Hong Kong — At this moment Hong Kong actor Lai Lok Yi is a popular TVB star living in a spacious luxury apartment that is reportedly worth millions of dollars but the 41-year-old comes from very humble beginnings and definitely understands what it feels like to struggle during tough times.
Lai’s father died of cancer when Lai was young and his mother struggled to raise him and his two brothers all by herself. Lai’s family stayed in a public housing estate and had to rely on the Comprehensive Social Security Assitance (CSSA) Scheme, a welfare programme that provides financial aid to those in need.
In the early 2000s, things got better when Lai joined showbiz. His resemblance to the late Hong Kong singer Danny Chan gave him a lot of opportunities by TVB. One of them was a lead role not long after his debut with the 2003 drama Hearts of Fencing. As he rose to stardom, the size of his bank account grew and he started renting his own place for HK$8,000 (about SGD1,400) a month.
Unfortunately, things got bad in 2006. According to 8days.sg, the workload was reduced dramatically and he could not earn enough to pay rent so Lai had to move into a tiny 16 sqm subdivided flat and live on very simple meals. The good thing is that during his period of poverty, he had a chance to experience the kindness of others, especially from Hong Kong singer-actor Ekin Cheng.
“When I was at my lowest point, Ekin would ask me to go to his house and pick out clothes,” Lok Yi once recalled in an interview. “He had a lot of shirts that were only worn once, and he would give them to me. He said to me, ‘I don’t want these shirts, come over and get them! I’ve only worn them in China so people in Hongkong won’t know.’”
Cheng also helped Lai to get more work by introducing him to directors. Nowadays, Lai is definitely doing much better. Since starring in TVB sitcom Come Home Love, his career has been smooth-sailing and his personal life has improved as well. After dating for three years, Lai got married to former Miss Hong Kong contestant Nicole Lee in 2014. The relationship almost did not work out as he was intimidated by her family background.
Lee came from a rich family background while Lai came from poverty. Their poor boy/rich girl dynamic led to nasty rumours saying that Lai was “living off” his wife and that he was a “kept man”, a terrible label he has been trying to shake off by working hard to make money and take care of his family in the midst of the pandemic. In April 2017 the couple welcomed a son and are now preparing to meet their second child. /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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