Weddings, pregnancies, accolades and... charges? While some celebrities on Yahoo Singapore readers' top 10 most-searched had a truly breakout year, some of the others were there for less than celebratory reasons.
With that said, some faces on the most-searched list may be familiar household names, but we're also seeing newcomers becoming part of the conversation in Singapore. There's also a worrying trend of celebrities' name and images being used as part of scams, with the celebrities themselves having to come out and warn their audiences about fake ads using their likeness.
With the end of the year just round the corner — if Mariah Carey’s Christmas hit song is any indication — we wrap up 2023 with a look at the top 10 most-searched male celebrities in Singapore in our Year in Review.
10. Joel Choo
Second-generation actor Joel Choo, the son of veteran actor Zhu Houren, dropped a piece of life-changing news in June.
The 29-year-old announced that he’ll wed his girlfriend of 10 years in December, though no exact date was released, on Instagram. (Because where else do people make important announcements these days?)
Not only did he keep his fiancée's identity under wraps, but he had also kept their relationship away from the public eye as there was no previous mention of it prior to the wedding news.
In fact, in a 2017 interview with 8days, Zhu mistakenly thought that his son had a crush on actress Carrie Wong.
9. Mark Lee
Well, one of Singapore’s OG comedy actors has been busy this year and Mark Lee, 55, has really been in the media spotlight.
Firstly, his film Geylang was released earlier this year and he even got nominated for his role at the Septimius Awards in the Netherlands. Another film of his, Wonderland, had its world premiere at the 24th San Diego Asian Film Festival on 8 Nov in San Diego, California
Most recently, it was also announced that he’ll reunite with Jack Neo and Henry Thia for Money No Enough 3.
During an interview for the film, Lee also shared about his 15-year-old’s daughter dating life and revealed that he has met her partner and given his approval.
However, Lee also had to take to social media earlier in 2023 to warn his fans and audiences about a scam using, quite frankly, some really terribly-edited photos of him.
8. Gurmit Singh
Gurmit Singh, 58, may have had a comparatively quiet time this year, but he's certainly not been out of it. The Phua Chu Kang actor took his contractor role to the next level, becoming the Singapore (and Malaysia, not sure about Batam) ambassador for the classic online game MapleStory R: Evolution.
He's also on the longform Mediacorp drama Sunny Side Up, but if you feel like you've been seeing him a bit more than usual, especially in random ads, you might want to take note.
Like Mark Lee, Singh also posted a public service announcement on his Instagram about a scam ad using his photos, this time in September.
7. Glenn Yong
The boyish actor shot to fame after his role in 2022's Ah Girls Go Army, and it has only reached new heights since he started modelling himself after Korean oppas.
Yong, 27, has been making appearances at various (and numerous) events, including the recently concluded Anime Festival Asia, as well as interviews, where he shared more about his personal life.
In an October episode of the R U Okay podcast with Jean Danker, he spoke candidly about losing his fire after achieving his showbiz dreams at a young age.
"I do not know what's next," he said. "And for someone like me who is really ambitious and always having a goal or a bucket list to chase after, all of a sudden, I have nothing to look forward to."
With him working so hard this year, maybe an extended break next year might be something to look forward to? Perhaps it’ll give fans a chance to miss him.
6. Desmond Tan
2023 looks set to be a life-changing one for Desmond Tan, who broke the news on 4 Oct that he and his wife of 12 years were expecting a baby girl.
Though Tan would like three kids, with two being the minimum so his child has a sibling, he is waiting to see “what the whole experience is like first after the first one” before making decisions.
Tan has also a bit of a theme going for him with the productions he's been involved with in 2023, Strike Gold and All That Glitters.
5. Richie Koh
It's certainly been a year to remember for Richie Koh. Not only did Koh, 30, snag the major Best Actor award at Star Awards 2023, but he's also the second youngest winner in that category.
Additionally, it was his first nomination, and he was only 29 at that time, beating out other nominees like nominees Brandon Wong, Ayden Sng, Desmond Ng, and previous winner Qi Yuwu. However you look at it, that's an impressive nominee list to go up against and come out on top.
Koh also starred in four shows this year, including the drama series Cash on Delivery, where he played a food delivery rider.
4. Ken Lim
Not all celebrities make this list for a positive contributions to society, and that's definitely the case with former Singapore Idol judge Ken Lim.
In March, he was charged with molesting a woman at the Hype Records office - a company he runs. In June, he was slapped with more charges.
Then in November, it was reported that Lim is expected to undergo five different trials, each involving one alleged victim. He faces seven charges of sex offences involving five women.
3. Tahar Ghalib
At the third most-searched spot is Tahar Ghalib, better known as TG, is a senior producer-presenter at Mediacorp's Malay News and Infotainment radio station, Warna 942.
He currently hosts the weekday evening drivetime show, Dinamika Warna, along with RZ, and is quite the popular figure among the community.
TG has also acted in many TV series such as Picit, Piramid Cinta, and appeared on singing competition Berani Nyanyi, as well as having done radio and TV commercial voiceovers.
2. Timothy Nga
For the community in Singapore, the year started with the shocking loss of theatre actor Timothy Nga, who was 49. The news was shared by his sister on Instagram, but no cause of death was specified.
His death resulted in an outpouring of tributes, as the theatre and acting community in Singapore mourned the loss of a familiar face, with other celebs such as Amy Cheng and Gurmit Singh sharing their memories of him.
Nga started acting professionally in 2003 and appeared in local dramas like This Land Is Mine (2021) and Lifeline (2005 to 2007), and also had a role in Anthony Chen’s Wet Season (2019).
He also performed with local theatre companies such as Wild Rice, The Necessary Stage and the Singapore Repertory Theatre.
1. Lawrence Wong
Not to be confused with our Deputy Prime Minister of the same name, Malaysian-born actor Lawrence Wong has been keeping busy ever since his breakout role on Story of Yanxi Palace.
Not only has the actor launched his botanical skincare brand, but he’s also been busy filming shows overseas.
In an October episode of the Mediacorp YouTube series JustSwipeLah, Wong, 35, shared that he is “away from Singapore for long periods of time”.
He also said that it was “a coincidence” that he decided to act in China, as he met his current team in Singapore.
Wong told host Xixi Lim, “They asked me if I was willing to go over and have a try. Frankly speaking, at that time, I had already been in the Singapore industry for many years and didn’t have much results. To me, there was nothing to lose.”
He had also reportedly revealed that what he makes per drama is what local actors earn in two years.
Wong has been a consistent chart-topper, as he was also the most-searched male celebrity in Singapore in 2022.
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