Erkang from My Fair Princess chooses farming over showbiz

PHOTO: Screengrab/Weibo

Over 20 years since the iconic Chinese drama My Fair Princess first lit up our TV screens, stars Vicki Zhao, Ruby Lin and Fan Bingbing are still prominent actresses but less is known about Zhou Jie, who shot to stardom playing the royal guard Fu Erkang.

So, where is he now?

Well, according to Chinese media reports, the 49-year-old is now a bona fide farmer.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Weibo
PHOTO: Screengrab/Weibo

From walking red carpets to ploughing farmlands, Zhou's career change may read like a fall from grace but the Young Justice Bao star is doing very well for himself — media reports estimate that he's worth more than 100 million yuan (S$19.5 million).

Zhou reportedly owns five companies, a winery and over 165 acres of farmland where he grows organic rice and vegetables.

He also founded his own brand Zhou Xian Sheng (Mr Zhou) in 2014, which started off selling rice and now has several product lines including flour, tea and camellia oil.

PHOTOS: Screengrab/Weibo

Zhou, whose last film was the 2015 thriller The Dangerous Affair, explained his disenchantment with showbiz in a recent Weibo post: "It's been a long time since I acted in a drama. Either people think I'm unsuitable, or I think they're unsuitable. These things can't be forced. There has to be mutual appreciation."

Despite the breakout success of My Fair Princess and its sequel, Zhou's acting career had been plagued for years by talk of discord with his co-stars and false rumours that he had fought with a security guard in 2008 and left the scene of a car accident in 2009.

He gradually began to withdraw from the entertainment industry, only making sporadic appearances in dramas and films over the years.

While his career move may seem unconventional to some, Zhou explained that he's all about the simple life now.

"I acted because it was my original interest. Entering the organic food industry was also because of my own needs. I still don't know if I will be able to do one last thing, which is to give my family a peaceful life."

kimberlylim@asiaone.com

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