Actress Fan Bingbing reveals why she broke up with former fiance Li Chen

Fan Bingbing with ex-fiance Li Chen in a photo posted on social media in September 2017. PHOTO: FAN BINBBING/WEIBO

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing has revealed why she broke up with her former fiance, actor Li Chen.

Fan, who was embroiled in a tax-evasion scandal in 2018, said she initiated the break-up 18 months ago to avoid implicating him.

In an interview with the November edition of Chinese magazine BBArt, Fan, 39, saidLi, 42, was a good person and that the split was unfortunate.

"I have never regretted the choice of this relationship and I am grateful to him for the good times we spent together", said the actress who first made a name for herself as Jinsuo the handmaiden in My Fair Princess, the 1998 television phenomenon.

The four-year romance between Fan and Li was once seen as the stuff of fairy tales, with the actor successfully proposing to her at her birthday party in September 2017.

The couple fell in love after acting together in the TV serial The Empress Of China (2014 to 2015), which Fan also co-produced.

Li stood by Fan throughout the scandal in 2018 and voiced support for her on social media, but they eventually announced their break-up in June 2019.

Li has been criticised by netizens for abandoning the actress, but Fan defended him in the magazine interview, saying that she made the decision to break up with him out of love.

"Many people slammed him at that time because they were not in our shoes and did not know how difficult it was for us to take every step," said Fan.

"Due to my situation, he and my brother were affected as their work was suspended... I felt pained for them and the only thing I could do was to distance myself from them."

Fan has a 20-year-old brother, singer Fan Chengcheng.

Fan Bingbing said Li was worthy of her respect and sacrifices.

"We are still good friends today and I wish him well for the future," she added.

Li is currently a regular cast member of outdoor variety programme Keep Running (2017 to present).

Fan's acting career has been in limbo since the scandal, with an opinion piece in the overseas edition of the People's Daily newspaper naming her as a blacklisted artist in November.

She said in the interview that she would bear responsibility for her mistakes.

"I think it does not matter if you make mistakes, because everyone will make mistakes when he or she grows up," she said. "I recognised I have made a mistake, I will correct it and then face it."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.