Celeb dad Gurmit Singh: I’m a family man first, celebrity second

Family bonding aside, find out what this famous father been up to since he stepped away from the limelight.


It’s been almost three years since Singapore’s famous funnyman father Gurmit Singh, 53, put his hectic full-time entertainer days behind him. He had a very simple reason for taking an extended break from his hugely successful 20-year career ― Gurmit wanted to make more time for his family, the most important people in his life.

Much as he loves and misses his job, family matters much, much more to Gurmit, who has been married to his wife, Melissa, 48, for more than two decades. They are parents to Mikaela, 5, Elliot, 16, and Gabrielle (Gabby), 20.

Describing what fuelled his passion for his craft, he says, “I got to make people laugh and make an impact, whether they cried or just got really angry.”

Still, this isn’t good enough a reason to make him go back on his word, especially since being around family is what makes him feel most fulfilled.

So, has he put his new-found freedom to good use? And what can fans expect from “Gurmit’s World” next? SmartParents gets the doting dad to spill the beans!   

Great seeing you again, Gurmit! How’s life been since leaving Mediacorp?  

Well, my Lamborghini is gone, but I’m now able to spend more time with the family. I have so much time, in fact, that sometimes, I find myself alone at home because everyone is busy with school and everything else.

So, have you had to make some lifestyle changes?

Yes, we moved out from a house into a condo, which is now fully paid for. After selling the Lamborghini, we bought a 7-seater MPV and that’s paid for, too. I remember when I told my kids about my decision to leave my job, I said one of the many sacrifices we will have to make is no more flying business class. That’s how we used to fly everywhere we went and my kids loved it. It also gave me great pleasure and satisfaction to see how much they enjoyed it. But when my son, Elliot said, “Dad, if it means having more time with you, it’s a no-brainer” and my daughter, Gabby said, “We would rather have you than business class tickets.”

Having Mikaela was a wakeup call that I wanted to leave show business. I decided this is my third chance at getting this right, since I blew the first two.

What a lovely thing say. How did your wife react when you told her of your big decision?

She said, “Both of us didn’t come from a very well-to-do family. If it means spending more time with you, go for it, I’m not scared to go back there.” That really touched me, because some people get so used to a certain lifestyle that they don’t want to go back to how they lived previously.

So, what made you decide to leave your job?

Having Mikaela was a wakeup call that I wanted to leave show business. I decided this is my third chance at getting this right, since I blew the first two. But to be honest, I was already thinking about it way before that, like in 2010. It took me four years to finally do it, because I was so afraid.

Afraid of what?

I didn’t know how to do anything else. My fear ― and I think a lot of people have this fear ― is that they’re so used to doing something they’re good at for so long, that they think they can’t do anything else. So, I asked myself, “What am I going to do if I get out of this?”. What if Mediacorp doesn’t want me anymore after I get out and our income suffers so badly? I thought about becoming a despatch rider or maybe work behind the counter at McDonald’s. I entertained the idea because I like Filet-O-Fish. My family might starve, but I knew I’d be alright! [laughs] So, it took a lot of back-and-forth before I finally did it.

Have you ever regretted your decision?

After I left, I did a father-and-daughter event with Gabby. After the event, they interviewed us individually and one of the questions they asked her was, “What was it like growing up with a super celebrity dad?” Her answer was, “Growing up with my dad you would think it was all that, but for me my dad was a mythical creature, I never knew when he was coming in or going out.” That’s when I knew I had done the right thing by stepping out of the industry. For the longest time I was consoling myself that I was the breadwinner and sacrifices have to be made, I’m doing the best I can, my kids will be fine. You try to justify the means to the end. But when I hear these kind of things, I think to myself, “Whoa, I should have done better.”