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Crouching tigress, hidden reasons: Zhang Ziyi engaged
By Chen Nan (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-07-16 09:11

Zhang Ziyi is without a doubt one of the hottest leading ladies in Asia. Sorry guys, she's about to be taken.

The international acclaimed star is making headlines again - this time the reason isn't a new film, but the fact that the 29-year-old actress has just said "yes" to the marriage proposal of Vivi Nevo, her boyfriend of one year.

The Golden Globe-nominated actress and her sweetheart are currently planning to tie the knot in 2009.

Vivi Nevo and Zhang Ziyi arrive for the annual Allen & Co's media conference last Thursday in Sun Valley, Idaho. [Agencies]

Zhang won worldwide recognition for her memorable role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, then returned to the big screen in Memoirs of a Geisha, co-starring Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh.

Nevo, 41, a New York-based Israeli venture capitalist, has been called an "international multi-millionaire of mystery" by the media in the United States.

The low-key billionaire made a rare high-profile announcement of his engagement while attending the annual conference of Allen & Company in Sun Valley, Idaho, according to the Associated Press.

Zhang, who is now largely based in Hollywood, accompanied Nevo to the event, though she didn't comment on the engagement.

Rumors that the couple was engaged began to swirl this spring, when Zhang wore a diamond ring to a pre-Grammys party.

Nevo was in China with Zhang Ziyi last year while she was filming Chen Kaige's Mei Lanfang. He also paid visits to Zhang's parents, according to reports.

Some have also speculated that the rich man is the driving financial force behind the actress's next three film contracts.

The two were first spotted together at an NBA game in January 2007. They kissed in front of the cameras, in the front row of the VIP seats. This caused a huge wave of speculation.

Zhang Ziyi and Vivi Nevo sit together at an NBA game in this January 2007 file photo. [Agencies]

Because her boyfriend's face was not instantly recognizable to observers, many initial guesses circulated as to his identity. Some initially thought he was a C-list French actor, while others said he was a young entrepreneur and neighbor of US president George Bush. Later it was revealed that he is one of the richest men in New York.

Nevo has also previously been linked with British supermodel Kate Moss and Brazilian model Jeisa Chiminazzo.

Before Nevo, Zhang was involved with Eric Fok Kai San, now 24, the second son of the wealthy Fok family from Hong Kong, whose business is in Macao casinos. They met in March 2004 but split up quietly two years later.

Neither Zhang nor Nevo have openly admitted to their relationship, though the couple has been photographed together at numerous parties and film festivals. Zhang did not deny the romance but said: "I won't speak about personal matters. Anyway, I'm very happy now."

Millions of Zhang's fans are surprised by the news. They are puzzled as to why Zhang wants to marry Nevo. Some fans suspect that the actress is marrying Nevo for his wealth. Others contend that she is already rich.

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Rumors have reached such a frenzy that an entire page of has been devoted to a special collection of reactions from fans - with more than a dozen articles and debates as to whether the romance is genuine. The actress has not responded to any of these debates.

Reports say that Zhang has recently teamed up with the wife of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, Wendi Deng, to open a new film studio. Meanwhile, Zhang is set to go behind the camera with her new film studio. Asked about the project, the actress reportedly said: "I've been acting and learnt quite a bit. I hope to learn more of different things."

Reports said the first film to be rolled out by the venture may be an adaptation of writer Shan Sa's novel, Empress, about Chinese empress Wu Zetian. Fans of the star can next see Zhang Ziyi share the silver screen with Dennis Quaid and Eric Balfour in The Horsemen, which is scheduled to hit US theaters in August.