After divorce, she goes straight to
When Erra Fazira officially ended her seven-year marriage on Feb 18 in court, she allowed herself only 10 minutes of grief.
The Malaysian actress-singer-host then told herself to snap out of it, put on a smile and headed straight to work, where she filmed an episode of talk show Primadona.
Erra, 40, told The New Paper in a phone interview from Kuala Lumpur that she had "no choice".
"I won't deny it was tough. So much happened in just one day and I was so tired. I stared into space for those 10 minutes, thinking to myself, 'What just happened?'. Then I said, 'All right that's it, time to move on'," Erra recalled.
Rumours of her rocky union with media businessman Engku Emran Engku Zainal Abidin had made the rounds in recent years, sparking speculation they were on the verge of divorcing.
The 39-year-old, whom she married in 2007, is her second husband after singer-film director Yusry Abdul Halim of popular Malaysian singing trio KRU.
The couple had been living apart for 1½ years. Engku Emran was granted custody of their only child, Engku Aleesya, five. Despite the blow, Erra refuses to let her emotions show.
Her career is her main focus - and distraction - now.
"I have responsibilities towards my mother and daughter. Besides, I wasn't born rich so I just have to work and work until I can't. Of course I am sad, but I can't show that I am weak. If I allow myself to be overwhelmed by my emotions, I will get nowhere," said Erra, whose career kicked off after she won the Miss Malaysia World title in 1992.
She made her breakthrough in the film industry in 1994 with a lead role in iconic romance film Sembilu, opposite Malaysian singer-actress Ziana Zain and Malaysian singer-actor Awie.
Incidentally, she will reprise her role as Wati, the love interest of rock star Awie (played by Awie) in a musical theatre production, Suara Kita, in Kuala Lumpur.
It will reunite Erra with her co-stars Awie and Ziana for the first time in nearly two decades.
The trio will bring to life their much-loved characters from other iconic films from the golden age of Malaysian cinema in the 90s like Sembilu 2 (1995), Tragedi Oktober (1996), Merah (1997) and Maria Mariana 2 (1998).
When asked if she had any reservations in saying yes to the project, especially since she will share the stage with ex-fiance Awie, Erra said no.
"As long as all parties have no objections, there is no problem. Besides, my career took off with Sembilu. It was the crowning glory of my acting career so it is exciting to be able to revisit it," said Erra, who is in the running for Best Film Actress and Best Female TV Host at this year's Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian.
The Malaysian awards ceremony will take place on April 6.
WHAT: KONSERT TEATERIKAL SUARA KITA
WHEN: MARCH 3 TO 9, 8.30PM
WHERE: PANGGUNG SARI, ISTANA BUDAYA, KUALA LUMPUR
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'There were nerves when we met again'
I have responsibilities towards my mother and daughter. Besides, I wasn't born rich so I just have to work and work until I can't. Of course I am sad but I can't show that I am weak. If I allow myself to be overwhelmed by my own emotions, I will get nowhere.
- Erra Fazira
WHEN Awie had to approach Erra Fazira and Ziana Zain with his idea for Suara Kita, he used the word "menggigil" (to shiver in Malay) to describe how he felt.
It has been nearly 20 years since they last shared screen time.
It has also been 16 years since he last spoke to Erra - the year they called off their engagement after a serious six-year relationship.
The pair, who started out as friends, grew closer on the set of Sembilu, where they played love interests.
It was not long before reel life became real life, until they ended their engagement in 1998.
Now, the ex-lovers will once again fall in love - on stage, at least.
Was it awkward rehearsing for the production?
Awie, 45, chuckled before telling The New Paper over the phone from Kuala Lumpur: "The first time we had a love scene, I had to touch her cheek. I thought, 'How do I do this?'. I was shaking. I can't lie - after being together for six years, of course there were nerves when we met again. But things are different now and it's strictly professional."
Naturally, Awie's wife of nine years and co-director of their company Awie Entertainment, Rozana Misbun, had her reservations about the project.
According to him, Rozana - who has three children with Awie - had asked him: "Are you sure about this?"
Awie recalled: "She asked me to promise her many things. I understood her concerns as a wife. At one point, the country was shaken up by my relationship with Erra and my wife read all about that. She also watched the films. But I assured her it's just business and sought her blessings."
Rozana then told him to "behave".
He said he continued to reassure her: "We're lovers only on stage. Once the production ends, it's over."
Besides, director Erma Fatima has made sure there will be no overly-intimate scenes or hugging between the two to avoid controversy in light of Erra's recent divorce.
The 45-year-old award-winning actress-director said in a Kosmo article: "At first, I had plans to add the intimate scenes as played out in the film but after a discussion, Erra requested to leave them out and I respect her wishes. I don't want to smear her name or create controversy."
Awie, who recently learnt of his ex-fiancee's divorce, admitted that he was surprised at the turn of events but said that he has not reached out to her on a personal level.
"When you see Erra, you can tell she is sad but she conceals it well. I know she is strong enough to face her problems and that she can put them aside when it comes to work. We don't talk about her problems, I don't want to get involved unless she approaches me for advice, which I will readily share. We've been engaged before, so why not? Just as friends," he said.
ERRA FAZIRA'S LOVE LIFE: A TIMELINE
1992: The year love blossoms between Erra and Awie.
1994: Erra and Awie star as love interests in movie Sembilu.
1996: Erra gets engaged to Awie.
1998: Erra calls off her engagement to Awie due to a reported third party.
2001: Erra is rumoured to be dating Yusry Abdul Halim of Malaysian trio KRU.
2003: Erra and Yusry tie the knot in June, three months after their engagement.
2006: Yusry and Erra divorce after living apart for a year.
2007: Erra marries then Suria FM CEO Engku Emran Engku Zainal Abidin.
2014: Erra and Engku Emran divorce. He wins custody of their five-year-old daughter, Engku Aleesya.