Cecilia Cheung is many things. The actress-singer — who was discovered by Hong Kong director-actor Stephen Chow who gave her a breakthrough role in King of Comedy (1999) — is talented, gorgeous, feisty and vocal. She has also shown herself to be kind and compassionate to the elderly, kids, animals and her fans.
At the end of the day, Cecilia is human and this makes her multi-faceted, complicated, but still well-loved, by man. Get to know the Hong Kong starlet beyond her career with these tidbits of her life that we’ve discovered thus far.
Cecilia, who entered showbiz at the age of 18, already showed signs of great potential at the age of 12. She posted a throwback photo of herself at 12-years-old, looking like a fresh-faced angel, to celebrate her eldest son Lucas’s 12th birthday. Look at that hair! Even now at the age of 42, she doesn’t look too markedly different from her girlhood days. Some people are just born to be stars.
Cecilia adores our sunny island so much that in 2014, she relocated to Singapore with sons Lucas and Quintus and stayed for a few years. In an interview, she said she chose Singapore because there isn’t a strong paparazzi culture here. “Even though I like Hong Kong and China, and I have many fans and supporters there, the paparazzi there is too strong. Singapore is not like that, and I want my two boys to have a normal life and a normal study environment.” She also said the educational system here is really good and had enrolled her children in an international school
Cecilia has since moved back to Hong Kong, but still frequently brings her sons back to Singapore for a vacation, and shares her holiday snaps of them visiting hawker centres, Universal Studios Singapore and Marina Bay Sands, to name a few, on Instagram.
When she attended the Star Awards 2019 ceremony as an award presenter, she posted a series of snaps and Instagram stories of her tour around Singapore again, looking like she’s having an absolute blast. She even played host to friends from Hong Kong, bringing them about for meals and sightseeing. Singapore tourism ambassador, anyone?
Cecilia sent her fans into a tizzy when she posted an image of her in a wedding gown and bridal headgear, leading them to speculate whether she had gotten hitched in secret. Alas, the shot was for a newly-launched bridal accessories line for her SeeCeciStreet brand, which was created in 2017 hawking products ranging from clothing and bags to watches, necklaces, wallets and sunnies. In more recent news, it was reported that the brand was making five-figure losses each month due to Covid-19.
Her parents split when she was just nine and she was sent to Melbourne to live with her aunt when she was 14. Reports say Cecilia has been supporting her family, which includes her divorced parents, her two brothers and her stepsister since she stepped into showbiz at the age of 18. Her father is a notorious triad member known as Bearded Yung. In 1999, when she was 19 years old, her father reportedly got into a misunderstanding with a rival gang, and Cecilia received rape and death threats against her.
In 2013, her father allegedly went on the run after swindling his business partner of over S$415,000, leaving Cecilia to deal with his debts. To make matters worse, she fell out with her younger brother over money matters. However, they eventually made up, and she apparently helped him and their elder brother, Ronnie Cheung, to start a ride-sharing business in 2015.
Reports surfaced in 2017 that Cecilia had posted about her financial stress on a since-deleted Instagram post, lamenting that she doesn’t have money to buy cosmetics and clothes for herself these days, and hinted that she would stop providing for her family. Her Eurasian mother Davies Shally was later seen working as an Uber driver.
However, it seems it’s all good in da hood, as Cecilia posted a photo on Instagram with a heartfelt birthday message. “My dear mum, in my heart, you’re my superwoman. I’m very proud to have a good mother like you. I’ve always admired your passion for the life you prefer. Continue to do what you love, I’m supporting you all the way.”
She adds: “Thank you for imparting me with your strength, embedding it in my DNA. Of course, there’s also the beauty that you gave me, I’m thankful for you.”
The pair were seen as the Hong Kong entertainment industry’s golden couple, but they split after just five years of marriage in 2011. Their romance was part of an epic love triangle that involved songbird Faye Wong. Faye and Nicholas were dating in 2000 — back then, Nicholas and Cecilia were already close but he says he sees her as a sister — but broke up after three years.
Faye went on to date and marry actor Li Yapeng while Nicholas dated Cecilia and married her a year after Faye and Yapeng got hitched, in a secret ceremony in the Philippines in 2006. Their divorce was high-profile, with both of them agreeing to joint custody in the end and Cecilia reportedly refusing spousal support. Pssst, in what is the ultimate twist in this grand story, Nicholas and Faye have rumoured to have reconciled but are in an on-off relationship.
Cecilia’s reputation took a nosedive when intimate photos of actor Edison Chen with various starlets, including Cecilia, Gillian Chung and Bobo Chan, were leaked and distributed in 2008. It was reported that Edison brought his pink laptop into a computer shop for repairs and an IT technician allegedly copied the photos, which were reportedly made some time between 2003 and 2006. The scandal rocked the entertainment industry and was the talk of the town. Edison Chen became an instant pariah — he was pulled from movies, dropped by sponsors and ignored by those in the industry. The careers of the women involved also took a hit, with many, such as Gillian, forced to take a hiatus.
According to Cecilia’s former manager Tiffany Chen in a report by Apple Daily, Cecilia was nearly driven over the edge by the sex photo scandal and Tiffany had talked the star out of suicide.
Cecilia later publicly criticised Chen for shedding crocodile tears when he testified in a Canadian court about his involvement in the scandal, saying that he had not returned calls and had switched off his telephone when the incident came to light. She also accused him of hypocrisy in a bid to win the public’s forgiveness. Cecilia also denied rumours that the videos caused a rift with her husband and in-laws. Nicholas publicly stood by her through this dark period.
A Weibo post in November 2018 by Cecilia’s studio announcing the birth of her third son, whom she calls “Little Prince”, ignited a buzz, with many speculating the mysterious identity of the child’s father. Cecilia’s mother had said on a TV programme in March that year that Cecilia’s new boyfriend was a 65-year-old businessman from Singapore. In July, Cecilia posted on Instagram that she was “trying hard for a younger sister” for her sons.
The tycoon was supposedly from a rich family and owns a listed company. He is also reportedly a shareholder in a Singapore food and beverage chain. On Dec 18, however, Cheung’s studio’s Weibo account said that rumours about the businessman being the father were fake. Several other men have since been dragged into the paternity puzzle, such as ex Nicholas Tse, actor-director Stephen Chow and Chinese billionaire Sun Donghai. Nicholas firmly refuted the rumours in an Instagram post, calling them bewildering and shocking. “My love life is stable. I’m the father of only Lucas and Quintus and I will do my best to fulfil my responsibilities as their father,” he said.
Neither Cheung nor her studio has revealed the real identity of the father. Before the birth of her third child, Cecilia went silent on social media for a few months, wiping out all the older posts from her Instagram account and setting it to private. However, she was seen hanging out with friend Bonnie Chu in December. Cecilia later resumed posting.
Cecilia is often seen volunteering at non-profit organisations in her free time. When she was living in Singapore, for example, she was often seen volunteering at the soup kitchen Willing Hearts. Once, she was spotted helping out the non-profit organisation by giving out packed lunches and fruit to elderly residents at an HDB void deck. Photos published by Willing Hearts also showed her cooking in the kitchen. After the birth of her third son, Cecilia was seen helping out at an SPCA event in Hong Kong, talk about effort!
You also often see her taking photos with fans with gusto, hamming it up with them, throwing her arms around them or even kissing them on the cheek — even when she’s in the most casual of outfits with no make-up. No airs there.
ICYDK, Cecilia making bank as a livestreamer. In November 2021, Cecilia hosted her first sales livestream on Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok) and quickly attracted a million viewers within 10 minutes. Her stream brought in a total of 27.6 million viewers in the end. Another report found that Cecilia’s Douyin has gathered more than 27 million viewers and a total order amount of more than S$13 million.
Cecilia is only human and has made mistakes like the best of us. In a November 2021 livestream session, Cecilia misread and misquoted the price of a make-up kit she was selling. She later realised the mistake and decided to make up for her mistake by topping up the difference of about 10 thousand Singapore dollars. Later in December the sale year, she was selling unisex thermal underwear. A male model appeared wearing the garment and Cecilia wanted to “take some advantage”, perhaps to drum up more publicity, and reached out to touch his abs. She later realised that his girlfriend was present and backed off in embarrassment.
In June 2021, Cecilia appeared on the Chinese variety show Life Is Beautiful 2. On the show, she spoke to fellow Hong Kong actress Sheren Tang and revealed that while she is looking for her other half, she will not make the relationship public. She added that this was due to bad experiences and added that her ideal partner should not be clingy at all.
n an episode of the Chinese variety show Life is Beautiful in July 2021, Cecilia shared that she is “completely not against” her sons joining the entertainment industry should they wish to do so. She has her stipulation though: her children have to be even better than her or their father (presumably Nicholas Tse) to get her full support.
In another episode of Life Is Beautiful, Cecilia recounted a story with her son Lucas. She later went on to share that she told her son that she speaks loudly because she has hearing problems in one ear, but has never mentioned it to him so as to not make him worry about or feel sorry for her.
Remember in 2021 when the whole world was in lockdown due to Covid-19 except China? Well, Cecilia attended an event at a fashion boutique in Zhengzhou that was said to have over 50 security personnel. While posing for pictures, Cecilia suddenly received a kiss on the cheek and a hug from a female fan. Cecilia was unsurprisingly shocked but quickly maintained her professionalism and pulled off an awkward smile.
In early 2021, Cecilia made headlines when she competed on the Chinese variety show Sisters Who Make Waves 2. In a challenge, she was made to learn choreography but was criticised by netizens for being “lazy” and “sloppy” as she was seen to make little effort to learn. PS: Her appearance on the show reportedly earned her S$10.2 million after her fame skyrocketed, so we reckoned that the criticism is water off a duck’s back to her.
In an episode of Sisters Who Make Waves 2, Cecilia told her fellow contestants that she feels “very happy” when people call her old or passé. Her reasoning? “You say I’m passé, that means I was once in demand. So I think people should work hard. Be yourself when the time is wrong, and seize opportunities when the time is right.” She added that “In this line of work, without confidence, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, or how brilliant and beautiful you are, it’s no use.”
Cecilia often makes headlines, this time, however, not for a good reason. In March 2020, Cecilia was heading back to Hong Kong after a holiday with her three sons in Koh Samui, Thailand. However, a fellow passenger revealed a video clip showing that Cecilia had to be kicked off the plane as she got into a scuffle with the flight attendant as she seemingly had trouble putting her toddler to sleep, resulting in a flight delay and unhappiness among passengers and crew.