What is Henry Golding's Race? And is He Married?

What is Henry Golding’s race and ethnicity? And who is his wife?

Henry Golding wasn’t exactly a household name before August 2018. However, with the critical acclaim that Crazy Rich Asians is receiving, no doubt many viewers will be curious about the leading man’s personal life. You know, the normal level one-type stalker Googlesearches that many famous heartthrobs will get like:

“henry golding girlfriend”

“henry golding wife”

“henry golding instagram”

The difference? It’ll be Americans searching on an Asian male actor — that’s unheard of. And one search query that will certainly be typed in is whether Henry Golding is full Asian as is assumed in his role as Singaporean Nick Young in Crazy Rich Asians.

So, What is Henry Golding’s Race?

To take a deeper look into Henry Golding race, let’s discuss where he was born and his parents.

Golding was born in Sarawak, Malaysia then later moved to the state of Terengganu (say that three times fast or… once) on the east coast of peninsula of Malaysia. He grew up there until the age of seven when he moved with his family to England.

The reason he was in Malaysia until that age was because Golding’s mother is from Sarawak, Malaysia. Golding’s mom’s name is Margaret Likan is ethnic Malaysian Iban. There, she met her future husband, Golding’s dad who is of English descent — presumably the reason why the Golding family decided to move to that country.

With a Malaysian mother and an English father, Henry Golding is of mixed-race — depending on how specific you want to be, he is Iban-EnglishMalaysian-English, or more broadly Asian-English

Who is Henry Golding’s Wife?

Golding is married to Liv Lo, a mixed-race TV presenter and yoga instructor. Lo is an Italian–Taiwanese and married Golding two years ago in August 2016. Before the couple’s marriage, Golding completed his bejalai and received a ceremonial tattoo — a rite of passage into manhood—in the forests of Borneo where his mother is from. Seeing as Golding and Lo worked in media, they captured the experience in film over the course of two months. The episodes were shown on a TV show called Surviving Borneo for Discovery Channel’s Asia channel.

So How Did Golding Get Cast in Crazy Rich Asians?

Seeing as Golding isn’t full Asian, he received some slack for being cast as the lead in Hollywood’s first movie with an all Asian cast. Golding handled the questioning with understanding, telling InStyle:

“It’s fair,” he says of the debate, though initially he felt defensive. “I always think, ‘What is the litmus test for being Asian enough?’ I’ve grown up half of my entire life in Asia. I was born in the jungles of Borneo. I’ve been to every single Asian country apart from Myanmar, on work, listening to human interest stories, giving me a broad outlook on all Asian cultures. But it’s OK for [someone] who’s never been to Asia to says, ‘Oh no, he’s definitely not Asian enough.’”

Director Jon Cho and Kevin Kwan, the author of the novel the movie was based on, obviously supported Golding for the role. Not only because the role’s requirements were lengthy, but they loved his star quality. Considering the pressure of how much the film represents for Asians and Asian-Americans alike, that has to be a factor, too.

“Henry is just a superstar,” Kwan told Vanity Fair. “He’s a leading man three times over without the first movie even coming out yet, and it’s a testament to his talent. People just fall in love with him.”

No doubt. You’re here reading this, aren’t you?

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4 Comments

  • Karen commented on August 22, 2018 Reply

    Hi, Henry is definitely not Malay-English. As Malays are another race found in Malaysia, such as Chinese, Indians or Ibans (which Henry’s mother is). The correct term would be Malaysian-English or Iban-English because he is NOT Malay at all. BTW, he was born in Sarawak, and later lived in Terengganu (which are two completely different states in Malaysia).

    • @stuart commented on August 22, 2018 Reply

      Hi Karen — thanks for letting us know. We’ve updated the post to reflect your insights! We really appreciate it.

  • donald king commented on August 27, 2018 Reply

    Henry Golding is in fact incredibly English. More importantly, he clearly comes from a pretty well-off background. He speaks impeccable upper-class English – I’d be interested to know where he was educated and what sort of house he was brought up in. He was a hairdresser in Sloane Street and then got a job with the BBC. With this background and with these connections, he got into films. To say that he is ‘Asian’ is absurd. In fact, the very word ‘Asian’ is as meaningless as ‘white’ or ‘people of colour.’ More important is ‘class’ and ‘background’ rather than which label you stick on yourself.

    • @stuart commented on August 27, 2018 Reply

      In an ideal world, yes. When it comes to race (or labels), we are far from living in an ideal world. The fact that Golding speaks impeccable English doesn’t change visceral reactions to him — whether they recognize him or not, he’s seen as not-fully either side of his identities. In fact, his dark hair and features will place him in the Asian bucket much more often than not. The aim is to see past the surface and look deeper, but that’s just where we are as a human species / society.

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