Connect with us

Entertainment News

The Richest Actress In China Might Be On The Run From Her Own Government


Last Updated: 10 minutes Ago
  • Zhao Wei is a bit like the Jennifer Lopez of China. Actually, she’s more like the Jennifer Lopez PLUS Reese Witherspoon, of China. Also known as Vicki Zhao, she is an actress, singer, director, producer and entrepreneur. And like Jennifer and Reese, Vicki is rich. Extremely rich. Much richer than her American celebrity mogul counterparts.
  • Not only has Vicki consistently been been one of the highest-paid celebrities in China for the last two decades, she is also a savvy entrepreneur.
  • In America, Zhao’s level of success would land her on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. In China this kind of success has landed Vicki in extremely hot water with her government. To the point where she was recently deleted from Chinese internet and streaming platforms and then had to hop on a private jet, flee the country and might be living on the run at this very moment.

Background

  • Zhao Wei was born on March 12, 1976 in Wuhu, Anhui, China. In high school a movie called “A Soul Haunted by Painting” was being filmed in Wuhu and Zhao landed a non-speaking cameo role as a prostitute in a brothel. It was her first acting experience and she was hooked.
  • At 18 she moved to Shanghai and enrolled in an acting school. In 1996 she landed a coveted admission to Beijing Film Academy’s School of Performing Arts. She had the highest admission test scores of any applicant in the entire country that year.
  • Four years later she graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Performing Arts. She had nearly perfect grades at the school and received a 90 out of 100 on her senior thesis.

Acting Stardom

  • In 1998, while still studying at the Beijing Film Academy, Zhao began appearing on a TV series called “My Fair Princess.” The show became an unexpected sensation, garnering massive ratings all over Southeast Asia and propelling Zhao to a household name overnight. The role eventually earned her the Chinese version of a Best Actress Emmy.
  • In 2001 she shifted her focus to films, starting with a movie called “Shaolin Soccer.” Over the next two decades Zhao appeared in dozens of movies, many of which were box office smashes. She could easily demand a salary of $10-20 million per movie.

Singing Career

  • Zhao Wei also embarked on a singing career. Between 1999 and 2009 she released seven studio albums and 45 music videos. Her first three albums went platinum.

Directing Stardom

  • In 2012, a time when she was one of the country’s most-famous celebrities, Zhao decided to go back to school. She enrolled back at the Beijing Film Academy and earned an MFA from the school’s directing institute.
  • A year later her directorial debut, “So Young,” was released. In its opening weekend the movie earned 141 million yuan, making Zhao Wei the first female director whose debut film earned more than 100 million yuan. Within a week the movie had earned 350 million yuan. It eventually earned 700 million yuan. That’s the same as around $109 million USD. At that point it was the fifth highest-earning movie in Chinese box office history.

Endorsements

  • Over the years Zhao has had endorsement deals with well over 100 major brands. Some of the most significant brands in her endorsement portfolio include Versace, Motorola, Samsung, DeBeers, Dior and Mercedes Benz. She is currently the Chinese primary ambassador of Italian brand Fendi.

Alibaba Pictures and Other Investments

  • Here’s where things get interesting AND where Zhao Wei inadvertently set herself up for some future trouble.
  • Back in June 2014, Zhao’s good friend Jack Ma bought a majority stake in a failing movie production company called ChinaVision. He soon renamed the operation Alibaba Pictures.
  • A few months later, in December 2014, Jack reached out to Zhao Wei and her husband Huang. At his encouragement they decided to invest in Alibaba Pictures.
  • Zhao and Huang paid the equivalent of $400 million (that’s how rich she already was) for a 9% stake in the production company. So at this point the company was worth around $4 billion
  • Alibaba Picture’s stock price proceeded to explode. Just six months later the company was worth $10 billion. After taxes and some dilution, today Zhao’s Alibaba stake was worth north of $1 billion.
  • With their now-extreme wealth, Zhao and Huang proceeded to make other venture capital investments. Through their investment company, Longwei Culture & Media, they bought an animation studio and a mobile gaming company. They eventually listed both on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
  • They also paid $8 million for a winery in France called Chateau Monlot.

Troubles

  • In 2018 Zhao and Huang received a 5-year ban from Chinese securities markets. According to reports at the time, the couple used her celebrity to announce a planned acquisition of a company that they maybe did not actually intend to buy or could not afford to buy. But life went on.
  • Fast forward to the present.
  • On Thursday of last week, Zhao was essentially scrubbed from the Chinese internet. Many of her shows and movies were simply deleted. The ones that were left up removed her name from the credits. Her fan pages on Chinese social media sites have been deleted. All discussion of Zhao on social media is banned. People using hashtags related to her name will find that the text gets automatically deleted.

Why is this Happening?

  • Chinese authorities have recently launched a campaign to crackdown on celebrity “fan” culture. Perhaps because she is one of the most famous, and likely the richest Chinese celebrity, that makes Zhao Wei a prime target for authorities. Her connection to Jack Ma has also not helped. Jack has been under attack by Chinese regulators for months. The regulators went so far as to scuttle the planned IPO for his payment company, costing the mogul billions.

On the Run

  • Over the weekend, after she had been effectively deleted from the world, Zhao and her husband were reportedly seen boarding their private jet and fleeing from a Chinese airport. Hours later, that same jet was reportedly spotted landing in Bordeaux, France, not far from where they own their vineyard.
  • Zhao denied these rumors in an Instagram post, claiming she was staying with her parents in Beijing. That post was soon deleted.
  • Imagine how weird it would be if suddenly Jennifer Lopez or Reese Witherspoon were on the run from the US government… flying around on a private jet trying to find save haven. Imagine if the US government ordered that all of Jennifer and Reese’s movies be wiped from all streaming platforms. Actually I might support that decision.
  • The Zhao Wei situation is a major mystery that is unfolding as we speak. We’ll keep you posted if we hear any more news her whereabouts.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Entertainment News

How Nollywood roles influenced Yul Edochie’s reality

Published

on

By

Following the recent scandals in the entertainment circles of Nigeria, it may be safe to say that many of the movies produced in Nigeria are perhaps the real lives of the movie producers.

This assumption now appears a bit factual considering the current happenings in the family of leading Nollywood actor, director and writer, Yul Edochie.

The actor recently made public his decision to take a second wife who also happened to be one of his colleagues in the movie industry.

His decision which has so far generated backlashes on social media is one pointer to how moviemakers turn their real lives into movie scripts or turn their scripts into real-life experiences.

There is a wise saying that movies can affect society in both positive and negative ways and that man cannot act in isolation.

Films also expand one’s basic knowledge of the world around them and can create violence, bad habits or good habits and can send a bad or good message to the public.

Now, the question is, what message has Yul Edochie sent out to the public? This may be rhetorical but insightful.

Edochie has played various movie roles in which he is entangled between two or more women. In most cases, he marries a beautiful wife and gets involved with another outside his home.

Edochie and his new wife, Judy may have taken their movie roles more seriously than anyone could have imagined, having moved their on-set romance to real life.

We have seen movies where Edochie and Judy acted as a couple in a love triangle.

For instance in the movies ‘My marriage fears, The native girl, Edochie played the character of a city man who married a woman brought to him from the village by his mother, interestingly, the village wife’s character was played by Judy.

There is an unwritten rule that actresses and actors cannot be judged by the roles they play in movies, especially when their characters are flat, static or pure evil.

For instance, seeing movie veteran, Kanayo O. Kanayo at Obi Cubana’s mother’s burial raining Naira notes and throwing wads of dollars in the air will immediately drag one’s attention to his numerous ritualist adventures in front of the cameras in a movie.

Back to Yul and his marriage scandal, there are now questions whether his decision was with the consent of his wife, May. Did May approve the decision of Edochie to take a second wife? Did his family support his decision? And most importantly, whether Yul was influenced by his acting roles or was this a mere coincidence?

Concerning questions about his first wife consenting to his taking a second wife, Yul’s brother, Uche Edochie had taken to Instagram to reveal that May did not agree to a polygamous home and that the best the family can do is to console her at the moment.

May had confirmed Uche’s revelation with a cryptic message she dropped on social media pronouncing God’s judgement on Edochie and his second wife.

Yul’s brother also disclosed that his family was against the decision of taking a second wife but the actor went ahead with his decision.

Despite the opinions of Nigerians, Edochie hailed himself for taking responsibility for his actions and stepping up, unlike other men who are hypocrites.

There are indications from Judy’s page that the affair between the two may have started when they worked together on movies he directed and acted in as far back as October 2021. On her page, she has videos celebrating Pete Edochie and also Yul.

Since logic is a way to come to conclusions and morality a way to evaluate actions as good or evil, let us evaluate the views of some Nigerians on this trending issue:

Veteran comedian, Ali Baba speaking on TVC on Thursday on the matter said in Africa polygamy is acceptable, therefore Edochie’s action is difficult to judge.

He said although it is difficult to accept a second wife, it is our reality and people will have to learn to deal with it.

He said, “The African setting is polygamous but we embraced the western setting. Polygamy is not wrong in an African setting. Would you have preferred Edochie to have the lady as a baby mama than a second wife? We don’t know his relationship with his wife, her response to his post speaks a lot of volumes about their relationship.

Some women back in the day would allow their husbands to get a second wife to fulfil his needs if she cannot satisfy him. Things like this happen but it is the family and orientation. If it is a Muslim family it wouldn’t be a problem.

“No matter what, even in a Muslim home the second wife will not accept a third wife. It is difficult to accept a second wife but this is the reality and we have to deal with it.”

Mr Chukwudi, a marriage counsellor from Imo State posited that Edochie and Judy have acted in various movies including Igbo movies as a couple and it is sad to see this coming to reality.

Edochie had always praised his wife for how loving she had been and supportive so this is a betrayal to her and a fault on his part, Chukwudi told Estherblog.

According to him, “Edochie did wrong to his wife because from the second wife’s social media page you can see that they both have been working together and that means having an affair from 2021.

“Legally, it is wrong to marry another woman without the consent of the first wife, Biblically as a Christian, it is not acceptable but traditionally in some places in Igbo land you must pay the bride price before you can have access to your child. This may have been one of the reasons Yul Edochie went ahead to marry her.

But paying bride price of a second wife traditionally must be done with the first wife’s consent and publicly not how Edochie did his.”

With trending videos of scenes from movies Edochie acted with Judy Austin, Nigerians have come to the conclusion that the time spent on scenes may have influenced the actor’s choice of getting a second wife.

Estherblog spoke to a mother of four, Mrs Ekanem who posited that Edochie’s action may have hindered other married women in future from achieving their dreams of being actresses.

This Edochie’s story shows that sometimes all that happens in movies happens in real life. He has made things difficult for married women who want to be actresses as their husbands will find it difficult to trust them in love scenes.

“No matter what his wife did, it is wrong for him to marry a second wife unless he wants to convert to Islam. It is really wrong because this seems like a case of him cheating and the lady falling pregnant which forced him to get married.

This should serve as a lesson to young men out there who feel cheating is a normal thing, they should know that their homes will never be peaceful once they start cheating and this will affect the children in the long run.”

Continue Reading

Trending