Married with kids: Wu Qian, Zhang Yujian

This Weibo post from Zhang Yujian confirms the open secret that he is married to I Only Like You costar Wu Qian, and that the two have a daughter. Congrats to the couple!

The actor is visibly annoyed that he was forced to make the announcement because the paparazzi wouldn’t leave his family alone (as anyone would be), but reactions were mixed given his handling of the rumours over the past year:

We dated, married, and now have an adorable child – steps were taken to ensure all legal procedures were completed. It’s okay if you reproach me, because I don’t know you, and don’t have to tell you anything. I only want my kid to have a normal childhood – you really shouldn’t have taken pictures of my daughter and revealed her name. It is her parents’ fault that she wasn’t protected well enough. Her mother is also very upset. Make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“I only want to be your supporting actor” – the story of Zhang Yunlei and Yang Jiulang

“When I was in the Intensive Care Unit, he promised me … ‘ In the future, whatever makes you happy, whatever you want to do, go do it and  I’ll follow you.’ ” – Zhang Yunlei

Yang Jiulang kept his word.  According to a director of a variety show,  in the two years since Zhang Yunlei came out of the ICU, Yang Jiulang completely molded himself to fit Zhang Yunlei.

He would wheel him around in a wheelchair off stage and be his crutch on stage.  He would stay up until 3am waiting for word that Zhang Yunlei got home safely from filming.   He doesn’t even hand Zhang Yunlei water without first unscrewing the cap. He almost never sings but knows the lyrics to every song Zhang Yunlei sings on stage.  If Zhang Yunlei wants him to sing, all Zhang Yunlei has to do was to stop mid-sentence and look to the left, and Yang Jiulang will finish his sentence without missing a beat.

From love at first meal, two miraculous comebacks, learning to walk three times,  to plenty of foreshadowing and climaxes, the story of singer-comedian Zhang Yunlei and his partner Yang Jiulang unfolds as if it were a carefully constructed drama. Zhang Yunlei’s life story is a miracle in itself, but the story of their journey together is a fitting parallel plot.

*warning* Because they’re comedians, everything they say is a lie or a hyperbole.   I will try to stick to off-stage interviews here, but I hold no responsibility for recounting lies they fed me.

“If fate be willing, we will be together “

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Ten things about Zhang Yunlei, the artist making Chinese opera cool again

Zhang Yunlei
Thousands of fangirls singing along to Chinese opera is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, but here we are with Zhang Yunlei.

From a homeless fourth-grade dropout to surviving a four-story fall to becoming one of the hottest new stars making century-old tunes hip again, singer-xiangsheng comedian Zhang Yunlei is a Republican-era prima donna teleported into the modern era. Here are ten things to know and love about rising star Zhang Yunlei.

  1. Thanks to him, millennial fans are singing along to traditional music like Taiping Lyrics version of Madame Lady Snake , Peking Opera Suolin Pouch, modified Suzhou PingtanDongbei errenzhuan , and the extremely catchy Ping Opera Qiankun Belt.
  2. Zhang Yunlei is most widely known for his modern rendition of Beijing folk song Visiting the Qingshui River. He released his first single, Yuzhen, last year, and has already recorded more songs.
  3. Nails from his left leg.

    In August 2016, over twenty terminally ill notices were released for Zhang Yunlei after he fell from the equivalent of a four-story drop-off at a railroad terminal. He miraculously returned to the stage, but with 108 nails inside his body and one less lung.  For his earlier performances, they would wheel him up to stageside, and then he would walk up with the help of his partner, Yang Jiulang.  There have been times where after he goes backstage, they would find out the nails had poked through his ankles and bled all over.

  4. Zhang Yunlei began studying Chinese opera and music at the age of five, and quit school in 4th grade to train under xiangsheng and opera performer Guo Degang.  Zhang Yunlei’s performances of xiangsheng’s special ballad form, Taiping lyrics 太平歌词, are so good that their company still uses recordings of him for lessons. Zhang Yunlei singing Taiping lyrics here.
  5. At the age of 13, he lost his boy soprano voice and thought he would never return to the stage. While getting by on odd jobs in Beijing, he once slept for a month at McDonald’s since it was open all night. Last year, he became a brand ambassador for McDonald’s.

Zhang Yunlei and fans singing Visiting the Qingshui River.

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Actress Kara Hui is still looking for her first love, an American soldier deployed in Hong Kong during the Vietnam War

I hope one day he’ll send me a picture, no matter how old, because I’ll still remember his face. And I would know he didn’t die, that he was still alive.”

Award-winning actress Kara Hui said in an interview last year that she’s still trying to find her first love, an American soldier deployed in Hong Kong during the Vietnam War. This reminds me of the story of actor Anthony Wong, who was able to find his Australian half-brothers online earlier this year thanks to a BBC report. Hey BBC, time to step up again.

“From ages 3 to 11, this girl ( you see here) lived in the red light district. I’ve seen every tragedy and joy of life. He was the first one to ask me how to say I love you in Cantonese. For a young girl, I think it was like a first love. It’s a bit tragic because he left Hong Kong the next day to Vietnam, maybe he got killed the day he arrived.” Hui said.

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