In public, Kim Lim is always sparkling and stylish, with a cluster of Cartier Love and Juste un Clou bracelets on her arm. Asked if they have a special meaning, she says with a smile: “I usually go out without much jewellery, I just like to stack different bracelets.”
But beyond being accessories, the bracelets are also a cover. When she removes them, her wrist is encircled with scars. They are old wounds, each scar a record of her little-known past.
At the lowest point of her life, she says she tried to do “stupid things”, without elaborating further.
It is a past she rarely talks about. She says she decided to open up because many young girls these days battle depression and she hopes they will not take the same self-destructive path.
The 27-year-old heiress is the daughter of Singaporean business magnate Peter Lim. One of Singapore’s most successful stockbrokers, he switched to being a full-time investor in 1996.
In the 2018 Forbes list of Singapore’s richest people, he ranked 12th with a net worth of $2.4 billion.
His companies and commercial interests include Thomson Medical Group, Valencia CF, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s portrait rights and Hotel Football, which is next door to Manchester United’s Old Trafford football stadium.
When she was four years old, her parents parted ways. It was one of the longest divorce cases in Singapore, lasting more than seven years.
Recalling that time, Kim Lim’s eyes well up with tears. She says: “That’s the darkest period of my life. I remember when I was in primary school, my brother and I would shuttle between our parents every two to three days.”
After primary school, her parents sent her to boarding school in England to make her more independent. She spent four years at Queenswood School.
She returned at age 16 and attended Anglo Chinese School (Independent), Hwa Chong International School and the Singapore Institute of Management.
Many would think that as a rich man’s daughter, she is able to have everything her heart desires and enjoy a life without worries. But Lim disagrees.
She says: “I’ve never felt I was different from other children. My father is very strict with me. We live a simple life, such as going to the hawker centre to eat his favourite mee siam. As a kid, I didn’t have many luxuries. He always told me that whatever I want, I have to get it myself.”
This is advice that she has taken to heart, at least in her love life. When it comes to love, she believes in destiny, love at first sight and being a go-getter.
Lim laughs like a little girl as she says: “I met my husband in a temple in Thailand, I guess that’s destiny.” The devout Buddhist regularly visits Thai temples and believes in fate.
“I was drawn to his tall frame and his ‘bad boy’ vibe. I later found out he was my assistant’s friend. We dated for half a year and, in a flash, we had registered our marriage.”
Continuing with a laugh, she adds: “Our personalities are completely different. He’s very low-key. He’s older than me by one year, but is completely uninterested in social media. Before we met, he didn’t even have an Instagram account. He set one up later just so he could follow me on social media.
“When it comes to how we deal with things, I’m more impulsive, he’s more calm and rational. Maybe it’s because we’re different that we’re attracted to each other. I feel grounded when I’m with him.”
This is the first time she has shared her love story with the media.
In 2016, she was rumoured to be dating Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho’s son Mario Ho. Both shared photos of themselves exchanging rings and kissing in Paris on their social media accounts. It was widely reported by the press.
Asked about it now, she says: “We were together for half a year. But because we lived in different cities, it was hard to maintain a long-distance relationship. Over time, we drifted apart.”
There were also rumours of a romantic relationship with K-pop boyband BigBang’s Seungri.
She dismisses it with a laugh: “We’ve always been good friends.”
Interestingly, while her romances were widely talked about, few knew about her marriage registration. The ceremony was very simple, with only family members by her side.
She says: “Once you’ve found the right person, why wait?”
As for the wedding ceremony, she says it keeps getting delayed. It was planned for March 23 last year and invitations had been sent out, but midway, she got pregnant.