This was after various media had reported on her recent engagement, and social media was abuzz with congratulatory messages from enthusiastic fans. The 35-year-old actress had announced it herself in an IG post on Nov 15, along with an image of her fiance.
Weeks later, after messaging back and forth between us to settle on a date, time and place to meet up for an interview post-engagement news, Rebecca texted “at your place” and I replied “OK I’m ordering chwee kueh”.
Despite being known in the media to be fiercely private about her personal life, there were moments when she was surprisingly vulnerable and joyfully candid. Perhaps it was because we had some in-depth conversations over the years – this would be the fifth time – and an unspoken, comfortable familiarity had grown between us.
Professionally, her career is heading where she wants it to. From having won Best Actress in a leading role at the Asian Television Awards in 2010 and the local Star Awards in 2018 to ambassadorship of brands, Rebecca is exactly where she deserves to be. Last year, she told Her World that she’d always wanted to act in a horror series – she’d just wrapped up filming for one at 5am this morning.
So here she was at my home again for the interview, and completely unfazed by the humdrum of my air-conditioner being serviced and my step kids’ morning play activities around her. Throughout the two hours, it was no holds barred – she answered all 30 questions on my list and more. There was no evasion or coy smiles, just a woman excited to start her new life with the man she’s in love with.
HOW SHE MET MATTHEW
I told Rebecca I wanted to know everything, spare no details. How did it all start? “My friend (makeup artist) Shaun was the one who set me up. One day, he was telling his good friend he was concerned that I was still single, and Matthew’s mum is Shaun’s friend’s friend, and she’d told him that she was worried her son was just holing up at home playing his guitars. So they put one and one together…”
Some facts on the man in question: Matthew Webster is a 35-year-old Singaporean Scorpio, who went to school at UWC South East Asia, and went on to earn a journalism degree at Monash University in Melbourne. He interned for Channel News Asia as a fresh grad, and is now assistant vice-president of corporate branding at PSA Singapore.
Rebecca recalled: “It took a long time for this dinner to happen because of my work and family commitments. After two cancellations, I felt really bad as this meet-up actually involved other friends, so despite how much I didn’t want to go, I forced myself to.”
What were her first impressions when they met? “We barely spoke the first time we met!” Rebecca exclaimed. “Matthew and I are not good with big groups, so I barely knew anything about him.”
She added: “But he got my number that night and we met a week later for dinner in Dempsey. This time round, he sat opposite me, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, he’s actually really good-looking.’”
Matthew’s dad is British while his mum is Chinese Singaporean. I asked if she could show me a clear photo of Matthew and she obliged with a wefie – I saw a man with strikingly intense dark eyes who stood half a head taller than her.
Their first solo date lasted for six hours.“We had dinner for three hours, and went for a long drive for another three. Basically from the east to the west and back again with the windows down, sometimes conversing, sometimes in silence. It just felt so comfortable.”
HOW LOVE GREW
When I interviewed her in 2019, Rebecca said then that she believed she had never been in love before. I reminded her about it and asked if she recalled telling me that.
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