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How Chinese millennials' childhood idol Wang Leehom fell from grace | Following the yuan
The social media post by his wife cost the singer-songwriter at least 3 commercial deals, including one from Infiniti, which announced Wang as its China ambassador some 35 hours before dropping him.
The following text is a full translation of Lee Jinglei's tell-all post on ex-husband Wang Leehom Lee:
First, I’d like to thank every one who had take your time to write me warm messages. My heart is heavy, so I haven’t been able to get back. I want you to know that a small action from you means so much to me. Thank you for bringing me comfort and strength at the most difficult time.
Writing this letter is the most difficult decision I’ve made…life really is hard. I think, only when I face it out front with courage, everything can go back to zero and each of us will get a chance to be reborn. I hope that my sharing can give a chance to think for those who are knees deep in the journey or those who are about to embark on this journey.
When I stepped into the marriage, I believe we will be families for the rest of our lives, so I’m dedicated and devoted to giving everything I have. You are 10 years older than me and wanted many kids, you rushed me to have one after another baby, so I gave up work and my personal life and revolve around you and the kids. For the most of time during our marriage, I was either preparing for pregnancy or being pregnant, my mental and physical space has gone through a lot of changes post-pregnancy and breastfeeding the baby, I faced them all by myself. Of course, I love my kids and it was me who agreed to have them, but if I knew you’d leave us because wanted a “single” life after I had the three babies, and that I’d have to bring them up as a single parent, I would have agreed. You know very well that my biggest dream growing up is to have a harmonious family and let my kids grow up in a complete and lovable family. But I didn’t regret it, our three kids are my everything, they are the greatest grace from god.
Modern women aren’t like the previous generations, who didn’t have educational opportunities and could only be mothers and wives in a family. We are very lucky to receive higher education, we are equipped with the knowledge and we’ve seen the world, we can make a living and contribute to the world. Whether it’s women from the past or current times, if they decide to be housewives, they are essentially choosing a non-paid job. But it’s just a role of distribution within the family; it also provides pivotal support within the family; you may even be playing multiple roles with no breaks 24/7 (e.g. nanny/teacher/cleaning lady/driver/butler/partner/assistant, etc.) You should get paid for all of your duties, plus the opportunity cost of you not having a job with your capability. Housewives should earn their salaries, which are not to be given or handed down. Whoever gets this role shouldn’t take for granted the fact that they may never have financial power or saving, while the other side gets all the benefits and power. This reduces to an imbalanced relationship and puts women in a position of weakness, so much so that they cannot speak out in cases of cheating or domestic violence.
I think this is an issue to think about for our generation. Many housewives around me do not have income or savings, and they’d feel ashamed to use money from their husbands, afraid that they may give them attitude, they would never dare to bring up the topic to take care of their parents. If females mention money, we would be denounced as materialistic or a gold digger, that we are only after their money. For those women who for the longest time put the family in the center and do not have a job, they usually don’t know what to do if they are forced into a divorce. So girls! Please take precautions because I never thought I’d go through something like this, perhaps you think this would never happen to you. But thinking ahead for yourself and your kids is never wrong.
During all these years I’d been married to you, I was constantly under suspicion, humiliation and emotional abuse. I was forced to sign an unequal prenuptial agreement at the very beginning because you wanted to protect your assets before marriage, which I understood and fully accepted. But, but the assets after marriage were a result of both of our efforts and us fulfilling our duties within the family. The house is under your name, the car is under your mother’s name, the assets were cut off so cleanly so that I didn’t take any “advantages.” Of course, you offered a lot of allowance for our kids’ food and living, and I never bought any luxury goods with your money but lived a simple life. I was even the only one who encouraged you not to take commercial gigs, programs, or ads for money — life is short and you should just focus on the things you love. You can spend all your time making good music and healing your fans. In terms of changing the world, this is your mission and something only you can do. We don’t need more money or need to have a more luxurious lifestyle. Why would I have to take your family’s suspicion and humiliation while I’m the one with this kind of mindset? I’m not the one who owns your money, who doesn’t let you use it, and try to isolate us from each other. I know saying this will piss you off but I hope you can see it early. I know you’d lied on the floor for days because you were depressed about conforming, I also see that you lost many important things in your life because you wanted to confirm, you were sad and helpless that you couldn’t make any of your decisions at the age of 37 [Wang’s age when they got married]. You couldn’t do anything you wanted, you couldn’t control your work, relationship, or finance. You came to me to vent and for help, I offered a helping hand because I simply thought I was saving my loved one from torture, but in retrospect, I was just a pawn. You used my empathy and love for you and made me your shield. You hid behind me, using me to get back the power you want to bit by bit, and in the process, you branded yourself as the nice guy and I was the devil. Getting the power has no benefits for me at all, the only beneficiary is you. You were the boss, all the business decisions were ultimately in your hands, those who helped you along the process were just scapegoats during the execution.
What was chilling was that in the end, you said that I should trust you, you said you’d do the talking, you’d protect us, you and your team are fully prepared to do the marketing/public opinion/manipulate the media rhetoric. What was the result? You only protected yourself. You used your network and media connections to protect yourself by attacking me. You were the one who did wrong, but your mother and I became the target of the public opinion and negative reports, while you remained untouched. I asked you if you could help me clear my image given that was fake news, you said because you already said in the statement you would not respond, so further responses would not be a good idea, I said I understood. Then… what I saw an hour later was that you responded to a scandal of you having an affair. It was clear that the ‘us’ in your words only means ‘I.’ You said that your reputation matters, have you thought that a woman’s reputation matters, too. I have a long way ahead of me. You relied on the fact that I’ve been protecting you and never said anything bad about you, even to my friends and family. But you slandered me for your perfect image. You bullied me while hiding behind families and friends, because you know if I wasn’t the one with the problem, and you could walk away irresponsibly, you can no longer maintain your public image.
I will no longer bear your cross for you. Everyone was clear what had happened when Wu [she didn’t specify whom] did her spiel. You two knew whether anything unusual happened.
The convoluted relationships of men and women in the entertainment industry and your values shocked me, one’s partner/ex-partner/their friends, everyone… are all “good friends.” I met you when I was 16, thinking back to the past 20 years, everything was traceable, I just chose not to see it. I was underage at the time, and you were 26, you asked for my number, told me I was pretty, and was being flirtatious, we chatted for at least an hour every time you called. We were frequent flyers and we’d sometimes meet up when we ended up in the same city. I remember one time you asked me out for a movie, we sat in front, at the end of the movie I saw your rumored girlfriend was sitting at the very back — we watched the same movie. Afterward, when you were still dating your ex, you called me at 2 a.m. and asked if I wanted to share the bed with you that night. I felt weird and said no, but I didn’t think further. You retreated and asked me to meet you outside, we chatted until morning that night. I found out afterward that you were still with your ex. After you broke up, we met again in the same city, you were so sweet: you held my purse, took me out, and we had a lot of fun together, then you held my hand. Because of your public image, I didn’t have any guards. We naturally had sex. The next morning, however, you told me you didn’t want to get feelings involved. I was surprised because things like this never happened to me. But at the same time, I thought you were probably hurt because you shared your loneliness and secrets with me. So what we did was that we looked like a regular couple, we spent all the time we could together if we weren’t in the same city, we could be in contact all day long, we had many good memories and told I love you to each other, we just didn’t have a label. You said you weren’t with other people either, you just didn’t want a relationship.
In the end, as I found out later, you had many 'friends' like me in other cities. You were caught on camera taking girls home, and caught getting a prostitute, all of this has video evidence, the girl said your floor and room number, she took left turn to your home, you admitted all these to me, too. You said all of these were your problems, you cannot control yourself.
When I tried to break up with you, you called me for weeks to ask me to stay, saying you wouldn’t do it anymore, I would be your "only one” in the future, and gradually we began to build a family together. One day, after your concert in Shanghai ended, you didn’t call me, I couldn’t find you until the morning. Later I found out you and your friend-with-benefit drank and partied all night, taking photos with your face pressed against her breasts and lip licking. You continued your relationship with her after our marriage, you already had me, but when you received nudes for your birthday, you happily responded. You promised you’d never interact with her again, but once in a while, I found that you were still in touch and you were sending each other flirty messages. Once you asked me if I wanted to come to your commercial performance with her, she also made an Instagram once about you, calling you “Homhom” and deleted it. You had another fwb who was married with kid(s) but asked you to fool her husband with you. Your past with her made me uncomfortable because she was acting all cute and flirty and you welcomed it. If nothing happened between you two, you didn’t have to lie to her husband. I asked if it was ok not to have her as a guest at our home, you were pissed and said we wouldn’t do any Christmas parties. You even went to her house while it was against the law [netizens suspected she was talking about Covid-19 restrictions]. When I was about to give labor, your dancing tutor ‘friend’ messaged you saying he was sad because he [not sure if it’s a typo] thought you were together. Another female friend cried in front of me for an hour after hearing about us being together because she thought you were with her. Later I found your record of the prostitutes you’ve been with, including those who looked like staff around us, how do you expect me to feel? Even after all this time, I chose to forgive you and be with you, though I changed my expectations. I didn’t expect to change you, I let you enjoy your lifestyle and left you be. I stayed at home with the kids, waiting for you to spend time with us, I stopped arguing with you. But you still wanted to leave. The reason is that if you met someone you like, you don’t want her to take any blame for being the ‘third wheel,’ so you insisted. I didn’t agree and you leveled up, bullied me in any way you can and humiliated me, defamed me with made-up stories among families and friends.
I already gave you everything you wanted, no matter how irresponsible and ridiculous you were to me, I didn’t say a word to close families and friends. I put up a smile and safeguard our home because I wanted to trade harmony with my retreat and forgiveness so that our kids can grow up in a happy environment. What I ended up having was your absence. You were absent at our kids’ birthday parties. You were absent at important festivals. You were gone for months every time, my heart was broken when I see kids crying in my arms. I found that if I kept being like this, I was setting a bad example for our daughters. The happiness I thought I was bringing to my kids does not mean anything concert to them…there was one disappointment after another. People make time for things they care about. With a saying from Ms. Science [A Taiwanese YouTuber named Evelyn Chen], those who are absent always have excuses, one shows love with action. When you said you loved me then and you said you loved our kids now, I heard it but I didn’t see it. Love is shown in action, not just in words.
One reason for me to stand out was that I didn’t want any more women to experience the same thing, I also believe that the world needs more thinking. For the longest time, powerful people have been manipulating the media, and the media have been manipulating the public, which results in deviated social values and controlled public opinion. This is a big industry, but I sincerely hope that powerful people can no longer control public opinion and protect their image via marketing so that the public can see the truth and see who they are. I also believe that I have the social responsibility to stop others fall into my steps and suffering from the same problem.
At last, about moving up the social class, I won’t choose to befriend someone or not because where that person comes from, I didn’t get my current life “thanks to him.” I won’t need it in the future and I won’t take any more humiliation because of living expenses (although I deserved it but no thank you). I can raise the children well with my own efforts.
You said that you don’t want me to hurt your acting career, I want to say that I never intend to do this which is why I’ve been putting this up until now, it hurt me that I took this action. But if your acting career’s affected, they are because of the decisions you made, not me. I hope we can both be reborn and do well individually. You could change the habits that are bad for you physically and mentally and focus on your career. Power, fame, and all kinds of partners cannot bring you true happiness, but an endless dark hole…I also hope that you can face yourself with honesty, don’t care about others, and be with the right person.
From now on, I will treat myself nicely, I will be reborn, I will be the best support and example for the kids, and let them know that even when someone hits the bottom, she can climb back with her efforts.
Once someone gets to the end of a journey, they can sit and be comfortable with the view. I've already hit the rock bottom, every day after today will only be better. I hope those who are going through difficulties can be encouraged by this. I hope that whatever we are going through, we can see that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.
Going forward, the days won’t be easy, but I will take one step at a time, with the light from God and the end of the tunnel, as well as every one of you. If you are going through the same thing, I hope we can share and give each other power.
Thank you for reading the whole essay. I hope this will inspire or mean something to your life, this would also be the meaning of my experience.