She’s an actress, World Vision Ambassador and television host who’s been the face of inspiring programmes like Find Me A Singaporean and Renovaid. He’s an actor and singer who’s made it big in Taiwan and China, appearing in dramas like Green Forest and My Home. Although they seem worlds apart, Belinda Lee and Leon Jay Williams have actually been best friends from the start.
Find out how they met, their take on guy-girl friendships and how they remain strong friends today:
You’ve known each other for 23 years. Can you recall the first time you met?
Belinda: We were 18 years old and it was at a fashion show during the Christmas season. He was a model while I was just an angel mascot. I remember squatting by the wall looking at all these beautiful people walking past me. He was the only one who looked down and saw me.
Leon: I was like why is this girl blocking the way? (both laugh) We started talking at the show and ended up keeping in touch for 23 years.
How would you describe your friendship?
Leon: Deep, like family.
Belinda: Yes, he’s not just my BFF, he is family. Imagine, I wasn’t even in the entertainment industry when we met. I certainly did not expect him to become so famous in China! (laughs) And I certainly didn’t expect myself to be an entertainer.
Leon: Well, I’m not surprised with where she is today. It’s nice to have someone who’s been there and seen you from the start, before all this madness happened. We were teenagers then, so we’ve been there for each other through many milestones.
“We keep each other grounded” – Leon
Belinda: Especially when it comes to big life decisions, it’s vital to go to somebody who really knows you right from the beginning because they know you from before you had popularity and everything. They know you from deep down, the fundamentals of your character.
So you help ground each other?
Leon: Definitely, we keep each other grounded and rooted.
Belinda: Every step of the way. For example if I need advice or when I lose steam, he would tell me things like “You remember when we were young? This is what you’ve always wanted” or “Do you still remember your passion? What’s stopping you from pursuing it now?”
Leon: Especially since we’re in the entertainment industry, which is really unforgiving. To have someone who knows you from before – not just Belinda Lee the host, the actress, or Leon, the overseas actor…
Belinda: When you have self-doubt, go to that person who’s known you from the beginning, and that’s where you’ll get assurance.
(read on to see what they have to say about guy-girl friendships)