What have Ah Si and Lei been up to?
If you were a resident of the Philippines between 2001 to 2002 and old enough to swoon over beautiful East Asian men, then it’s pretty much a given: you were likely in on the Meteor Garden craze and in love with F4, too. Now, there’s no use denying it; you can be honest. After all, we, too, had pillows and collector’s mugs with their faces.
Let’s talk history for a bit, shall we? Meteor Garden was the first live action adaptation of Boys Over Flowers, a Japanese graphic novel first released in 1992. Since Meteor Garden skyrocketed to fame across Asia, a number of live action adaptations have followed: a Japanese version in 2005, then a Korean rendition in 2009. Just last month, a Chinese remake began airing.
But hey, we never forget our first loves. Whether it was Ah Si or Lei you were rooting for in front of your TV screen back in the early 2000s, all of us have a little bit of a soft spot for the original F4.
It’s been a while since they got together as a group. If we’re being technical, they only really had one formal reunion after Meteor Garden and its sequel enjoyed its last licks of public attention. It happened in 2013, where they performed a few songs at the Jiang Su TV Gala Night.
Fast forward to 2018: where are they now?
Where is the pineapple-haired heartthrob we all swooned over? Since Meteor Garden II wrapped in 2002, the first live action Dao Ming Si has gone to release three Mandopop albums (the first of which bagged two awards) and star in multiple films and TV series. Lupin III: Necklace of Cleopatra, his project in 2014, was a particularly memorable one. It was a gathering of Meteor Garden’s leading men: Yan starred alongside Oguri Shun and Kim Joon, who were both lead actors in the Japanese and Korean adaptations, respectively.
Image via MeRadio
Unfortunately, Jerry Yan has been relatively off the radar since his last TV series in 2016. These days, when his name ends up in headlines, it’s usually alongside supermodel-turned-actress Lin Chiling’s. These two have a whole lot of history, from first being linked in 2003, to breaking up in 2006, to being the subject of on again-off again rumors for over a decade. After the two were spotted in Kuala Lumpur together last year, these rumors reached an all-time high. There were talks of their romance finally being rekindled, an upcoming wedding in Bali, a baby on the way––all of which Lin shut down once and for all in April.
Hua Ze Lei has kept busy since 2002. Like Jerry Yan, Vic Chou’s career in music took off shortly after the height of the Meteor Garden craze. Despite his third album (entitled I’m Not F4, would you believe?) topping charts, he hasn’t released new music since 2009. While his music career may have gone stagnant, his acting career is arguably the most remarkable among the F4 members. Chou has continuously taken part in films and TV series, playing more complex characters that pushed him outside the flower boy persona most associated him with––an inevitable side-effect of portraying Hua Ze Lei. In 2004 series Mars, for instance, he took on a double role as twins with mental illnesses.
Image via Weibo
He’s been pretty successful outside work, too: Chou registered his marriage with long-time girlfriend Reen Yu in 2015 (fans may have cried over it when the news broke, but you’ve got to admit their engagement photos are all kinds of adorable), and the following year, they welcomed a daughter into their family.
Ah, Mei Zuo, the long-haired, smooth-talking charmer of the group. If you, too, still have relatives sharing clips from the first season of Asia’s Got Talent on your Facebook feed, then chances are you’ve seen Vanness Wu pretty recently. Leading up to his 2015 judging stint for AGT, Vanness continuously brushed up on both his singing and acting skills. In 2003, he filled in for Jay Z in the Asian special edition of Beyoncé’s hit, Crazy In Love. He went on to release his own music as well, opening shows for Kanye West and collaborating with the likes of Bruno Mars. He hasn’t stopped acting either. His most recent project, a drama entitled Love Won’t Wait, aired just this year.
Despite being the first to get hitched, Vanness’ marriage to longtime girlfriend Arissa Cheo appeared to be on the rocks soon after it started. There were public spats on Instagram (shady captions, unfollowing each other, the whole nine yards), rumors of divorce and ultimately, a split just a few months back.
This guy didn’t rest easy for another decade after Meteor Garden ended. The writer-turned-actor who gave life to laid-back Mei Zuo continued to act and release pop albums, even holding solo concerts in Japan. In 2007, he starred alongside Iza Calzado in Batanes: Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan. He also released a cookbook, which was released in both China and Japan.
Image via Weibo
While Chu hasn’t added any recent projects to his body of work, he struck luck in another department: he wed Chinese actress Han Wenwen in Bali in 2016. Everything about it just dripped in warmth (“Thank you for letting me be your husband,” he said. Let us grab our tissues, we said). Fellow F4 members Vanness and Jerry were in attendance and even performed Meteor Rain at the reception for old times’ sake.
While a 2018 remake of our favorite Taiwanese drama may have ushered in a new batch of hunks to keep as our phone wallpapers (come on, we all did it back in 2002), one thing’s for certain: F4 is forever.
Art Alexandra Lara