Crouching Tiger star's parents couldn't say partner's name

Screen shot of Zhang Ziyi speaking on Mango TV Image copyright Mango TV
Image caption Speaking on Mango TV, Zhang Ziyi says "at the start my parents didn't agree"

A Chinese film star's revelation that her parents did not initially approve of her marriage to a divorced man with children, has created a stir on social media.

Zhang Ziyi, who had roles in box office hits Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Memoirs of a Geisha, was speaking on the women's discussion programme, Viva La Romance, about her strained relationship with her parents because of her partner, Wang Feng.

"They weren't even able to mention his name," she told the panel.

Wang Feng, a huge domestic celebrity in the 1990s, who has appeared as a judge in a number of music reality shows, has been divorced twice and has two children from his previous relationships.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Zhang gained international recognition for her role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Ms Zhang's comments opened up a discussion on the blogging website Sina Weibo, with more than 7,000 users sharing the hashtag #ZhangZiyisParentsOpposedWangFengRelationship, and asking whether women could accept a partner if he was divorced, or had children.

Some users consider Ms Zhang's parents' behaviour normal, saying most parents simply want their children to be happy. As one woman highlights: "Their opposition is based on decades of seeing people's experiences. Parents' opinions are so important when considering marriage".

One parent agrees they would want their own child to have a better partner, and would possibly create barriers, but ultimately would still respect their choice.

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As Ms Zhang points out, her parents did eventually warm to her now husband. In 2015, he proposed at her birthday party, flying in a white drone carrying a diamond ring.

Wang Feng's age and family status "place him at a disadvantage" according to another user, but they add that it is "important to have communication and understanding."

Image copyright Getty images - VCG
Image caption Husband Wang Feng (l) coached UK singer Jessie J (m), who won Singer 2018 competition in China

Others talk about how divorce and children are not a problem, as long as the partner is "a good man".

Since there are millions more men than women in China, there is some pressure on men to be flawless. Divorce rates in the country have been steadily growing, a trend which was a concern for the Communist Party according to the South China Morning Post in 2017.

But as some Weibo users say, love overcomes any obstacles, even divorce.