Chinese Megastar Fan Bing Bing Splits From Fiancé Li Chen After Two Years

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Fan Bing Bing? New Details On The Actress' Split From Li Chen And Her Tax Trouble

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing announced yesterday that she was splitting from her fiancé Li Chen after being engaged for two years.

The highest-paid actress in China has been slowly returning to public life after being in near-hiding for several months last year during a tax scandal that had her pitted against the enforcement arm of the Chinese Communist Government. She had been hiding income and underpaying taxes for years until a leaked contract brought her to the attention of the government. Her disappearance during the investigation terrified fans and industry insiders, as they worried that she had been harmed by the notoriously repressive regime.

She returned to public life this spring and is moving ahead with a planned US film produced by Jessica Chastain but her love life isn’t coming back together as well.

Who is Fan Bingbing? Read on for all the details.

1. Megastar

Fan has been named the highest-paid actress in China, making a name for herself in the country’s burgeoning entertainment industry as well as appearing in Hollywood films like X-Men: Days of Future Past. Her career broke out in 1998 with the mega-hit TV series My Fair Princess, and she went on to work in Cell Phone, which became the highest-grossing Chinese film of 2003. Since then, she has been in a steady stream of Chinese films and tv shows and ultimately she founded her own television production company.

Fan is extremely popular in China.

2. BreakUp

Fan has been engaged to fellow actor Li Chen since 2017, People reports. The pair had met working on a Chinese television program The Empress of China together. But yesterday, she posted to Weibo, the Chinese answer to Facebook —a site that is banned by the highly restrictive government —to break the news of their split, saying "People’s life may experience various farewells,” Fan, 37, wrote. “The love and warmth that we have gained in our encounters are turned into eternal power. Thank you for all your giving, support and love. Thank you for your care and love in the future.”

She added, “We are no longer us, we are still us.”

They got engaged in 2017.

RELATED: Who Is Fan Bingbing? 4 New Details About The Missing Chinese Actress

3. Tax scandal

The broken engagement is only the latest blow in Fan’s life. Last year, she was targeted by the Chinese government in a growing investigation into tax practices in the Chinese film industry. While the Chinese government has been encouraging the growth of the film industry as what Bloomberg describes as “as an instrument of soft power, influencing how citizens view the country while curbing the influence of outsiders,” they had also largely turned a blind eye to tax evasion within the industry. After a newscaster allegedly leaked one of Fan’s contracts, the government took a closer look at her finances. Bloomberg says: “The contracts allegedly showed that Fan had employed a sham dual contract system. Per one contract, Fan made $1.6 million for her work one the movie…Per another, she earned $7.8 million. Authorities would receive — and tax her — for the first contract, while Fan pocketed the larger sum tax-free.” This type of contract process is not unusual but Fan was one of the first to be targeted for the practice and as one of China’s biggest stars, the result was a major wake up call to the rest of the industry to stop evading tax payments. Initially, Fan denied the charges. Shortly after that, she all but vanished from Chinese media and made no public statements or appearances. When she resurfaced, it was to apologize and pay a staggering amount of money in back taxes and fines.

Fan was ubiquitous in China, on billboards and in advertisements.

4. Apology

In her apology, Fan took to social media to offer her apologies, saying, ”As a public figure, I should have abided by laws and regulations, and been a role model in the industry and society. I shouldn't have lost self-restraint or become lax in managing my companies, which led to the violation of laws in the name of economic interests.”

She followed by praising the government of China, In a statement that is likely an attempt to curry favor with authorities and save her career, she wrote: “As an actor, I take pride in showcasing our country’s culture on the global stage, and I do my best to be in the forefront of this. I owe my success to the support of my country and the people. Without the great policies of the [Communist] Party and the state, without the love of the people, there would have been no Fan Bingbing.”

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She has only recently started appearing in public again.

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5. Future career

After the tax scandal, Fan’s entire career was in doubt. The government has banned performers in the past, cutting short careers, though they did not appear to do this with Fan. However, Chinese entertainment companies have been leery about working with her after she drew negative attention. In April, news broke that she was still on board for an upcoming thriller called 355, being produced by Jessica Chastain. Her participation had actually been announced prior to the tax troubles and she’ll be starring alongside  Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard with director Simon Kinberg. Per Variety, the April announcement read, “The project is moving forward with the original cast and filmmaker, and a start date announcement with full details will be forthcoming.”

Her next film will be the thriller 355.

Filming for the project is set to begin later this year, so audiences can look forward to seeing Fan again in 2020 or 2021, depending on the production schedule.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.