Jack and Irene Neo have gone through a brutal week, but with God and time, they are confident they will be overcomers.
Contributed By THE CITYNEWS TEAM
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
This past week has been a difficult time for film director Jack Neo and his wife Irene Kng. The revelation of Neo’s affair with 22-year-old model Wendy Chong on Mar. 5 has catapulted the couple into a living nightmare, fueled by a media frenzy that has taken on a life of its own.
Neo and Kng are members of City Harvest Church, and the church is rallying around them and their family. “This church is in the business of building lives and restoring broken marriages, be it a celebrity or ordinary people like you and I,” says Serina Perera, an editor for City News. “We support him and Irene fully. We want to see them overcome this and become stronger.”
Since the news broke, each day has proved increasingly harrowing for Neo, Kng and their children. After Chong went to the papers, another two young women came forward to claim that Neo made inappropriate advances on them. In the wake of Tiger Woods’ similar predicament, Neo experienced a media campaign that rivaled the golfer’s.
But while Woods chose to face the media alone, Neo and Kng made a concerted effort to show their solidarity by facing the press together at a press conference on Mar. 11. The stress showed on both their faces, and for the painfully shy Kng, having to speak to the media took a monumental effort on her part.
Expressing her hurt, but her steadfast decision to forgive Jack, she pleaded with the media to stop their hurtful reports. “I really need your blessing,” she sobbed.
“The way Jack Neo handled the press conference may not have been done in the best way. But given the circumstances, what else could the man have done? He’s already admitted to his mistake,” says Gan Ling Kai, a local reporter.
Neo has been criticized for his apparent silence on the matter, but the truth is he has been working on what to say that would be an equivocal response to his actions. He has told church leaders, “I’m really sorry for what I have done.
“This is a very painful yet valuable wake-up call for me. I want to always remember to treasure the importance of my wife and family, because they are the most precious treasures in my life. Irene and I will continue to put effort into building a successful and happy marriage together.”
Neo admits that he did not cherish his wife and family like he should have, and that was what led to the situation he is in today.
“I feel very ashamed and I am sorry that my betrayal has deeply hurt my wife and children.”
Neo is grateful to the family members, friends and church friends who have stood by him and Kng this past week. He expresses regret at disappointing his fans, many of whom have gone online to declare they will still watch his movies. To Neo, they are his family too.
For the Neos, although the most important decision has been made—they will stay together and make their marriage work—Neo says they need time and space for their relationship to heal.
But their hope remains in God. “I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ will not abandon us when we are going through this difficult period.”
Words Of Support
|CN PHOTO: Albert Soh|
“People go through business failures, bankruptcy, retrenchment, loss of loved ones, mistakes in relationships. We’re all human and we may continue to make mistakes. But to me, it is always how we manage our mistakes that counts. I salute and support Jack and Irene in how they’re managing their difficult time.”
~ Nanz Chong-Komo, entrepreneur, Nanzinc.Com
“I’ve come to know Irene much better in the last one year, and I can say she is the most admirable, longsuffering wife I have ever seen. I admire her courage and the fact that, even at such a time as this, she puts Jack first. She really loves him. Jack is remorseful and is sincere to make a lasting change. I am very confident that this whole situation will turn around, and their marriage will be stronger than ever.”
~ Yuan Wenling, family friend
“Jack has publicly admitted his mistakes. It’s in times as such that Jack and his family need to experience the reality of God’s grace, love and forgiveness even more than ever. Let’s be a channel of that as his church. Truly, Jesus gives us the gift of no condemnation, for those who look to Him for mercy. Let’s continue to pray for Jack and Irene.”
~ K.C. Gan, creative director, CHC
“When it comes to infidelity and unfaithfulness, we’ve seen so many marriages end up in divorce. But Jack and Irene have chosen to go down the straight and narrow, in obedience to God, to work hard at their marriage and overcome the odds. This is something we can all be inspired by.”
~ Belinda Lee, local artist
“I will pray for God’s grace for you to help you let go of the pain and forgive those (not only Jack) who have wronged you. Don’t blame yourself for what has happened, know that it is never your fault but the devil’s temptation is too strong. I thank God that Jack is willing to seek counseling, and rest assured that God’s healing hands will be upon you and your family. Irene, you are a wonderful wife and mother of four. God bless you always!”
~ Mrs Lee, a member of the public
“I commend Jack and Irene on their commitment to their marriage during this difficult time in the public’s eye. I know it has not been easy for you and am keeping you both in my prayers and know you will come out stronger.”
~ Derek Dunn, executive pastor, CHC
“He’s admitted, she’s forgiven. These are the first steps toward a new beginning.”
~ Chiang Pak Shane, businessman
“My prayers are with Jack and Irene’s children. They have been great kids, showing such concern for their parents. I pray they will be shielded from any further attacks, and I know they will only grow stronger and more united as a family after all this dies down.”
~ Theresa Tan, editor, City News
“It’s very difficult to uphold good values in the entertainment industry. I salute Jack and Irene Neo for their courage to face this issue and overcome it together.”
~ Priscilla Kua, artist manager
“Understandably, there is a very visceral response from the public, who is also not privy to all that is going on behind the scenes. I understand that a lot of sincere work is going on to make things right, and everyone deserves the support and opportunity to do that.”
~ Brian Liu, management consultant
“Jack has shown that he wants to make a sincere change, he has confessed to his wife. Irene is a very strong and courageous woman. We pray this episode will strengthen their marriage.”
~ Jaslynn Khoo, assistant drama director, CHC