How Cecilia Cheung lost the protector who stood by her every time Nicholas Tse let her down

25 March 2015 / 1 year 7 months ago

Foong Woei Wan
The Straits Times
Friday, Mar 20, 2015

In her long association with Cecilia Cheung, manager and producer Tiffany Chen was the woman who stood by her when the men in the actress' life let her down.

Cheung, 34, seems to have lost one of her most determined defenders with her dismissal from Legend Of The Gods, a 3D movie produced by China Star, the company of Chen's husband, Charles Heung.

In blistering interviews with the Chinese and Hong Kong media in the past week, Heung, 66, said he would never work with the star again and Chen, 56, accused her of unprofessional conduct on set. She also spilled out past episodes of the actress' strange behaviour.

In a statement and through an agent, the star maintained that she respected the producing couple's decisions.

Here is a brief history of Cheung and Chen's relationship. (Psst, it is almost as dramatic as the actress' romance with her former husband, Nicholas Tse.)

Around 1999 to 2000: Cheung fell out with her first manager, Chu Wing Lung, the brother of an early boyfriend, former Wind Fire Sea singer Jason Chu, after her successful debut in Stephen Chow's 1999 movie King Of Comedy, said Apple Daily.

Her manager took her to court when she sought to terminate her contract. Enter Chen, who was asked by Cheung's father, alleged gangster Cheung Yan Yung, to mediate between the two sides.

She also helped the Cheungs when the father got into trouble with a triad and rumours went round that gangsters had been ordered to rape and kill the daughter. After resolving the crisis, she became the star's manager.

Around 2002 to 2003: Cheung was in a love triangle with singers Tse and Faye Wong, and she was hit hard when he left her for Wong. In an interview with Sina website published on Wednesday, Chen recalled how Cheung was "so thin that she didn't look human" and "crying at home every day".

The manager got the actress jobs with two top directors to give her a boost. She said she asked Derek Yee to work with Cheung, which led to the star's Hong Kong Film Award-winning turn as a grieving minibus driver in 2003's Lost In Time.

Johnnie To did not want Cheung in his 2003 movie Running On Karma, and Chen had to beg him. She said she also asked for the understanding of Cheung's unwilling co-star Andy Lau.

She remembered how Cheung ruined a take of a scene with Lau by taking a call about shopping ("LV? What colour do I want? All of them").

The manager said the actor, who was already exhausted from being encased in a hefty body suit for the film, told her: "If it isn't to save your face, I really don't want to go on shooting."

2007: Cheung got the guy - tying the knot with Tse in 2006 - and dropped her career like a hot potato. She declined jobs and angered Chen, said Apple Daily.

But before Chen could terminate her contract, she sued China Star to recover HK$15.88 million in pay. The two sides reached a settlement out of court, before Cheung gave birth to her first child with Tse, Lucas.

2008: Although Chen was no longer Cheung's manager, she was furious with rapper Edison Chen all the same, after his X-rated photos of women including Cheung were stolen and spread online. She said his apology was too little, too late, reported Apple Daily.

Later, she recalled how Cheung was nearly driven over the edge by the sex photo scandal. She said she talked the star out of suicide.

2011: Tiffany Chen spoke up for Cheung again during the actress' public marital meltdown. She shot down rumours that Cheung had jeopardised her marriage by reconciling with Edison Chen.

Citing Cheung, she said it was Tse who had become impossible to live with after winning a Hong Kong Film Award for 2010's The Stool Pigeon.

2014: Tiffany Chen was Cheung's spokesman once more, after Tse was reported to have reunited with Wong. In an interview with Apple Daily, she said the actress was upset about her former husband not making enough time for their two sons, Lucas and Quintus.

She had always had a soft spot for Cheung, and she decided to give the star a role in Legend Of The Gods. (Cheung had made a string of movies around the time of her divorce, such as 2011's Legendary Amazons and Speed Angels, which bombed at the Hong Kong box office.)

On Wednesday, Chen wrote on Weibo: "I admit I made a mistake. Everyone in the movie business said to my face and behind my back not to hire her. I was bent on helping her. I believed that she would turn over a new leaf."

Instead, "she was emotionally out of control after the New Year and would not even take my calls", Chen said.

She said she was "forced" to fire Cheung, but taking into account all that she had done for the actress, she wrote: "I have a clear conscience."

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