Born in Rochester, New York, Wang Leehom is the second of three sons in an immigrant family from Taiwan. He started taking violin lessons at the age of three, discovering a talent for music. After graduating from Williams College, Wang went on to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Why is he famous?
Known for his boyish good looks and mastery of a variety of instruments – he plays violin, piano, drums, guitar and the Chinese erhu) – Wang has sold millions of records since releasing his first solo album in 1995.
He has also won four of Taiwan’s Golden Melody Awards, a Grammy-equivalent.
In the last few years Wang has also worked in film with a supporting role in Lee Ang’s Lust, Caution (2007) and more recently starring opposite Zhang Ziyi in My Lucky Star (2013).
His alma mater Berklee School of Music went so far as to call him “a cultural icon for a generation of Asian youth”.
Why is he in the news?
Last Wednesday, the singer-actor-composer surprised his fans by announcing that he has found “Forever Love” (the title of one of his more popular ballads) in the person of Lee Jinglei, a graduate student from Columbia University.
Wang made the declaration on his personal weibo, with his post forwarded over 800,000 times and generating about 420,000 comments in the space of a few days.
But that wasn’t all. Two days later his agent confirmed that the couple had married in the US.
To his fans this was all fairly unprecedented stuff, not least because it’s the first time that Wang has officially acknowledged a romantic relationship. Indeed, the very fact that he’s been without an obvious girlfriend since he shot to fame sparked a good deal of speculation about his private life. That is likely to subside now that he has a wife. (In 2008 Wang said he had a lot of gay friends, but pointedly told the Yangtze Evening News, “I am not gay”.)
On weibo netizens gave their views on Wang’s nuptials, with some struggling to come to terms with the news.
“I am weeping but I still send you my best wishes,” one netizen despaired.
“Just like it is very hard to remain friends after a break-up, to give my blessing to the person I have loved for 15 years is heartbreaking,” another one lamented.
© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.
Exclusively sponsored by HSBC.
The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.