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Van Ness Wu's 'clean' living

Members of hit boybands who go solo either spin off a successful individual career or find out that they cannot step out of the group's long shadow.

F4 (now called JVKV) member Van Ness Wu has certainly done the former.

He and the other three members of the group - Vic Chou, Jerry Yen and Ken Chu - shot to fame in 2001, thanks to hit Taiwanese idol drama Meteor Garden which is based on Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango.

The group were renamed in 2007 to avoid confusion because Japan had filmed its own TV series in 2005 based on the same manga, and had its own F4.

The F4 name comes from the manga.

Wu's bandmates are also active in the TV drama scene in Taiwan, with Chu in Momo Love (2009), Chou in Black & White (2009) and Yen in Down With Love (2010).

But of the four, it is Wu - better known for his dancing - who scored the biggest ratings with his 2009 drama, Autumn's Concerto. It was one of the top-rated dramas in Taiwan, hitting 8.2 per cent ratings at its peak.

In it, the American-born, Taiwan-based actor- singer played a lawyer who loses his memory and forgets his long-suffering girlfriend.

Wu looks set to repeat the feat with his new drama, Material Queen, helmed by Autumn's producer Chen Yu-shan and director Chen Hui-ling. The cast finished filming in Paris recently and the show is in production in Taiwan.

Lynn Xiong, who is Hong Kong singer Aaron Kwok's girlfriend, stars as his love interest. Even the crew is star-studded as the stylist is Patricia Field from American TV series Sex And The City.

Wu, 32, says: "I play a violinist and it's a love story between the struggling musician and a gold-digging model (Xiong). Because of the styling, the look of the drama is very different from what audiences have seen."

He was in Singapore last weekend to perform at Ion Orchard's first-anniversary outdoor concert. He sang Soldier, his latest Japanese single, and Do It, a song from his new Mandarin album to be released next month.

Speaking to Life! in the presidential suite at Royal Plaza On Scotts hotel the day before, the former bad boy is a picture of zen, punctuating his sentences with words such as "blessed" and "praise".

His pious streak gels with the renewal of his Christian faith in 2008, after which he famously swore off pre-marital sex. Currently single, he wants the world to know that he does not wish to make out with any actress in movies.

He says: "Who do I want to make out with? I want to make out with my wife, that's real."

1 How can you be a party animal and still remain celibate?

I go partying, clubbing, karaoke-ing till the sun comes up. I just don't drink or smoke but I still love to party.

It's about real joy and laughter from the relationships we have, and we tell jokes and stuff like that.

Granted, some people don't think the way I think and feel the way I feel, but they are still my friends - people I care about, love and cherish.

It's not about the alcohol, it's not about getting wasted. So to me, when I laugh, I am truly laughing and that makes it 10 times more wonderful than anything.

2 Would you rather stay permanently in Taiwan or America?

I'm based in Taiwan but I'm moving my way into America as well. I hope to be based in America next year or in 2012 because my family (Wu is the youngest of three children and his parents are divorced) is in America. That's why I'm always moving back and forth.

3 What is the one trait you deplore most in yourself?

Hmm... that I'm a perfectionist? Well, I come down hard on myself a lot. It's my best and worst trait.

4 What is the one thing you hate being asked about by reporters and what would you do if I asked you right now?

That's okay because you haven't asked it yet. If you ask it, then I'm not going to like it.

No, I'm joking.

Relationships. I don't like talking about them because it crosses the boundary of just talking about me. It's not because I want the limelight on me but it's to honour and respect the other person and her privacy.

5 If you saw an attractive girl in public you like, what would you do?

Nothing. I don't know what there is to do. If I see a really pretty girl, I would admire her from a distance and praise God for creating such a beautiful woman.

If I get introduced to her... then that's a different story (laughs).

6 Do you fear that your career is going to be like a meteor and flame out some day?

I believe everybody's career is like that. And that's what makes it exciting and lets you learn, grow, love, appreciate and cherish.

7 Being no stranger to Singapore, what do you love about it?

Food, no doubt. I love the curry in Singapore.

Also, I've been to the Ion mall several times and I love its architecture. I'm very excited to be part of the opening of the rooftop (which has an observation deck called Ion Sky at 218m high).

For me, I love rooftops because the scene and view you get from up there is amazing.

8 Complete this sentence: If you could live your life all over again...

I would live it the way Jesus did, from the very beginning.

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