Hong Kong singer-actor Ronald Cheng is a lot different from the time when he used to be mostly gossip column fodder. Cheng had become infamous for his drunk and unruly behaviour on an aeroplane in the year 2000. It affected his reputation badly.
He was also secretly married to fellow Hong Kong singer-actress Charlene Choi in 2006 which was only known publicly in 2010 when they held a press conference announcing their divorce. Cheng was known more for his personal antics than his career.
The Hong Kong star has since cleaned up his act, winning a Golden Horse Award for the Best Supporting Actor in 2012, as well as the Best Original Film Song award at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2018, amongst other big-screen accomplishments. The reason he is doing so well is thanks to his nine-year-old daughter Emma Cheng. In 2011, Ronald married former TV anchor Sammie Yu, less than a year after his divorce from Charlene. Ronald and Sammie also share a son apart from Emma, five-year-old Evan.
The 48-year-old told Apple Daily that it was only when his daughter first held his hand shortly after she was born that he realised what it meant to be a father.
“They rely on you for everything, and regardless of whether its good or bad, you have to stand by them. That feeling of love is something that you’ll only understand when you become a parent,” he said.
Cheng had yet to quit drinking at that time. He remembered a time when he was so drunk after a successful concert that he was tripping over his own feet when he reached home. His daughter was frightened when she saw him drunk but he could not remember what happened.
The next day he asked her why was she so unhappy. His daughter then answered: “I was very frightened last night ‘cos I didn’t know what had happened to you, all I saw was that you’d fallen on the ground.” Realising that he had to clean up his act, Cheng then quit drinking for good. His love for his daughter has also affected his career choices. Ronald shared that his daughter could not understand why he had to be beaten up for his Golden Horse winning role in Vulgaria and Emma cried when she watched that movie.
Since then, he has decided not to take on violent roles. He chose to act in light-hearted family dramas like the upcoming ViuTV drama, Single Papa. The actor has no intention to get his children to take part in one of the many reality shows that focuses on the lives of celebrity parents and their children. Besides the pressure of long filming hours, he does not want to force his kids to continue ‘working’ in front of cameras when they are tired.
The Hong Kong star added that he is afraid of the increased scrutiny that his kids will have to go through after appearing on such shows, saying that many comments, both good and bad tend to come from netizens.