Couple Spotlight: The Endless Love Of Childhood Sweethearts Bobby Ting & Shen-Tel Lee

Close Up

July 28, 2018 | BY Jessica Liew

They were barely teenagers when Bobby Ting and Shen-Tel Lee first met in Kuching. Unbeknownst to the baby-faced duo, destiny was in the making on their daily meetups to play at a hotel swimming pool, all through that school break. The fast friends parted ways as pen pals, writing to each other for a year until they reunited in Kuching. At 14, Bobby was convinced he’d found the love of his life but the non-committal Shen-Tel reciprocated much later. 24 years on, the pair are best friends, partners, and parents to 2 lively boys. This story's for the next time when you lose faith in love. Click on for a major throwback to Bobby and Shen-Tel's relationship milestones, complete with photos of their youngest selves.

Sydney, 1997. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Young love

Shen-Tel was with her sister, Elizabeth Lee-Yong, when she first met Bobby at a hotel swimming pool. Elizabeth invited the boys to play Marco Polo with them, and that marked the start of Bobby and Shen-Tel’s lifelong bond.

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Couple Spotlight: The Endless Love Of Childhood Sweethearts Bobby Ting & Shen-Tel Lee
Sydney, 1999. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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24 years and counting

At 14, Bobby was sure he would marry Shen-Tel one day, to her disbelief. “I can’t imagine my life without him in it. It feels like we have grown up together and that I married my best friend.”

Sydney, 1998. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Ups and downs

The 16-year-old Shen-Tel was a constant heartbreaker, snubbing Bobby’s persistent requests to be his girlfriend. “I would always say no. It took me 4 years to say yes,” she mused. “Looking back, it amazes me that he never gave up on me.”

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Couple Spotlight: The Endless Love Of Childhood Sweethearts Bobby Ting & Shen-Tel Lee
Sydney, 1997. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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On that first kiss…

Every now and then, the couple like to reminiscence symbolic milestones of their relationships. Of these memories, the fondest would be their first kiss at the royal Easter show. “It was the moment Bobby thought for the first time that he might have a chance with me,” Shen-Tel remarked cheekily.

The couple on their wedding day. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Wedding bells (finally!)

In what Shen-Tel calls “the world’s longest courtship”, the wild pair dated for 10 years before tying the knot. On December 2008, they got married in Sydney, followed by a Kuching ceremony in January 16, 2009. The receptions paid tribute to both families’ quirky personalities which they clearly inherited!

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Couple Spotlight: The Endless Love Of Childhood Sweethearts Bobby Ting & Shen-Tel Lee
At Kingston's full-moon party, January 2015
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2 become 3, then 4...

2013 marked the start of parenthood, but that didn’t change the couple and their zest for life. After their firstborn, Benjamin, a second son, Kingston, entered their lives in 2014.

See also: Kingston Ting's Full Moon Party

Kuching, 2017. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Overcoming postpartum depression

Being the candid person that she is, Shen-Tel spoke to us about her postpartum depression and how she overcame it. “Bobby has seen me at my worst and I know it was a hard period for him too but he’s been amazing,” she had mentioned.

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Couple Spotlight: The Endless Love Of Childhood Sweethearts Bobby Ting & Shen-Tel Lee
Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Growing as parents

Being married with kids has changed their relationship for the better, and that has helped solidified their bond. “We do miss the days when we were university students who could sleep in till 1pm,” she shared. “We also miss how skinny we used to be before the kids.”

At Elizabeth Lee-Yong's baby shower, May 2015
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Spreading the love

But they wouldn’t trade anything for their parenthood status, especially when witnessing the joy their sons bring to their parents.

See also: Elizabeth Lee-Yong's Baby Shower

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Couple Spotlight: The Endless Love Of Childhood Sweethearts Bobby Ting & Shen-Tel Lee
Egypt, 2011. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Still, crazy for each other

Although its been years, the sparks still fly between Bobby and Shen-Tel. “I love how madly he is in love with me. There is nothing he won’t do for me,” she gushed. “It is the greatest feeling knowing that he has my back and supports every crazy idea.”

Attending their first Tatler Ball, 2009. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Counting their blessings

For Bobby, Shen-Tel is still the partner-in-mischief of his childhood. “I love how we complete each other’s sentences,” he piped in. “We love the adventures but also sitting and reading the weekend papers.”

See also: Spotify-Worthy Love Songs Of 8 High Society Couples & The Stories Behind Them

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Couple Spotlight: The Endless Love Of Childhood Sweethearts Bobby Ting & Shen-Tel Lee
Kuching, 2018. Celebrating CNY at home. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Partners for life

The ultimate test of a relationship is when a couple can do everything together, from working side by side to unwinding at the end of the day. “There is a sense of a 2-for-1 package when it comes to us,” Shen-Tel described. “We are annoyingly inseparable.”

The couple at the SHEDA Excellence Awards, November 2015
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Growing old together

Till death do us part, but it’s equally important to give your partner room to grow. While the 2 profess to be joined at the hip, they both respect each other’s careers. “We both have very different career paths but support each other when it comes to us,” Shen-Tel shared.

See also: SHEDA Excellence Awards 2015

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Couple Spotlight: The Endless Love Of Childhood Sweethearts Bobby Ting & Shen-Tel Lee
In Kuching, for Bobby's birthday in 2015. Photo: Courtesy of Shen-Tel Lee
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Destined as soulmates

The pair were fortunate to find in each other soulmates at the tender early 20s. It took years of friendship and a fair share of heartache, but it all paid off in the end. “With so many years of friendship under our belts, we knew we were never going to meet anyone else that could fill those life memories.”

See also: A peek inside Shen-Tel Lee’s whimsical duplex

At the Malaysia Tatler Ball, November 2017
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It’s not always easy, but love prevails

The next time you have the umpteenth lovers' quarrel, know that it’s perfectly normal and part and parcel of finding true love. The same could be said for Bobby and Shen-Tel. “We broke up and got back together so many times over the silliest things, that we ran out of reasons not to be together,” she concluded.

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