Zhang Ziyi is a Chinese actress. Her first major role was in The Road Home (1999). She later achieved fame for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards.
Born Name Zhang Ziyi
Nick Name Zhang
Occupation Actress and model
Years active 1996–present
Born: February 09, 1979, 43 years old and 11 months, Beijing, China
Sun Sign Aquarius
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Dark Brown
Height 5 ft 5 in or 165 cm
Measurement 32-24-34 (81.28 – 60.96 – 86.36 cm)
Bra size 32B
Zhang Ziyi started taking dance lessons at the age of 8. By the age of 11, she got enrolled at the Beijing Dance Academy on her parents’ advice. However, she didn’t like the atmosphere at the boarding school and ran away from the school. But, she eventually managed to graduate from the academy.
In 1996, she got enrolled at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. She was 17 years old at that time.
Father – Zhang Yuanxiao (Accountant and Economist)
Mother – Li Zhuosheng (Kindergarten Teacher)
Siblings – Zhang Zinan (Older Brother)
Zhang Ziyi is represented by
Mosaic (Talent Management Company)
William Morris Endeavor
Chinese. She has Han ancestry.
Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China. Her father was an accountant and later economist, and her mother, a kindergarten teacher. She has an older brother with whom she was very close. Zhang began studying dance when she was 8 years old; subsequently, she joined the Beijing Dance Academy at her parents’ suggestion at the age of 11. While at this boarding school, she noticed how mean the other girls were to each other while competing for status amongst the teachers. Zhang disliked the attitudes of her peers and teachers so much that, on one occasion, she ran away from the school. At the age of 15, Zhang won the national youth dance championship and also appeared in a handful of tv commercials and began appearing in television commercials in Hong Kong.
In 1996, Zhang entered the prestigious Central Academy of Drama in Beijing at the age of 17.
In the West, Zhang is best known for her appearances in Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), and House of Flying Daggers (2004). Her most critically acclaimed works are Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), which earned her nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role; and The Grandmaster (2013), for which she won 12 different Best Actress awards to become the most awarded actress for a single film.
From 2004 to 2010, Zhang ranked in the Top 5 of Forbes China Celebrity 100 list every year. In 2008, she was awarded with the Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Cinema award at the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival. In 2013, she received the French Cultural Order at the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Zhang most recently appeared in the J.J. Abrams-produced Netflix film The Cloverfield Paradox (2018). She will star in the upcoming film Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a sequel to the 2014 franchise reboot film Godzilla.
1999–2000: Early career
In 1998, while she was studying in Central Academy of Drama, Zhang was offered her first role by director Zhang Yimou in his film The Road Home, which won the Silver Bear prize at the 2000 Berlin International Film Festival. Zhang plays a country girl in love with the town young teacher, she won the Best Actress Award at the 2000 Hundred Flowers Awards for her performance.
She is considered one of the Four Dan Actresses of China.
2000–06: Wuxia epics and international breakthrough
She rose to international fame in 2000 with her role as Yu Jiaolong in Ang Lee re-visioned martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The movie success in the US and Europe helped her break into Hollywood. Zhang plays a young Manchu noblewoman who has secretly learned martial arts and runs off to become a wandering swordswoman rather than commit to an arranged marriage. This role won her the Most Promising Actress award at the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and Best Supporting Actress awards from the Independent Spirit Awards, as well as Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.
Zhang then appeared in her first American film, Rush Hour 2 (2001). On playing her first villain role, Zhang expressed that the opportunity to sort of try and analyze the psyche of the character and get to know and pull out emotions I’ve never had to utilize before…was very exciting.
In 2002, Zhang co-starred in Hero alongside Tony Leung, directed by her early mentor Zhang Yimou. The film was a huge success in the English-speaking world and was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe award in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. She then signed on to film an avant-garde drama film Purple Butterfly (2003), which competed in the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
Zhang went back to the martial arts genre in House of Flying Daggers (2004), again by Zhang Yimou, where she starred along Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau. She plays the blind dancing girl Mei, who despite the lack of eyesight, is a skilled fighter. In preparation for the part, Zhang spent two months living with an actual blind girl. Her performance earned her a Best Actress nomination at the BAFTA Awards. She also featured on the House of Flying Daggers soundtrack with her own musical rendition of the ancient Chinese poem Jia Ren Qu (佳人曲, The Beauty Song).
Zhang next starred in Wong Kar-wai romantic drama film 2046 (2004), which featured many top Chinese actors and actresses. Critics praise Zhang for her expressive body language that was combined with her reserved and complex emotions in performance as a struggling prostitute. Zhang won the Hong Kong Film Critics’ Award and Hong Kong Film Academy Award for Best Actress.
In 2005, Zhang featured in the critically acclaimed film Jasmine Women, adapted from Su Tong novel titled Women Lives. She won Best Actress at the Golden Rooster Awards for her performance. Next came Princess Raccoon (2005), directed by Japan Seijun Suzuki, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. For her role, Zhang took two weeks of singing and dancing lessons in Japan.
Showing her whimsical musical tap-dancing side, Zhang played the lead role of Sayuri in the American film adaptation based on the international bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha. Controversy arose in China about having a Chinese woman portray a prominent Japanese geisha. Nonetheless, the film was a box office hit in the West. For the role, Zhang was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.
On 27 June 2005, Zhang accepted an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), placing her among the ranks of those who are able to vote on the Academy Awards. In May 2006, Zhang was chosen as a jury member of Feature Films at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
Zhang returned to China in 2006 for the Chinese wuxia film The Banquet, directed by Feng Xiaogang. The film is a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare Hamlet.
2007–12: Hollywood and China
In 2007, she performed the voice of Karai in the American animated film TMNT (2007).
In Forever Enthralled (2008), which tells the story of legendary Peking opera actor Mei Lanfang, Zhang appears in the second act as Mei lover Meng Xiaodong. The Hollywood Reporter praised her performance as confident and passion, giving the romance a sparkle.
Her next American film was The Horsemen (2009), where she starred opposite Dennis Quaid. Back in China, she played the titular character in romantic comedy Sophie Revenge (2009); a comic book artist seeking to punish her unfaithful boyfriend. She then starred alongside Aaron Kwok in the AIDS-themed film Love for Life (2011).
In 2012, Zhang starred next to Cecilia Cheung and Jang Dong-gun in the Chinese-Korean co-production Dangerous Liaisons, an adaptation of the French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, narrating Shanghai of the 1930s. Zhang was reportedly paid 20 million RMB (approximately $3.5 million) for the role. The same year, she was cast in the coming-of-age film Forever Young directed and written by Li Fangfang. The film is set to premiere in January 2018.
2013–17: Return to stardom
In 2013, Zhang received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her significant contributions to the film industry.
Zhang reunited with Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung for The Grandmaster (2013), which also marks her return to the martial arts genre after 7 years since The Banquet (2006). The film was China submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language Picture. Critics praise Zhang portrayal of Gong’Er as the best performance she ever delivered in the history of her career. which led to her winning several Best Actress trophies across Asia. The same year, she reprised her role as Sophie in My Lucky Star, a sequel to Sophie Revenge. Described as Zhang breakthrough comedy role, the film topped Chinese box office on the week of its release.
In 2014, Zhang starred in John Woo romantic epic The Crossing, based on the true story of the Taiping steamer collision and follows six characters and their intertwining love stories in Taiwan and Shanghai during the 1930s. Zhang plays a poor illiterate woman waiting for her soldier lover in 1930 Shanghai.
In 2015, Zhang produced her third film Oh My God, which stars Zhang Yixing and Li Xiaolu. She made a cameo appearance in the film. Zhang next starred in romance anthology film Run for Love and crime epic The Wasted Times.
2018–present: Hollywood epics
In 2016, Zhang was cast in J. J. Abrams science fiction thriller The Cloverfield Paradox, which premiered in 2018.
In June 2017, Zhang was announced to join the cast of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, playing a prominent character.
In 2012, an overseas Chinese website Boxun falsely reported that Zhang Ziyi was paid $100 million to sleep with top Chinese officials. Zhang sued Boxun in a US court for defamation. In December 2013, Boxun settled the case after agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount to Zhang and issue a front page apology. Zhang also won court cases in Hong Kong against Next Media over similar false reports in Apple Daily and Next Magazine.
In 2012, she is Frolicking on the beach with her billionaire ex-fiance, Chinese actress at the centre of high-class prostitution scandal Zhang Ziyi.
Zhang Ziyi has vehemently denied extraordinary Chinese reports she earned £64million by prostituting herself to a string of powerful Chinese men.
During the period in question she was alleged to have slept with disgraced politician Bo Xilai, she was happily in a long-term relationship with Aviv ‘Vivi’ Nevo.
Several reports in China this week, alleged Zhang had earned millions by sleeping with wealthy businessmen, including Mr Xilai, who was ousted from China powerful politburo amid allegations he and his wife were involved in the murder of Old Harrovian businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011.
In the July 2006 issue of Interview magazine, Zhang spoke of her movies’ contents and being careful about the roles she takes on, especially in Hollywood:
Yes. Otherwise I could have done a lot of Hollywood movies. After Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I got a lot of offers, but I turned them down because they were all victim roles—poor girls sold to America to be a wife or whatever. I know I have the ability to go deeper, to take on more original roles than that. That why I really appreciated Geisha, because it allowed us to show the world what kind of actors we are and what kind of characters we can play—not just action, kick-ass parts.
Zhang obtained Hong Kong residency in 2007 through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme for her contribution to the local film industry.
Zhang is an admirer and collector of the works of the Chinese contemporary artist Shen Jingdong.
Zhang is one of the members of China Zhi Gong Party.
Zhang had been engaged to the Israeli American venture capitalist Aviv Nevo before the couple separated in 2010. Zhang married Chinese rock musician Wang Feng in May 2015.  On December 27, 2015, Zhang gave birth to their daughter Wang Xingxing.
The actress is seen frolicking with her then fiance on a towel, with him fiddling with her bikini bottoms (sse photos).
At one point, she removes her bikini top to avoid getting unsightly tan-lines.
The couple originally dated from 2007 until late 2010, but remained very private about their relationship.
They confirmed their engagement in 2008, but never made it down the aisle.
Nevo, now 47, is an Israeli-American venture capitalist, who is a major shareholder in Time Warner.
According to reports in China, she slept with Bo at least ten times between 2007 and 2011 in exchange for ‘huge’ monetary gifts. The secret trysts are alleged to have taken place in Beijing and to have netted the actress around £1million each time.
Zhang confirmed she had met with lawyers from Hong Kong law firm Haldanes and sent an official notice to Apple Daily following the allegations.
She said in a message of her Weibo page (the Chinese version of Twitter): ‘I met with my lawyer in Hong Kong in the morning to discuss legal measures and just arrived in Hainan. The truth is bound to come to light. And since I have the support of my fans and the law, this will not be a lonely battle.’
Zhang was outraged when Apple Daily picked up on the story, which originated on Boxun.com, a Chinese-language site operated in the United States.
Boxum alleged Zhang was introduced to Bo through a billionaire friend, Xu Ming, who is said to be worth £444million but is reportedly under investigation by the Beijing government over alleged corruption.
Mr Xu, 41, has reportedly claimed to authorities that he paid Zhang £600,000 to have sex with him for the first time in 2007 and that he later negotiated a deal for a similar liaison with Bo.
Following the reports, her publicist sent a lengthy statement to English-language newspaper TodayOnline reading: ‘We read this outrageous report in the Apple Daily. It sent stone-cold chills down our spines and has left us with a feeling of deep sadness. Friends have advised us to release a short statement and not take this seriously.
‘The more you argue, the more you will stir up. It would be better to step aside until people lose interest and the lies disappear. The innocent will always be innocent.
‘We just want to help her get rid of this disturbance and seek justice. Then she will be able to shoot her films in peace and quiet and present you, her fans, with more and better films in return.’
Zhang Ziyi has done endorsement work for the following brands –
Tag Heuer watches
2% (Korean mineral water)
She has appeared in TV commercials for the following products and brands
Kao Corp. Asience shampoo (Japan)
In 1999, Zhang made her theatrical film debut in the Chinese romantic drama movie, The Road Home.
First TV Show
In 2001, Zhang Ziyi made her first TV show appearance as herself in the game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Apart from working out, she relies on her active lifestyle to keep herself in the perfect shape. She is, in particular, a big fan of outdoor activities such as skiing and diving.
Zhang Ziyi often customizes her workout routine as per her acting requirements. For example, to prepare for her role in The Grandmaster, she underwent an intensive workout regime for 6 months. She was training for 6 hours every day. Also, three martial arts masters were hired to make sure that he was completely prepared for the movie.
Boyfriend / Spouse
Zhang Ziyi has dated
Zhang Yimou (1999) – Zhang was reported to be going out with director Zhang Yimou, who had given her first break in acting, in 1999. It was claimed that they had grown close while working on the TV movie, The Road Home.
Jung Woo-sung (2001) – Zhang was going out with South Korean actor Jung Woo-sung in 2001. They had reportedly grown close while working in the South Korean epic movie, Musa, which is known as The Warrior and The Ultimate Warrior in the western countries.
Jackie Chan (2001) – In 2001, the Chinese and Hong Kong-based tabloids linked her with the iconic actor Jackie Chan. It was claimed that their cozy equation had helped her settle down on the sets of The Rush Hour 2 more comfortably.
Brett Ratner (2001) – Towards the end of 2001, Ziyi was also rumored to be dating director Brett Ratner. She had worked with him in The Rush Hour 2.
Eric Fok Kai-shan (2004-2006) – Zhang Ziyi was first linked with Eric Fok Kai-shan, the second son of tycoon Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, in early months of 2004. They were eventually spotted together in April 2004. They dated for about two years before going separate ways in 2006. They were again linked with each other towards the end of 2010. They were spotted getting cozy in Macau. When responding to the media about dating rumors, he didn’t say anything but his mischievous smirk hinted at something.
Aviv Nevo (2006-2010) – The rumors of Zhang going out with the American and Israeli venture capitalist, Aviv Nevo, who is also the biggest stakeholder in Time Warner, first started swirling around in 2006. Soon after, it was rumored that they had even got engaged. In 2008, the engagement rumors were confirmed by Nevo. Towards the end of 2009, they were having troubles with their relationship. The Chinese media claimed that they were having disagreements over property distribution. The reports of their breakup were refuted by her camp in 2009. However, it was made public in 2010 that they had called off their engagement.
Sa Beining (2011-2013) – The reports of Zhang going out with TV host Sa Beining first surfaced at the end of summer of 2011. They had first met in May 2011 after she had appeared on his TV show to promote her new movie, Love for Life. He actively pursued her for 4 months before they officially started dating in 2011. They eventually ended their relationship in 2013.
Wang Feng (2013-Present) – Soon after her separation from Sa Beining, Zhang found solace in the arms of rock musician Wang Feng. Shortly after, they made their relationship public. In February 2015, he proposed to her and they got married in May 2015. She gave birth to a daughter, Wang Xingxing in December 2015. After their marriage, she also became stepmother to his two daughters from his previous relationship.
Zhang Ziyi Favorite Things
Food – Ice Cream
Movie – Chicago (2002)
Zhang Ziyi Facts
At the age of 15, she managed to win the national youth dance championship, which eventually helped her bag gigs in a series of commercials in Hong Kong.
She managed to nab her first major acting gig in the TV movie, The Road Home, while she was still studying at the Central Academy of Drama. The movie was highly acclaimed and managed to win an award at the Berlin Film Festival as well.
In 2001, the FHM Taiwan placed her in the second spot in the list featuring 100 Sexiest Women. In 2002, the FHM UK included her in the similar list.
In 2006, Zhang was honored at the Cannes Film Festival with an inclusion in the main jury of the event.
The Times magazine has included her in the list featuring World 100 Most Influential People. In the same special feature, she was called China gift to Hollywood.
In 2001, Zhang was featured in the “25 Hottest Stars Under 25” list compiled by the Teen People Magazine. She was included in the similar list the following year too.
In 2012, a Chinese website Boxun falsely alleged that Ziyi had earned more than $100 million by sleeping with top Chinese politicians and businessmen. Ziyi responded by filing a defamation lawsuit against the magazine. In December 2013, they reached an undisclosed out of the court settlement and the magazine posted an apology on the front page as well.
Zhang also managed to win court cases against Next Media for having published similar malicious reports in Apple Daily and Next Magazine.
In 2005, she was included in the “50 Most Beautiful People” by People Magazine. In 2006, they featured her on the list featuring “100 Most Beautiful People in the World”.
She was appointed as the Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics held in China in 2007.
She has served as a Global Ambassador for the Children of China Pediatrics Foundation (CCPF), which is a non-profit organization that works to provide medical services to orphans in China.
Zhang was appointed as the spokesperson of the Care for Children, which aims to link children from orphanages to loving families looking to adopt them.
While growing up, she wanted to become a kindergarten teacher just like her mother.
She often uses her skills as a dancer that leaves gap due to her limited martial arts training background.
She reportedly bagged her role in The Road Home based on the work she did in a shampoo advert, which was also directed by Zhang Yimou. Apparently, he used the footage from the advert for the preliminary auditions.
Jackie Chan had to serve as her translator on the sets of the movie, The Rush Hour 2 due to her limited English linguistic skills.
She was featured in top 5 of Forbes China Celebrity 100 list from 2004 to 2010.
In 2013, she was honored by the French government with French Cultural Order at the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Although she has gained a cult status as one of the leading female Kung Fu icons, she is not a big fan of any martial arts discipline.
Best Known For
Being cast in the leading role in the popular martial arts movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
Having played the supporting role in the action comedy movie, Rush Hour 2, which had Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the leading roles.
Being cast in the lead role in the American epic drama movie, Memoirs of a Geisha, which was adapted from the iconic novel of the same title. For her tremendous performance in the movie, she won the nomination for Golden Globe Award and BAFTA Award.