It’s safe to say that almost everyone familiar with the diverse world of cinema knows just how big of a star Jackie Chan is. The 64-year-old Hong Kong actor has gained international success and acclaim for his contributions to martial arts and film over the decades, including an honorary Oscar.
However, like any successful actor, Jackie Chan’s life was certainly not what it seemed during the height of his career. In his memoir, “Never Grow Up“, which was initially released in Chinese back in 2015, the actor looks back on his troubled past behind the scenes, describing his younger self as a “total jerk”.
With the unabridged English version of his novel set for release this week, many shocking aspects of his former life have come to public attention. Here are just some of the things the Hong Kong superstar has admitted to doing in his book.
1. Domestic violence
While Jackie Chan addresses the widely publicised extramarital affair he had with beauty queen Elaine Ng Yi Lei in 1999 that resulted in a child, the actor also admitted to hurting his son, Jaycee Chan, after arguing with his wife, Joan Lin. According to the South China Morning Post, an excerpt from his book reads,
“Joan and I were having an argument. We reached a stalemate, so I walked out, slammed the door, and went to see [producer] Leonard Ho. He counselled me for a long time and finally said, ‘What are you doing? There’s no need for this. Just go back home, and you can both apologise’.”
“When I got there, Joan was on the sofa, laughing and chatting with a female friend. That made me angry […] Just as I was about to say something to her, Jaycee ran in, his hands pointed at me like guns, shouting, ‘Bang! Bang!’ like he was shooting me to avenge his mother.”
“Then, he snatched the keys out my hand and threw them on the floor. When I bent down to pick them up, he kicked my hand away! I was furious. I picked him up with one hand and flung him across the room, and he crashed into the sofa.”
He expressed how much this incident scared his family, and he regrets his actions to this day.
2. Alcohol abuse
According to Variety, Jackie Chan describes how shocked he felt being so rich in his 20s. He describes how he soon slipped into frequent binge-drinking sessions, which often resulted in him getting behind the wheel while drunk.
“All day I’d drink and drive, in the morning bashing a Porsche, in the evening bashing a Mercedes. Every day I was in this dizzied state.”
“If I was called to the studio at seven in the morning, I’d arrive at noon, I’d show up in dark glasses, looking listless. Why the dark glasses? To hide the fact that my face was puffy from a night of drinking.”
3. Frequently visiting prostitutes
Even during the early days of his career as a stuntman, Chan admitted to still spending a lot of money on drinking, gambling, and prostitutes. According to AsiaOne, he mentions one woman, known simply as Number Nine, whom he regularly slept with.
“I remember the first time I went to a club. I was shy but acted like a big man, anyway. The girl who served me – I knew her as Number Nine – was beautiful, with a sweet personality. On my second visit, I simply asked, ‘Is Number Nine here?’ And that’s how it was every time after that.”
“Every night, Number Nine and I would squeeze into her dingy little cubicle, the low ceiling right above us. The room wasn’t soundproof either, and we could hear pretty much everything around us, clear as crystal. There were times when I’d notice people trying to peep through the cracks in the door at us. Yet this little cubicle seemed like paradise to me,” he continued, according to SCMP.
4. Inferiority complex and spending problems
Chan has also confessed that he had spent large amounts of money to pay for other people’s meals and luxury gifts on multiple occasions.
“One day I took HK$500,000 (approx. RM266,223) in cash and brought my entire stunt team to [Emperor Group chairman] Albert Yeung’s watch emporium.”
“I strutted in and said, ‘Show me your top 10 watches. Are those the most expensive? With the most diamonds? Good, I’ll take seven of them. No need to wrap them. I’ll wear them out. And I’ll pay cash!’ And with that, I turned and walked out. Seven watches, one for every day of the week.”
On top of that, when Chan’s career began to take off in the late ’70s, he mentioned he still felt insecure about himself.
He had even mentioned feeling inferior when he dated Teresa Teng, a famous Taiwanese singer who later passed away in 1995. The actor felt uncomfortable dating someone who appeared more sophisticated and purposely drank straight from soup bowls instead of using a spoon whenever she was around.
“But it wasn’t her fault. She’d done nothing wrong and I’d been horribly unfair to her.”
Will you be reading Jackie Chan’s unabridged memoir once the English version is released? Let us know in the comments below!
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