to her bravery in dealing with Pang’s death.
She adds: “When I heard that, I was like, ‘I’m brave?’ I guess when everything happened, I had no outlet and I just posted everything on social media. Everything was shown in public, and I think he feels that it was brave of me to go through what happened in such a public way.
“A lot of people saw my (engagement and pregnancy) announcement and called it brave too. But, to me, I was just doing a normal human thing of sharing my news. It’s just life.”
While Woo is known for posting tributes to Pang on occasions such as his birthday and death anniversary, she has taken down most of her posts and archived Instagram Stories about him.
She says: “My fiance doesn’t mind, but I took them down out of respect for him. I don’t think I have to show the public that I still remember – I will always, always remember (Pang). He is a big piece of my heart.”
The couple plan to register their marriage on Dec 27 – which is Woo’s birthday – in a simple ceremony, where they expect to have fewer than 20 people in attendance. They also hope to hold their wedding in 2023, after their child is born.
“We did plan to have a baby fairly soon after getting married because we don’t want to have a child too late in life. But we didn’t expect it to happen so soon,” she says.
Woo says her fiance proposed to her in the first half of this year, and she discovered that she was expecting soon after. The mother-to-be is excited.
“I always talk to the baby and tell her how I cannot wait to see her. We play music for her – classical music and K-pop too. I’m a fan of BTS, so I play her their songs. Who knows? Maybe she’s already an Army,” she says with a laugh, referring to the moniker given to fans of the K-pop boy band.
As a twin – the other half of the pair is local actress Hayley Woo – she harboured some hope that she would have twins too.
“I asked my gynaecologist multiple times, ‘Is it twins?’ But the scan shows just a single baby girl,” she says. “My fiance wants as many kids as possible, but I don’t think I can handle so many. Perhaps two? I would want my children to have siblings.”
Her due date is expected to be early next year, and she hopes the baby will arrive after Chinese New Year in January, in the Year of the Rabbit. “I’d like to have a bunny baby,” she says.
As she heads into a new phase of her life, Woo says: “I’m feeling very blissful. Everything just fell into place. At this stage of life, I’m very happy with everything that I have and am about to have.”
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