Rumours that the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com and his wife have divorced have been quickly squashed by the couple's lawyer on Valentine's Day.
Any claims about a divorce were deliberate rumours created from nowhere and evidence would be collected, and legal action taken, lawyer Zhou Junwu said in a statement on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo on Thursday afternoon.
The strongly worded statement followed recent claims by a social media user that JD.com chief executive Richard Liu Qiangdong and his wife Zhang Zetian had separated.
There has been speculation about the marriage since the 45-year-old billionaire was briefly detained in Minneapolis, Minnesota over allegations of rape made by a Chinese woman last August when he was attending a university business programme.
Liu was soon released and cleared of felony rape charges due to insufficient evidence.
In September, in what appeared to be another attempt to quash rumours of their separation, Zhang posted a photo on her WeChat Moments page showing two adult hands and the hand of a young child holding a mooncake during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.
"As long as the whole family is together, life is complete. Hope that with perseverance the clouds will part to show the moon," wrote Zhang, the 25-year-old online star, in the accompanying photo caption.
Liu and Zhang have a daughter.
In October, the pair was seen holding hands on the street of London and they attended the British royal wedding together in December.
But the rumours returned when Zhang was reported to have sold her three-level penthouse in Sydney for US$16 million, suffering a loss of US$2 million.
Zhang graduated from Tsinghua University in 2011 and married Liu in Australia three years later. She has been a spokesperson for her husband's company, as well as starting her own business.
According to Sina News the couple have frequently attended public events together.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.