Zhang Ziyi ( 章子怡; born 9 February 1979) is a Chinese actress and model. She is considered one of the Four Dan Actresses of China, and the most well-known Asian actress in the West.
Zhang was born and raised in Beijing, China. Her parents are Zhang Yuanxiao ( 章元孝), an accountant and later economist, and Li Zhousheng (李涿生; ), a kindergarten teacher. She is very close to her older brother, Zhang Zinan (章子男; born 1973). Zhang began studying dance when she was 8 years old; subsequently, she joined the Beijing Dance Academy at her parents’ suggestion at the age of 11. While at this boarding school, she noticed how mean the other girls were to each other while competing for status amongst the teachers. Zhang disliked the attitudes of her peers and teachers so much that, on one occasion, she ran away from the school. At the age of 15, Zhang won the national youth dance championship and began appearing in television commercials in Hong Kong.
In 1996, Zhang entered the prestigious Central Academy of Drama in Beijing at the age of 17.
Zhang obtained Hong Kong residency in 2007 through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme for her contribution to the local film industry. After several screen performances in 2010 and 2011, Zhang was named ambassador for the ScreenSingapore 2011 film festival, joining American director Oliver Stone.
In 2012, an overseas Chinese website Boxun falsely reported that Zhang Ziyi was paid $100 million to sleep with top Chinese officials. Zhang sued Boxun in a US court for defamation. In December 2013, Boxun settled the case after agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount to Zhang and issue a front page apology. Zhang also won court cases in Hong Kong against Next Media over similar false reports in Apple Daily and Next Magazine.
Zhang was engaged to Israeli venture capitalist Aviv “Vivi” Nevo from 2008 to 2010. Following their break-up she explained: “I grew up in a very traditional Chinese environment with lots of love, and I hope my own family would be the same. I want everyone to live together, with kids running around, and dogs playing with the kids. This is my ideal family life. I tried to make it work but it didn’t, and I have no regrets over it”.
Zhang began dating CCTV host Sa Beining in 2011, but the two later split.
Zhang married Chinese rock musician Wang Feng in March 2015. On December 27, 2015, Zhang gave birth to their daughter Wang Xingxing.