Born into a showbiz family – both his parents are famous actors in Hong Kong – Nicholas Tse left school at the age of 16 to devote himself to a singing career. Since then, his face has adorned countless advertisements in China (such as for Pepsi and local sportswear brand Xtep) and he has sold millions of albums. In 2006, he married actress Cecilia Cheung. Previously he dated one of Asia’s top pop stars, Faye Wong (see WiC9).
Why is he famous?
Tse grabbed headlines when he was convicted of obstruction of justice in 2002 for letting his driver take the rap after he slammed his Ferrari 360 Modena into roadside railings in Hong Kong. A fortnight in prison did little to dent his popularity. After release, he re-emerged with a new album.
He has never claimed to be a role model. In response to accusations that he has not set much of an example for his fans, Tse told TIME magazine in 2003: “Who’s perfect? You shouldn’t curse, you shouldn’t say s—- or f—-, right? Sorry, I do that. You shouldn’t smoke, right? I do that… I’ve never been that perfect-idol guy. For me, there is no perfect.”
More recently, Tse has turned to acting, recently winning best actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in the police-action film The Stool Pigeon. The year before he had won best supporting actor for his role in Bodyguards and Assassins.
Why is he in the news?
More for his personal than his professional life these days. Tse’s marriage to Cheung (who featured in a series of lewd photos with another celebrity, Edison Chen, in 2008) is apparently on the rocks. The couple, who have two sons, tried to patch things up in the aftermath of the Chen scandal. But relations now seem to have soured, with both sides launching a PR war. Cheung has accused Tse of pretending to be a good husband while actually neglecting his family. Opting for the highroad, Tse instead thanked Cheung “for her sacrifices over the last five years” and – to general amazement in the Chinese media – is said to be offering to hand her his sizeable property portfolio.
Perhaps that is because he wants to ring-fence his business interests. Tse recently revealed his role as the founder of a post-production company in Hong Kong, which now gets plenty of work on advertising and film projects in the territory.
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