Renowned Chinese calligrapher, 85, announces marriage to younger woman

Renowned Chinese calligrapher, 85, announces marriage to younger womanRenowned Chinese calligrapher, 85, announces marriage to younger woman
via Weibo, iFang
Renowned Chinese calligrapher and millionaire Fan Zeng announced on Chinese social media his marriage to a younger woman, whom many online and in reports speculate to be a supermodel in China.
Key details:
  • Fan, 86, broke the news in a Weibo post on Wednesday. The post contained multiple pictures of his handwritten message and one picture of Fan writing calligraphy with a woman standing beside him.
  • Fan revealed the name of his fourth wife as Xu Meng in his message, writing, “Ms Xu Meng’s meticulous care has enabled me to fully recover physically and mentally.” His message referred to the stroke he previously suffered, which heavily impacted his work.
The details:
  • After the announcement, many Chinese social media users speculated that the woman in the picture is Ai Shangzhen, a 36-year-old model in China whose real name is Xu Meng.
  • Ai placed fourth at the Miss China International Pageant in 2008 and was once referred to as “China’s supermodel with the best figure.” She also appeared as a model for international brands such as Louis Vuitton, Armani and Calvin Klein.
  • After the announcement made headlines, Ai quickly took to her Weibo account to dispel the rumors in a post and video, suggesting that she was not the woman in the photo. People who were familiar with Ai and interviewed by Chongqing media also supported her claims.
  • This will be Fan’s fourth marriage. His first wife was the renowned poet and calligrapher Xu Lin. The couple divorced during China’s Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976.
  • Fan then married Bian Baohua, a painter and his former classmate. He left her after falling in love with Zhang Guiyin, who was then the wife of Fan’s friend, Chinese actor Xu Zunde. Guiyin changed her name to Nan Li and married Fan five years after divorcing Zunde. She passed away in November 2021.
  • Reports put Fan’s total worth to be around 1 billion yuan ($138 million).
How people reacted:
  • Comments from several Weibo users seemed to be divided, with some users pointing out the apparent age gap between the two. As one comment read, “Mr. Fan is 86 years old and Ms. Xu was born in 1988.”
  • Meanwhile, one comment mentioned the Chinese expression, “Old cow chewing tender grass,” which means an older person is pursuing a younger romantic partner.
  • However, others also supported Fan’s marriage to Xu, as one Weibo user wrote, “Congratulations, the master’s later years should be happy. Wishing the master health and happiness.”
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