Barbie Hsu files for divorce

Taiwanese actress Barbie Hsu has filed for divorce from Chinese businessman Wang Xiaofei after more than 10 years of marriage.

The two released a statement to the media yesterday through their lawyers which said: "After serious and careful consideration, Mr Wang and Ms Hsu have decided to divorce amicably and have begun related legal proceedings."

It added: "Mr Wang and Ms Hsu had the joy of meeting and knowing each other and spent a wonderful time together. Even as they separate now, they are thankful for what they have given each other. In the past, they walked as spouses. In the future, they will be parents and friends. They will continue to raise their children together and give them all their love and support."

The statement comes after an exclusive report by Taiwanese magazine Mirror Media revealed that Hsu, 45, filed for divorce at the Taipei District Court early this month. The two asked to divide assets of around NT$950 million (S$46.6 million), including NT$600 million in property for Hsu and about NT$350 million worth of assets under Mr Wang, including his S Hotel in Taipei. S Hotel was named after Hsu, whose nickname is "Big S". She was once part of a pop duo named ASOS with her younger sister Dee.

As part of the court proceedings, Hsu and Mr Wang have reportedly reached an understanding on asset division and arrangements for spending time with their two children, which will be announced soon. The couple have a daughter born in 2014 and a son born in 2016.

Hsu has engaged famed lawyer Tina Lai to handle the divorce. Ms Lai also handled the divorce of Taiwanese singer Stella Chang.

There were rumours of a split in June, after Mr Wang seemingly called the Taiwanese "a bunch of traitors" on Weibo following two confirmed Covid-19 cases on a flight from the island to the Chinese city of Xiamen. When contacted for a comment, Hsu dropped the bombshell that she was in the process of divorcing Mr Wang.

He later apologised for his post. Hsu's mother denied there was a divorce, saying it was a lovers' spat blown out of proportion.

The two have been largely separated since the beginning of the pandemic as Mr Wang is based in China for work while Hsu and their two children reside in Taipei.

In September, when he travelled to Taiwan to visit them, he assured netizens that his wife and him were well in a live stream. But after he returned to China last month, he deleted all traces of Hsu from his account on Douyin. It is believed that he had been in Taiwan to discuss the details of their divorce.

Hsu, known for her roles in classic idol dramas such as Meteor Garden (2001), met Mr Wang in 2010 and married him that same year after a whirlwind romance. The two held a lavish wedding in the Chinese coastal city of Sanya the following March.

Mr Wang was known then as one of the Four Young Masters of Beijing, a term used to refer to the sons of four famous entrepreneurs in the city. Mr Wang's mother, Ms Zhang Lan, is a successful restaurateur who founded the high-end South Beauty chain of eateries.

Earlier this month, she posted about roasting lamb meat for her son on short-video platform Douyin. She wrote: "In life, there's no such thing as a forever spring or a winter that won't pass."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2021, with the headline 'Barbie Hsu files for divorce'. Subscribe