Film & TV

Zhang Ziyi biography: 13 things about actress born in Beijing, China

Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) is one of the most successful Asian actors of all time. She earned international recognition after her role as Jen Yu in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (臥虎藏龍) in 2000.

For this role, Zhang was named Most Promising Actress by the Chicago Film Critics Association, won Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards and the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards and was nominated Best Supporting Actress at the British Academy Film Awards in 2000. For the same role, she won Best Young Actress in an International Film at the Young Artist Award in 2001.

In 2010, Zhang and her then fiance Aviv “Vivi” Nevo, an Israeli-American venture capitalist, separated. She won Best Actress at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival and Asia Pacific Screen Awards for her role as Gong Er in “The Grandmaster” (一代宗師) in 2013 and Best Actress at the Hundred Flowers Awards, Asian Film Awards and at the Asian Film Critics Association Awards in 2014.

For “The Grandmaster” role, Zhang received 12 different Best Actress awards. This made her the most awarded Chinese actress for a single film.

In October 2013, Zhang started dating Chinese rock musician Wang Feng. They got married in May 2015.

Zhang and Wang’s daughter Wang Xingxing was born on December 27, 2015 while their son was born on January 1, 2020. Here are 13 more facts about the Chinese actress:


  1. She was born in Beijing, China on February 9, 1979. Her father Zhang Yuan Xiao is an economist while her mother Li Zhou Sheng is a kindergarten teacher. She has one older brother who owns an advertising agency.
  2. She started her dance training in 1987. She enrolled in the Beijing Dance Academy in Haidian District, Beijing in 1990. In 1996, she entered the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and made her acting debut by playing Chen Wei in the television film “Touching Starlight” (星星點燈).
  3. In 1999, she played Zhao Di in “The Road Home” (我的父親母親). For this role, she won Best Actress at the Hundred Flowers Awards in 2000.
  4. In 2001, she starred with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in “Rush Hour 2.”
  5. To prepare for her role as a blind woman in the 2004 film “House of Flying Daggers,” she spent two months living with a girl who lost her eyesight due to brain tumor. For this role, she won Best Actress at the China Huabiao Film Awards in 2005.
  6. She was nominated Best Actress at the British Academy Film Awards for her role in “House of Flying Daggers” in 2004 and her role as Chiyo Sakamoto/Sayuri Nitta in “Memoirs of Geisha” in 2005.
  7. In 2005, she accepted  an invitation to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). In 2006, she was one of the jury members of feature films at the Cannes Film Festival.
  8. In 2007, she obtained residency in Hong Kong through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme for her contribution to the local film industry. In the same year, she voiced Karai in the computer-animated martial arts superhero film “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2007” (TMNT).
  9. In 2009, she starred in the psychological thriller film “Horsemen” opposite Dennis Quaid. From 2009 to 2010, she served as an Emporio Armani ambassador. She was the first Chinese woman to be appointed as an ambassador of the sub-brand from the Armani line.
  10. In 2013, she served as a judge in “The X Factor: Zhongguo Zui Qiang Yin” (中国最强音). In the same year, she received the French Cultural Order at the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for her significant contributions to the film industry.
  11. She starred with Takeshi Kaneshiro, Song Hye Kyo, Huang Xiaoming, Tong Daweiand Masami Nagasawa in the first and second parts of “The Crossing,” which were released in 2014 and in 2015, respectively.
  12. She served as a mentor in the reality shows “Birth of an Actor” (演员的诞生) and “I am an Actor” (我就是演员) in 2017 and in 2018, respectively. Also in 2018, she starred in the sci-fi horror film “The Cloverfield Paradox” with Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz andDavid Oyelowo.
  13. She played Dr. Ilene Chen and Dr. Ling Chen in the 2019 film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” which also starred Ken Watanabe.

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