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Falling for the romance of Sino-celebrity

(China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-07 11:21
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Most foreign readers of this column are more familiar with the metaphorical ins and outs of their own country's celebrities (or Hollywood A-listers) than the behind-the-scenes activities of China's entertainment personalities. As such and to give you a flavor of what you can expect if you do decide to emotionally invest in Sino-celebrity, here is a love story for you.

The players are Lin Chi-ling, China's pre-eminent model and a budding actress at the relatively advanced age of 36; and 34-year-old Jerry Yan, of the boy band F4 and a soap opera favorite. They are based in Taipei and were at the same modeling agency, where the flame of love was presumably lit around 2005.

But since it is customary for stars in the Mandarin pop firmament to deny they are in a relationship for fear they will alienate fans, their pas de deux was clandestine, as was the breakup, which Yan has tacitly admitted was his fault.

Enter Scott Qiu, the heir to a fortune made from manufacturing lavatories, and a childhood friend of Chi-ling. Their relationship was made-semi public and a wedding has been on the cards for the past two years.

The stage is now set. The problem is Chi-ling appears to be holding a candle for Yan and vice versa, so when the model said all she wanted for Christmas was a boyfriend, Yan appeared on Hunan TV's Happy Camp on New Year's Day and got all emotional talking about her, indicating he wanted to rekindle their relationship.

The obstacle, it appears, is Wu Tzu-mei, Chi-ling's mother, who is backing Scott Qiu in the marriage stakes. After Yan went on Happy Camp, Wu responded that he was interfering: "This will hinder other people's marriages. [Yan] really should not hype this [their past] anymore," she told reporters.

She insisted the wedding with Qiu would go ahead at the end of this year. The famously filial Chi-ling is now in the position of having to defy her mother if she wants to follow her heart and reignite a relationship with Yan; or do as she's told and make an alliance with the Qiu family. Like all good celebrity gossip, it has all the required elements of tragedy and comedy. Keep tuned for further updates.

Another couple with a history are former boy band mates Zhou Mi and Han Geng, of the Korean group Super Junior. Han Geng famously left the band and then successfully sued its management by claiming his contract was unlawful.

Over the weekend, Zhou responded to a comment from a fan of Han on a Sina Weibo microblog saying that Zhou was unfriendly and unpleasant.

"Get the hell out of here. Shame on you! Seeing Han Geng makes me sick, you redneck!" Zhou responded.

A minute later the post was deleted and Zhou claimed his account had been hacked; but it was found that both the original comment and his retraction were from the same phone (his), according to Yangtze Evening Post.

This is not the first time Zhou has let fly without thinking first. In 2009, while promoting an album in China, he said he had felt tremors from the Sichuan earthquake the previous year and described them as, "Quite fun!"

This, understandably, caused an uproar and though he apologized, many netizens called on him to retire from showbiz.

His attack on the super popular Han is not likely to help his cause either.

China Daily

(China Daily 01/07/2011 page20)

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