Taiwanese-American pop star and actor Wang Leehom has apologized to his family and fans and said he will take a break from his career after a high-profile social media dispute with his ex-wife, who accused him of infidelity and hiring prostitutes.
Wang wrote in a statement posted to his official Weibo account, offering his solemn apologies, “I didn’t manage my marriage properly, caused trouble for my family, and didn’t give the public the image an idol should have — all of it’s my fault. I am prepared to quit work temporarily to make time to spend with my parents and children and make up for the damage caused by this storm.”
Last week, Wang Leehom confirmed on social media that he had formally split with his ex-wife Lee Jinglei. The Taiwan News estimated the value of the assets and alimony she will receive in the divorce to be around $40 million, about a third of the singer’s wealth. The case has drawn particular attention because of Wang’s previously clean-cut image, which conflicts with the accusations slung at him on Friday in a long social media diatribe by his former wife of eight years.
According to Variety, Chinese officials have been trumpeting the need for celebrities to act as strong societal role models. Even more consequential was an admonishment from the Chinese Communist Party’s highest disciplinary body, the Central Committee of Disciplinary Inspection (CCDI) that appeared to be directed at Wang. “The recent case of the collapse of a celebrity’s image has once again proven that the words and actions of public figures receive a lot of attention and their actions impact society,” it said in a statement.
Last month, dozens of online influencers and three celebrities were blacklisted by the China Association of Performing Arts for “generating negative social impact.”
In its wake, brands including Japanese auto manufacturer Infiniti, Chinese electronic learning product manufacturer Readboy, and Hong Kong’s Chow Tai Seng Jewellery ended partnerships with Wang Leehom.
U.S.-born Wang Leehom is one of the Chinese-speaking world’s top pop stars, and has had acting roles in numerous films as well, including Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, 2009’s Little Big Soldier opposite Jackie Chan, and 2015’s Blackhat alongside Chris Hemsworth. In 2019, he was given the Asia Society’s Game Changer Award.
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