Lin Chi-ling has finally found her “soul mate.”
The Taiwanese actress and supermodel created an online frenzy when she announced her marriage to J-pop star Akira last week.
“I’m married. I feel so blessed to have your support,” Lin wrote on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.
What followed was a deluge of congratulations after more than 1.7 billion online views.
One recurring theme was Lin’s age. At 44, she has been branded a “golden leftover woman” by the Chinese media because of her US$45 million fortune and the fact she was still single.
“I always firmly believed that if I believed strongly enough in love, I would find it,” she messaged.
“I’m married! I hope that everyone who believes in love will find [the] happiness that belongs solely to you,” she added.
Regarded as an inspiration for singleton generations in Taiwan and China, Lin has refused to bow to convention, encapsulated in the sexist label of “leftover women.”
After a successful modeling career, she made an impact in John Woo’s historical film epic Red Cliff in 2008 when she played the role of Xiaoqiao. Last year, she starred in The Monkey King 3 as the River God.
Before dating Exile boy band member Akira, she had been romantically linked to Taiwanese actor and singer Jerry Yan.
She also dated businessman Qiu Shi-kai, who is known as the “toilet tycoon” in the Chinese media after making a fortune selling bathroom fittings.
“At my age, I am not looking for someone to rely on, but just a soul mate for a companion,” Lin told the mainland press last year.
“After all, I have to spend the rest of my life with that person,” she added.
And “that person” is Akira, whose real name is Ryohei Kurosawa.
The 37-year-old Japanese idol broke into show business with the group Exile, which has since sold more than 20 million records and garnered more than 70 music industry awards in Japan.
Back in 2011, the pair met in the stage adaptation of the movie blockbuster Red Cliff at the Aoyama Theater in Tokyo.
“With a smile, she always accepts me for who I am and I constantly feel nothing but appreciation for her kindness,” he said in his Instagram post. “It pushes me to be better and I truly want to make her happy.”
Still, it is Lin’s stance as a career singleton that has made her a symbol of defiance for her online female fans.
In Leftover in China by Roseann Lake, the author pointed out that well educated and successful women have even been called “the third sex.”
“It’s as if a Chinese woman is driven off the showroom floor on her 30th birthday; she instantly loses her retail value,” an anonymous interviewee Dr X, a well-connected former government official, said in Lake’s bestseller.
For Lin, dispelling those misogyny “myths” has ironically made her a standard bearer for generations of female high-fliers.