Ex-actor Peter Yu: I'm a better father now
Former Channel 8 actor Peter Yu's role in upcoming musical mirrors his own life
Former Channel 8 actor Peter Yu plays a forgiving father in upcoming musical The Search For True Love.
And for the 47-year-old, it's an apt role to take on because it parallels his own life.
Especially when forgiving others and being forgiven by them has been a painful journey for many years.
Yu, who has a 16-year-old daughter Eleanor with his ex-wife, TV host Quan Yifeng, went through a high-profile divorce in 2008 after a tumultuous 10-year marriage.
At the peak of his acting career with MediaCorp, Yu won the Top 10 Most Popular Artistes title at the annual Star Awards in 1997.
In the musical, he plays a father who eventually forgives his rebellious son who takes off with a huge sum of his money.
Speaking to local media at the musical's press conference at Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore in Boat Quay on Wednesday afternoon, he said in a mix of Mandarin and English: "I was also given a second chance to make things right after my wrongdoings in the past.
"I hope Singaporeans will give me another chance by watching me on this set and understand more about love and life as a whole."
Yu, who is currently a taxi-driver, did not want to elaborate on what those wrongs were but his acrimonious divorce has been widely reported.
The musical, which also stars veteran singer Xiahui and radio deejay Wallace Ang, will be held at the Drama Centre Theatre at the National Library on July 26 at 7.30pm.
Yu is now married to sales merchandiser Brenda Leow, 34, and they have a three-year-old son Christian.
Looking back on his failed marriage, Yu said: "In the past, I was ignorant. I didn't know how to be a good father and a good husband. A husband is supposed to be the head of the family and bear full responsibility but I did not fulfil these criteria."
Yu, who was reportedly on bad terms with Quan after their divorce, said they are on amicable terms now.
He declined to speak more about his previous marriage, saying that he made an agreement with Quan not to mention them in the media.
Eleanor has done well in the entertainment business, netting a six-figure sum earlier this year playing the lead role in an Apple commercial in China.
In 2013, it was reported how Eleanor had decided to take on the surname of her godfather, celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee.
When asked how he felt about it, Yu said matter-of-factly: "She (Yifeng) has been taking care of Eleanor so she can make all the decisions. She has full control of everything, I am okay with it. We have our own lives now."
He said he was proud of Eleanor's achievements, and that all he wants is for her to be healthy and happy.
He feels that his failures in the past have made him who he is today.
In 2008, he sank into depression and was addicted to gambling and partying in the two years following his divorce, chalking up an estimated six-figure gambling debt.
He described his life then as a huge mess where he spent whatever he earned and had zero savings.
Yu, who drives his taxi for about 10 hours a day, now pays $600 a month to service his debts.
He revealed that he has also stopped drinking, smoking and partying since he went back to church in 2011.
He said: "I have changed a lot since. In the past, when I took care of my daughter, I would scold her and discipline her as I had a bad temper. I would cry after scolding her as my heart ached.
"Now I don't do that to my son. I am more patient with him and I dote on him."
I hope Singaporeans will give me another chance by watching me on this set and understand more about love and life as a whole.
- Peter Yu
The Search For True Love
July 26, Sunday, 7.30pm
Drama Centre Theatre, National Library
$48, $58, $68, $88, $100, available through hotline 9823-0100