The 'Barbie' star opens up about navigating the ups and downs of Hollywood with someone special by his side
Simu Liu has had a whirlwind couple of years after shooting to superstardom with two back-to-back box office hits.
Navigating fame hasn't all been smooth sailing, but the Barbie actor, 34, tells PEOPLE in its 2023 Sexiest Man Alive issue (on stands now) that falling in love with his marketing director girlfriend, Allison Hsu, 27, has helped bring a feeling of security over the last year.
"I think everyone knows the feeling of being in a situation where they're not fully happy, and then all of a sudden for that to change ... it's such a breath of relief," he says. "It's this feeling of 'Oh, right, it does exist.' You start to feel like, okay, maybe I've just been conditioned to want something that doesn't exist or I have unrealistic expectations."
The couple went public with their romance last fall, and "we've been tremendously happy," says Liu. "I feel challenged and loved and cared for, and I feel championed. I think the best, healthiest relationships are ones where you have each other's back, and I definitely feel like that's the case."
In the next decade, the Marvel star — who's set to release an E.P. this month — sees himself starting a family while continuing to grow his career.
"I definitely see kids in my future. I would be surprised if I was not a father 10 years from now," says Liu. "I think you just hit that point in your life where it starts happening around you and all of your best friends that you grew up just shooting s--- with and being delinquent kids with all of a sudden get to positions of responsibility and parenthood. You're looking at these guys and you're like, 'Oh my God, I never thought you would ever be responsible for another human life.'"
After finding a new level of success with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Barbie, Liu hopes to help pave the way for others to continue breaking barriers.
"Now that I've climbed that first mountain, it's like that vantage point is different. Now you can see other mountains or other goals that maybe you couldn't before," he says. "It's a privilege for sure to be able to have the perspective to even be able to set out these objectives."
One goal he has in mind is to build out a production company to "really highlight minority voices, and maybe even more specifically Asian American voices," he adds.
"Coming off of my initial success, I was really surprised by a lot of scripts and projects that were being offered, and it's that feeling of you can tell when a system is not built for you," he says. "We come from different lived backgrounds, we have different faces, and that needs to be addressed. I would love to play a part of that."
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Read the original article on People.