While Stephen Chow (周星馳) may enjoy the wealth that stems from his box-office success and investments, his personal relationships seem to draw a different story. Tin Kai Man (田啟文), most notable for playing Stephen’s wacky sidekick in various comedies, worked alongside with Stephen since 1996 but had a fall out in 2009. He revealed during a radio interview that while Stephen has a wide network of contacts, he is a loner and not good at maintaining interpersonal relationships.
During the interview, Tin Kai Man addressed the rumors that Stephen is a cheapskate. “I think Stephen knows exactly what he is doing with his money – he puts his money into the bigger items and watches it closely.” However, Tin Kai Man also shared that Stephen did rip him off before. “Stephen said he will buy me a shirt and told me to choose something off the rack. I was so happy and I ended up choosing a $200 HKD shirt. Afterwards I told him that I’ll treat him to watch a movie and he agreed, but he also wanted to invite some friends and asked me to purchase 13 movie tickets total. So actually, I ended up forking over more money for the movie tickets than the shirt itself!”
Tin Kai Man then pointed out that Stephen sometimes does not have other people’s best intentions in mind. He said, “I didn’t go out to dinner with the cast and crew one night after filming Shaolin Soccer <少林足球> because I went to see the doctor. When I explained to Stephen that I had to see the doctor for my back pain, he said, ‘Then you need to rest. But then we will also film your fight scene first thing tomorrow morning’.” At that point, Tin Kai Man really felt that Stephen was being truly unreasonable. Today, Tin Kai Man is happily working behind the scenes as Ronald Cheng’s (鄭中基) manager.
There are a slew of other celebrities who have had not-so-pleasant encounters with Stephen, including:
Athena Chu (朱茵)
Athena and Stephen dated for 3 years in the 1990s. Athena caught Stephen cheating in the relationship when she visited him at a hotel and realized there was a woman hiding in the bathroom. Athena was heartbroken and never forgave Stephen for his infidelity.
Danny Lee (李修賢)
Danny was actually the one who brought Stephen into the entertainment industry. He has publicly criticized Stephen for not remembering his roots by saying, “A person needs to honest with themselves. Money is not everything – friendship is more important.”
Ng Man Tat (吳孟達)
Ng Man Tat and Stephen were partners in crime – starring in many comedy hits together. When Ng could not commit to starring in Kung Fu <功夫> due to a scheduling conflict, they went their separate ways.
Lee Lik Chi (李力持)
Partnering with Stephen to direct box office hits such as The God of Cookery <食神>, Flirting Scholar <唐伯虎點秋香> and King of Comedy <喜劇之王>, Lee Lik Chi but has not worked together since Kung Fu due to conflicting opinions on production.
Alice Yu (于文鳳)
Stephen’s ex-girlfriend of 13 years, Alice Yu, sued him last year for $70 million HKD in investment earnings and consulting fees. Alice came from a wealthy background and possessed financial acumen to help Stephen earn lucrative profits through real estate investments.
Wong Jing (王晶)
Wong Jing and Stephen Chow collaborated for close to a decade, spinning out memorable classics such as God of Gamblers 2 <赌侠 2>. The partnership reportedly ended because of an argument over money. Wong Jing recently stated, “Many people think that I love money. Actually, I love movies more than money. He [Stephen Chow] definitely likes money more than movies.” Wong further jabbed that Stephen’s wealth was made largely from investments, in which his ex-girlfriend, Alice Yu, had helped him earn. Without naming names, Wong further hinted that Stephen had used his former girlfriend for her financial acumen and then kicked her aside when she no longer was valuable to him.
Regarding Wong’s criticisms, Stephen only said, “Actually, I don’t know Wong Jing that well.”
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