The modern Cinderella story of twenty-two-year-old Hong Kong actress Isabella Leong has apparently come to an end. Isabella stunned fans across the globe when she announced that she is separating from billionaire businessman Richard Li, the son of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing.
In case you do not know, according to the Forbes World’s Richest List published in March, Li Kai-Shing, who owns 21 billion US dollars worth of assets, is ranked 14th in the world. Richard Li, the youngest son of Li Kai-Shing, has been dubbed “Little Superman” by the press, and has a net worth of about 9 billion RMB. He is the Chairman and Executive Director of PCCW Limited, Hong Kong’s IT and communications giant, and Pacific Century Group in Hong Kong, Chairman of Singapore-based Pacific Century Regional Developments Limited, and a non-executive director of the Bank of East Asia.
Already the mother of three children with Richard Li Jat Kai, Isabella Leong Lok Si suddenly issued a statement to the media last Saturday. Just as everyone thought that she was about to marry rich, she dropped the bombshell.
In the statement, Isabella said, “2011 will be a new phase of my life. I have already split from Richard. We had a good time together; we will share custody of our children. Their health and happiness are our common interest. I hope the public will cease all speculations through this statement.”
The couple reportedly broke up a few weeks ago, and though they will share joint custody of their children, Isabella is rumored to get cars and properties from her soon to be ex-partner, in addition to child support.
It was rumored that 22 year-old Isabella was seen chatting with a male at a bar in Toronto for three hours and this caused the rift, but those rumors were rubbished by her spokesperson Lo Mik Shuet who said that that man was an elementary school classmate of Isabella and also a friend of Richard Li.
Media reports have revealed another side to the break-up between Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li and actress Isabella Leong and it seems like third parties are involved. Li is rumoured to be involved with model Mandy Lieu and “Queen of the World 2009″ contestant Zhao Yaqi.
Li is rumored to be surrounded by female companions and that he had gotten to know American-Malaysian Mandy Lieu in 2009. Mandy, 25, is a presenter at Li’s television channel NOW and is rumoured to be the ex-girlfriend of actor Berlin Chen for three years before breaking up early last year. Mandy’s “Westernised” character was a good fit with Li and they got along rather well.
Another rumour circulating at the moment is Li’s involvement with Zhao Yaqi in 2009, the same time Isabella was pregnant with twins. Zhao is the second runner-up in the Miss Tourism of the Globe and a model who has been involved in many pageants and contests.
Both Isabella and Richard have kept mum about the reasons for their split.
Isabella Leong ( aka Leong Lok-Sze) was born 23 June 1988 in Macau. Her father was a descendant of a prominent Macanese family of Portuguese-English heritage, and her mother is Chinese. Leong dropped out of school at the age of 12 to join Emperor Entertainment Group as a teenage model.
She later turned to singing and released her debut album, Isabella, at 16 years of age. Isabella did not achieve the success hoped for and she turned to acting instead. From 2005-2007, she made a string of films including The Eye 10, Bug Me Not!, Isabella, Diary, and Spider Lilies.
Leong went on to land her first American film role in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which was released in 2008.
While starring in film “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” Isabella Leong was introduced to Richard Li by actress Michelle Yeoh. Although they had a 20 year age difference, Li fell in love at first sight with Isabella.
Isabella, who won a Porto Film Festival Best Actress for her role in the movie “Isabella”, had a contract at that time with Emperor Entertainment Group, one of the largest entertainment groups in Hong Kong.
Emperor Entertainment Group filed a lawsuit in the High Court on 3 April 2008 to seek damages from Leong for breaking a 10-year contract which Leong’s mother signed for her when she was only 12 years old. Leong filed a writ against the company on 27 April. In November 2008 the legal battle between Leong and EEG ended in an out-of-court settlement, with the star “free to pursue her career”. Hong Kong media reported that Richard Li spent about 6.2 million US dollars to resolve Leong’s 13-year contract with Emperor.
The 22 year old former singer and actress gave birth to Ethan Li Changzhi, Li’s first son, in Toronto, Canada, on April 26 2009, after which Li lavished property, services, and gifts upon the new mother. Leong was allowed to use Li Family mansions in San Francisco. The Li family also provided her with an entourage of care-givers, including five bodyguards, four full-time nannies and a personal attendant. There was some speculation about a large pre-nuptial agreement. A 100-day-old banquet was held for the son from July 9–11, 2009, for three consecutive days, with some of the city’s celebrities like Stanley Ho and his second wife Lam Wan Ying, and Tsang Yam Pui and his wife having been spotted in attendance.
Then in June 2010 she gave birth to Li’s twin sons. Because Isabella has borne three male heirs for the Li family, it was widely speculated that she would soon marry Li. According to tabloid reports, Richard’s father, Li Ka Shing, was extremely grateful towards Isabella for delivering three male heirs and approved of the marriage between Richard and Isabella. Indeed, recent rumors claim that Isabella may marry Richard in August. Li Ka-Shing reportedly rebuilt his Deep Water Bay mansion recently, leaving the fourth floor for younger son’s family of five.
The announcement of the split has thus come as a shock to the entertainment world in Hong Kong and around Asia.