Famous singer, actress and TV show host Maria Cordero will reveal for the first time her struggles with an abusive husband and domestic violence in a TVB program on Monday, local media reported.    

Better known as Fei Ma, or Fat Mama, the Portuguese-Chinese star – who also has her own cooking show Maria’s Kitchen on cable TV – gives a frank account of the physical abuse she endured three decades ago from her husband, who was a pianist at a Filipino restaurant.

Her work ethic began early in life, beginning at the age of 11 when her father died. She took on a variety of jobs from the menial such as taking out the trash to working as a coolie carting sacks of flour, being an usher in the cinema, selling cigarettes and singing in nightclubs.      

In 1988, she impressed many fans after her role as a Filipino domestic worker inTVB drama, The Seasons. 

The 63-year-old recalls how at the age of 18 she married a 40-year-old musician in 1972. A year after their wedding, her husband lost his job and had no inclination to find another one, Oriental Daily reported on Thursday, citing a TVB press release on the Litigaton Home show.

Cordero then became the sole bread winner, financially supporting not only her two children but four others by her husband’s ex-wife. Soon her husband started beating her and the children.

In one incident, he threatened her with a knife and hit her hard in the face. Cordero said she ended up in hospital several times.

One day, she discovered that her husband was sleeping with their pregnant maid, Metro Daily reported.

With the support of all six children, Cordero divorced her husband, but still bought him an apartment and a car with money she made earned from overseas concerts.

Cordero lived with the shadow of that abusive marriage for years until she found love again – at 45. She married a Portuguese engineer in 1999 and the couple are still together. There have also been a few additions to the family – 13 grandchildren.