Everything you need to know about the most wonderful wedding in Taiwanese entertainment
In a wedding ceremony that seems straight out of a fairy tale, Mandopop king Jay Chou finally tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend, model and actress Hannah Quinlivan. From how they met to their grand, exclusive wedding to their plans for the future, Perfect Weddings shares the couple’s love story.
Taiwanese superstar Jay Chou marries his girlfriend of four years on 18 January. Screen capture from JVR Music International.
Jay Chou, who performed in Singapore just this past December, has consistently produced songs that appealed to mainstream sensibilities while maintaining artistic merits, making him one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors – until 18 January that is when he married Hannah Quinlivan in a grand ceremony at Selby Abbey in Yorkshire, UK.
The two first met at fashion store Phantaci, where Hannah was working part-time, and which was co-owned by Chou. Snow, Chou’s choreographer and good friend, takes credit for introducing the couple to each other. And while there was no love at first sight, Chou has said that Hannah nevertheless made an impression on him.
The couple has not spoken much about how their relationship developed, but within a year after their first meeting, Jay has cast Hannah in the initial cut of the music video for his song “How Are You”. In 2011, though the couple still did not confirm their relationship, they were seen together on numerous occasions and were even photographed in France, with Chou’s arm around Hannah.
By 2013, Jay and Hannah were no longer hiding their relationship. At this point, they have been spotted spending their holidays together in Japan and Thailand, causing rumours that the couple has been living together, and leading some fans and the media to speculate that a wedding wasn’t so far ahead.
Chou says that he first thought of marrying Hannah while he was having a bout of spondylitis, a type of spinal arthritis that has caused him to be exempted from military service. During a particularly painful attack, it was Hannah who took care of him and stayed by his side, an act that immensely touched the superstar.
Despite a 14-year age gap, the couple has a very amicable relationship. Says Jay Chou, “My mental age is about the same as hers and we just get along like children.” Image courtesy of Jay Chou’s Weibo.
Notably, among Jay Chou’s past girlfriends, Hannah is the youngest and the one who has stayed with him the longest. In an interview with China Times, Chou confirmed that they have been dating for four years, saying, “Longevity is something special. It’s more solid than a whirlwind marriage. … Being together four years isn’t an easy thing. Being with me is more tiring. It’s hard being her and she’s persisted for so long.”
He later added, “I need to do something very significant in my life before I turn 36. Starting a family sounds pretty good.”
Just like how the couple’s wedding would be, Chou’s proposal was traditional, magnificent, and closed to the media. According to Apple Daily, the proposal occurred during one of their stays in England: Jay Chou had carefully arranged the moment, there were fireworks in the sky, he knelt down to one knee for the big question, and Hannah’s answer, of course, was, Yes.
When it came to planning the wedding, Jay Chou said that Hannah made all the decisions. To capture their wedding moments on camera, the couple hired fashion and celebrity photographer Liang Su, who has shot photographs for Esquire, Elle, and GQ, among other publications.
The couple’s love story is a modern fairy tale, which is also the theme of their wedding. Images courtesy of JVR Music International
Three of the couple’s pre-wedding photographs were released by Chou’s company, JVR Music, on October last year. The three photos were shot in separate locations – Paris, Prague, and Germany.
The first picture, shot in black and white, shows the couple in a romantic embrace with a classical Parisian roofline serving as background. The second photograph shows the couple facing each other with the Vltava River and the historic Charles Bridge behind them. The final photo features the couple in fairy-tale garb standing next to a tall white horse as the Neuschwanstein Castle towers above them.
Private Party: The couple’s wedding bash, held at Castle Howard, was exclusive to their 50 guests. Image courtesy of Will Liu’s Weibo.
The wedding was very exclusive, attended only by 50 of the couple’s family and closest friends. To maintain their privacy, the guests were not even informed where the actual venue would be and were only instructed to be ready to take a connecting flight from London. However, keen-eyed fans guessed the location close to the wedding when two of the invited guests – lyricists Vincent Fang and bridesmaid Fion Sun – posted pictures of the town on social media. Jay Chou took the unplanned reveal in stride and even gamely posed with his eager fans outside one of the venues.
The historic Selby Abbey at North Yorkshire became a popular tourist destination among Asians overnight after it was revealed that it was the venue for the couple’s wedding ceremony. The 946-year old monastery has an iconic Romanesque architecture perfect for the wedding’s fairy-tale theme.
Built in 1069, Selby Abbey is one of the biggest surviving abbey churches from the medieval period. Image courtesy of SelbyAbbey UK
The wedding reception was held at the magnificent Castle Howard, which was closed to the public for the occasion. Home of the Howard royal family, the estate features a breath-taking landscape and the eponymous 18th century Castle, which is most popularly known as Brideshead Castle in the TV and cinematic adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel, Brideshead Revisited.
Looks familiar? Castle Howard is a popular location for TV series and films set in the Edwardian Era. Image courtesy of Wikimedia
Bridesmaid actresses Beatrice Fang and Fion Sun with groomsmen Darren of the Drifters and fitness coach Hulk. Screen capture from JVR Music International
Actresses Beatrice Fang joined Fion Sun as Hannah’s bridesmaids, while Darren (of Taiwanese band the Drifters) and fitness coach Hulk served as Jay’s groomsmen. The ladies wore peach-coloured bridesmaid dresses with above-the-knee skirts while the men wore trim black suits with pink bow ties.
Jay Chou’s best man was singer and composer Will Liu, who came with his pregnant wife. Will is a close friend of Jay and the two attend the same church in Taipei, the New Life Church. In an earlier interview, Will has said that he and his wife would sometimes read scriptures to Jay when the superstar was feeling particularly stressed.
All dressed in white: the bride sparkled with natural beauty and custom jewellery. Screen capture from JVR Music International
The bride wore a white princess ball gown made by designer Mikael Derderian, featuring a Tudor-inspired design, cathedral wedding train, and a heart-shaped cutout on the back. The look was perfected by a crown and necklace ensemble, reportedly costing NT$311.48 million (SG$13.48 million), courtesy of French jewellery house Chaumet. Carrying a bouquet of white and pink roses, Hannah was led down the aisle by her Australian father, who passed her hand to the waiting groom.
Image courtesy of Jay Chou’s Facebook Page
Hannah Quinlivan is of Taiwanese-Australian descent; here she is escorted by her father. Screen capture from JVR Music International
Jay Chou composed a special musical piece for the wedding, which was played during the ceremony. Screen capture from JVR Music International
Jay Chou wore a black Alexander McQueen tuxedo featuring a patterned lapel and an intricate bow tie. The groom walked alone on the aisle with a light swank, one hand casually tucked into a pocket. Earlier, he personally supervised the rehearsal of the church orchestra, causing the ceremony to be delayed by a few hours. Jay’s outward confidence belied his excitement, as was revealed by his agent, J. R. Yang, who said, “Jay seemed a little nervous. … He was very busy and very happy. Although the rehearsal was long, he was satisfied with the string orchestra’s playing.”
The couple takes their vows. Screen capture from JVR Music International
The wedding is symbolic for Jay and Hannah, who have already registered their marriage in Taiwan last year. Selby Abbey’s inherent beauty was enhanced by the addition of light fixtures, wedding trees, and the use of red carpet on the aisle. Music was provided by a 20-member live orchestra, which played a piece that Jay especially composed for the occasion.
The ceremony was officiated by a British pastor from Selby Abbey and Rev. Abraham Ku, the couple’s pastor from Taipei. The Reverend’s message was themed “The Truth of Love”, quoting 1 Corinthians 13 and encouraging the couple to build their Christian family upon faith, hope, and love. Hannah was moved to tears during Jay’s vows and as he put the ring on her finger, after which the couple shared a long kiss.
Screen capture from JVR Music International
Will Liu, dressed in white suit and pants, was Jay’s best man. The two are close friends and attend the same church in Taiwan. Images courtesy of Will Liu and Darren’s Weibo
After the ceremony, an English afternoon tea was held at a hotel, where the guests were treated to some light snacks, the highlight being a fondant cake and frosted cookies, some of which were decorated with the couple’s silhouette or monogram. The party then moved to Castle Howard for the wedding bash, which featured fireworks set off onto the lakeside sky and performances from a rock band and a symphony orchestra.
Closed to the public: the wedding bash reportedly featured performances from a symphony orchestra and a rock band. Image courtesy of Will Liu’s Weibo page
Jay and Hannah, reportedly, will hold a separate celebration of their wedding in Taiwan this March, and another one in Australia later in the year.
Jay Chou’s massive fandom has long speculated when their idol would get married and were happy – although with a tinge of sadness – over the news that he is no longer on the market. The day after the wedding, a post titled “Jay Chou Got Married” was at the top China’s major micro-blogging website Weibo. The post has generated countless discussions as fans shared their well wishes to the singer and their appreciation of his music. A video of the wedding posted on YouTube has been viewed close to 6 million times with over 2 thousand comments.
Jay Chou poses with his fans outside one of the wedding venues. Image courtesy of Jay Chou’s Facebook Page
The singer’s celebrity friends were also quick to congratulate the couple on social media. Singer and actress Christine Fan wrote on Weibo: “It was super dreamy. Congratulations to the newlyweds. Full of happiness.” Also on Weibo, Singer and actor Wang Lee Hom shared the same sentiments, writing, “Congratulations to Jay Chou and Hannah Quinlivan on their marriage! Romantic, happy and full of love.”
Apple Daily estimated the cost of Jay and Hannah’s wedding to be NT$23 million (S$1 million), which makes it the most extravagant celebrity wedding in Taiwanese history. Accommodation for the guests alone estimatedly cost NT$10 million (S$433 thousand), while expenses for the wedding venues reached NT$8 million (S$346 thousand) and the couple’s pre-wedding photos cost NT$5 million (S$216 thousand).
Expenses for the couple’s pre-wedding photographs, which was shot across Europe, reportedly reached NT$5 million (S$216 thousand). Images courtesy of Wikimedia.
The lavish wedding certainly did not come cheap but it’s all good with the pop superstar, who after all, was the third highest-earning Chinese entertainer in 2014.
The couple stayed in Britain for their honeymoon – although, this time, for partly professional reasons as Jay Chou is scheduled for the shooting of Now You See Me: The Second Act. The film is Chou’s second English feature film after starring as Kato in The Green Hornet in 2011. Hannah, who speaks more English than her husband, will serve as his interpreter during the shoot.
Jay Chou as Kato in 2011’s The Green Hornet, his first English film. Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
Chou is no stranger to England, having frequently visited the country and even making his wedding proposal there. In 2006, he shot the music video for his song “Twilight’s Chapter Seven” in London, while shooting the video for “Big Ben” in Edinburgh in 2012. According to some of his friends, Chou is considering to buy a home in Britain, although he does not have any plans to settle in the country.
Jay Chou shot the music video for some of his songs in the UK. Screen capture from JVR Music International.
Though they initially denied their relationship, the couple started dating back in 2010. Images courtesy of Hype Malaysia and Hannah’s Facebook page.
Jay Chou, who has a net worth of NT$5 billion (S$216 million) did not have a pre-nuptial agreement with his wife, but told that he and Hannah have always kept their finances separate. As Mrs. Jay Chou, Hannah’s first task seems to be to assist and keep company to his mother, Yeh Hui-mei, in a home that the three will share.
Jay Chou is very close to his mom. His song “Listen to Mama” tells how he owes his success to her. Image courtesy of Mar3maze’s Blogspot.
Yeh, who has been divorced to Jay’s father, has remained a strong influence to his son’s life, even managing some of his professional affairs. Among Jay Chou’s past girlfriends, Hannah was the one who got along the best with his mom. In an interview, he joked that his mother has come to care more for Hannah than him even before they were married. He added that his grandmother also dotes on his young wife.
The couple, with Jay Chou’s mother, was photographed at an alpaca café. The three would often vacation together. Image courtesy of 24-7kpop.
Despite the couple’s 14-year age gap, the pop superstar says that they get along very well and haven’t even had any real argument – and that’s not likely going to change.
Regarding their plans to start a family, Chou said he wants to have enough children to form a band, preferably boys who could be “little replicas” of him. He added that it’s not important to him that their children are at the top of their class, just as long as they have skills that they are good at.
Jay Chou promises to release one album each year, while Hannah also plans to continue her work in show business. Image courtesy of 24-7kpop.
He also said, “If I have a daughter, I’ll worry more and think about what to do when she gets a boyfriend. If it is a son, I can share my experiences with women with him.”
While being a family man probably means that Jay Chou could no longer work as much as he used to, he promised to continue to release an album each year to show his enduring commitment to his fans. But Hannah, who has stated that she would like to continue her work as well, might be kept busy by her domestic role.
Photographs of a young Jay Chou. The superstar says he wants to have sons to whom he could pass on his musical legacy. Image courtesy of Adam Kuek’s Blogspot.
And now, China’s attention is on the baby watch for “little Jay Chous”.
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