You know a divorce is messy when it has its own hashtag.
Rumors, surrounding a Chinese celebrity divorce, have infiltrated the internet, particularly the popular Chinese microblog Sina Weibo. The hashtag #WangBaoQiangDivorce has been viewed over five billion times in the past few days.
Renowned actor Wang Baoqiang, famous for his debut role in the movie Blind Shaft, posted a shocking message on Sunday that his actress wife, Ma Rong, was involved in an affair with his agent, Song Zhe.
Wang, who is affectionately dubbed as “Baobao” by his admirers, announced his plans to file for divorce from his wife of seven years. The 32-year-old actor stated in the post that he has always strived to fulfill his duties as a good husband and father by upholding values of trust, honesty and compassion.
“Now, due to Ma Rong’s improper extramarital sexual relations with my agent Song Zhe, which has severely hurt the marriage and destroyed the family, I have solemnly decided to dissolve my marriage with Ma Rong and release Song Zhe from his position.”
The two were married in 2009 and have a young son and daughter. Wang asked that the public respect the privacy of their family as they proceed with the legal process.
Following Wang’s public statement, his now former agent, made an apology on Weibo. The posts have since been deleted, according to Strait Times
Ma, 30, replied in a post shortly after deflecting blame on Wang for abandoning the family. She also threatened to file suit for defamation if he didn’t delete his post.
The divorce has divided Chinese netizens who are throwing support behind both Wang and Ma. Wang, an award-winning actor, was born to a poor family in the mountainous region of Hebei in China. Admirers comment upon his hard work ethics that led to his rise to stardom. He has been cast in movies such as World Without Thieves and Lost in Thailand.
Others are empathetic towards Ma and noting the double standards towards women and infidelity. According to the Los Angeles Times, the editor in chief at Gender Watch, Lu Pin, told Chinese news site Phoenix News:
“Society is particularly intolerant towards women cheating on their husbands. We always find a reason, or an excuse, for men cheating. More often we’ll forgive men, and give [them] a second chance.”
It seems that Wang’s very public post about his plans for divorce did quite the opposite when it came to his request for privacy. Itching to get their hands on more information, Chinese netizens scoured the internet for photo evidence of the affair.
Some even went so far as to pay a visit to Wang’s house in Pasadena, which they found on a real estate app, and interview his neighbors. An anonymous airline employee, with total disregard for customer confidentiality, reportedly publicized Ma and Song’s flight information so that people could track them.
After sharing the post on Sunday, Wang filed for divorce that was accepted by a Beijing Court. He is seeking custody of his two children and requested that Ma pay child support for their son and daughter until they are 18 years old. On Tuesday, Ma filed a suit for defamation against Wang and on Wednesday, Song’s wife filed for divorce.