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Tue, Nov 03, 2009
The New Paper
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Would Ziyi accept a watch as marriage proposal gift?
by Tan Kee Yin

IT was meant to be a luxury watch event, but instead, all eyes were on something else – the glittering diamond ring on Zhang Ziyi’s finger.

The star of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame was in town yesterday, unveiled as the new ambassador of Swiss timepiece brand Omega.

At the press conference held at Omega’s new flagship store at Ion Orchard, local reporters waited for the arrival of the 30-year-old Chinese actress with bated breath.

Would Ziyi be wearing her engagement ring? Indeed, the ring had been a crucial element in the Ziyi-Nevo on-and-off romance.

She has been engaged to Mr Vivi Nevo, 44, an Israeli billionaire and venture capitalist, since March last year.

In July, they announced their decision to “postpone their wedding indefinitely”, due to their respective hectic schedules.


A month later, when Ziyi was promoting her new comedy, Sophie’s Revenge, in Beijing, she was spotted without her ring, prompting media speculation that her engagement to Mr Nevo was off.

However, last month, the high-profile couple returned to the limelight – their first public appearance together after five months – at the Milan Fashion Festival, she with ring intact and clutching his hand tightly.

Joining the ranks of supermodel Cindy Crawford and Hollywood celebrities Nicole Kidman and George Clooney as the latest spokesman for Omega, Ziyi waltzed on stage with a radiant smile.

And there it was, the ring on the fourth finger of her right hand, the diamond shining brightly.

While Ziyi looked like she was in a good mood, using every picture opportunity to show off her sparkling stone, getting something out of her was, well, akin to getting water out of stone.

Right from the outset, her public relations team instructed the media not to ask questions regarding her personal life.

They shouldn’t have bothered, considering how the so-called press conference was effectively over after just four questions, much to the surprise of the reporters, who hadn’t been forewarned of how short it would be.

Sure, the emcee, Samuel Chong, who used to host The Pyramid Game on TV, fielded questions too, but most of these were obviously posed with the sponsor in mind.

Ziyi’s manager also strategically positioned herself near the press area, her grim face looking like she really meant business.

After the event, The New Paper tried to find out from celebrity hairstylist David Gan and make-up artist Clarence Lee if Ziyi was here alone, but that too drew a blank.

The two were assigned to do Ziyi’s hair and make-up for the day, but they were tight-lipped about her schedule.

“Oh, Ziyi is not alone in Singapore. For business trips, she would always travel with her manager,” said Clarence, 36.

The usually chatty David, too, simply shrugged his shoulders when we asked him if Ziyi had gone shopping earlier.

“Actually, I don’t know. I just returned from overseas,” he said.

Box-office success

Decked out in a purple frock, Ziyi was all smiles when a reporter asked her if she would accept a marriage proposal with a watch as the proposal gift.

“I’d definitely say ‘yes’ if a guy proposes to me with a lovely diamond ring and a fine watch,” she said.

“A situation like that hasn’t happened to me, though!”

Ziyi’s good spirits could partly be explained by her latest film’s box-office success in mainland China.

Sophie’s Revenge, which marked her debut as a producer and her first acting role in a romantic comedy, has crossed the 90 million yuan ($18m) mark in ticket sales.

“It’s the first time that I’ve produced a movie and I’m very happy that a small production like ours have done so well,” she said.

“At this point in my career, I feel that it’s time for me to try my hand in other areas of film besides acting.

“This is certainly a wonderful start.”

She acknowledged that she has been through ups and downs in her movie career, but now she “finds herself more confident than ever”.

“I’m in a state where I feel I’m extremely balanced,” she added.

“Of course, I’ve endured what I would call the lowest point in my career, but that’s in the past. Now, I’m always calm and nothing can really get me down.”

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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