Fan Bingbing has broken her silence. In late July, the Chinese actress—a major star in her home country, equivalent to Hollywood figures like Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Stone —disappeared from the spotlight, making no public outings and posting nothing on her formerly active social media accounts. The stark disappearance sparked concerns as new reports claimed that she had run into trouble with the Chinese government because of an alleged tax evasion scandal. The rumors spread—had she been arrested? Had she fled the country? What in the world happened to this mega-star?
On Tuesday, Fan finally put the rumors to rest, releasing a statement on her Weibo account in which she admits to committing tax evasion and asks the public to forgive her.
She apologized to fans and colleagues, writing that she took advantage of Chinas “split contracts” practice. (Actor salaries there are limited to a certain figure; to get around that, some stars sign multiple contracts that pay different sums for the same project.) Fan also explained that she has spent her days under the radar with taxation authorities, who investigated her accounts, as well as those of her companys.
“I have realized that, as a public figure, I shouldve observed the law, setting a good example for society and the industry,” she wrote. “I shouldnt have lost my ability to govern myself in the face of economic interests, leading myself to break the law.”
Fans tone grows more and more apologetic over the course of the statement, as she repeatedly begs for forgiveness from the public. Its intense to read, not least because she also openly says shes facing “enormous fears and worries over the mistakes I made.” The actress did not allude to what awaits her after the investigation comes to a close, but she did write that she will follow whatever order is authorized. In addition, she will pay back the taxes and fines accordingly.
Per Chinese state news outlet Xinhua, via The Hollywood Reporter, the actress could face up to $100 million in fines from the Chinese government, while other outlets guess the total could be as much as $128 million. Per those outlets, the actress may not face criminal prosecution, since this is her first major offense.
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:The Must-See Celebrity Sightings at Paris Fashion WeekYohana DestaYohana Desta is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.