Rocker, judge, skilled mahjong player: 5 things to know about Zhang Ziyi's fiance Wang Feng

Rocker, judge, skilled mahjong player: 5 things to know about Zhang Ziyi's fiance Wang Feng
Wang Feng as a judge during the third season of The Voice Of China. The rocker proposed to actress Zhang Ziyi on Feb 7, 2015.

Pity Wang Feng, the latest fiance of Zhang Ziyi. No sooner had the news of the 43-year-old's successful proposal at the Chinese actress' 36th birthday party last Saturday been reported than the online mockery started.

On NetEase website, netizens congratulated him on making headline news. One user said Wang's headline-grabbing feat merited "tears of joy" and another said it "was not easy" for him.

On www.ifeng.com, the title of the website's proposal story read "Wang Feng finally hits the headlines, successfully proposes to Zhang Ziyi with a 9.15 carat ring".

Judging by such comments, you would think Wang is a neighbourhood karaoke champion who has overreached himself with his romance with a global film star (one who has been dubbed "International Zhang", no less, in the Chinese news).

In fact, he is a rocker of some renown in China, though it is true that his regional profile has risen only since 2013, the year he went on the hit singing competition The Voice Of China as a judge and his relationship with Zhang came to light.

1. He is China's answer to Adam Levine

The Voice Of China didn't have a sexy rock star on its panel before Wang was brought on board in the show's second season, after his hits, such as Beijing Beijing, featured in the first season.

Next to Yang Kun, the clown on the panel, and Na Ying, the drama queen, Wang is the scholarly charmer, pronouncing his thoughts on contestants with quiet authority.

2. Like his fiancee, he was born in Beijing and educated at a leading arts institute in the capital

He was a violin student at the Central Conservatory of Music, China's top music school.

While his fiancee jumped from the Central Academy of Drama to a shiny career in films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000, he didn't do too shabbily.

He founded 43 Baojia Street, a rock band that took its name from the address of his school, when he was a student. The group released its self-titled first record in 1997, two years after he graduated. He made his solo debut with the album Fireworks in 2000.

You might also know his music from I Am A Singer 2, the competition in which Hong Kong singer G.E.M. drew Chinese viewers' attention with her version of his hit song Exist, and Beijing Bicycle, the 2001 Chinese film for which he wrote a score.

3. He announced his second divorce on Weibo on Sept 13, 2013, hours before pop superstar Faye Wong and her second husband, actor Li Yapeng, lit up social media with their divorce announcement

Since then, Wang has been teased online for his bad timing. At his concert in Shanghai in November that year, he confessed his love for Zhang and said he would make her "the happiest woman in the world", only to be upstaged in the headlines by football club Guangzhou Evergrande winning the AFC Champions League.

Also that month, he released a new song, Born In Hesitation, but it was overshadowed by television star Nicky Wu's confirmation of his romance with his co-star Liu Shishi. On Weibo, "Help Wang Feng hit the headlines" became a trending topic.

4. It all began at the mahjong table

Little is known of how Wang met Zhang. But according to NetEase, they became acquainted through mahjong, a game both enjoy. Wang is said to be skilled at mahjong and Texas hold 'em.

In early 2013, months before the romance was public, he was seen helping an old couple win at a Texas hold 'em table in Macau. They turned out to be Zhang's parents, said NetEase.

5. Wang is said to have been Zhang's secret mentor when she was a judge on the Chinese version of The X Factor

In March 2013, Zhang was criticised by Na, his fellow judge on The Voice Of Judge, who said the actress did not have the credentials to coach a winning contestant on a singing competition.

But Zhang did just that with Wang as her strategist, said NetEase. In July that year, they were spotted at a concert of Eason Chan, her fellow judge on The X Factor, in Hong Kong. It was one of the first sightings of the couple.

Wang has two daughters with a former girlfriend and his second wife. His agent has said the end of his second marriage is unrelated to Zhang.


This article was first published on Feb 9, 2015.
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