Beautiful and Strong: Single Moms in HK Entertainment

Single mother Elaine Ng‘s (吳綺莉) struggles in raising 18-year-old daughter, Etta Ng (吳卓林), have been heartbreaking. Fortunately, there are many single mothers in the Hong Kong entertainment industry whose stories are more uplifting. They inspire women that a divorce or an absentee partner only makes them stronger, and anything is possible when there is love for their children.

Isabella Leong

After her high profile split with Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li (李澤楷), Isabella Leong (梁洛施) remains a beautiful young mother who balances her time between work and raising her three sons. Even when it was recently revealed that her ex-lover is now dating 25-year-old Miss Hong Kong 2nd runner-up, Karman Kwok (郭嘉文), the news does not faze her much.

Not only does Isabella maintain a luxurious lifestyle even after her divorce, but she is frequently seen having dinner and going out with other men while in France and Canada.

Cecilia Cheung

With her marriage and divorce as one of the most high profile in Hong Kong entertainment industry, it is no surprise that Cecilia Cheung (張柏芝) is considered to be one of the strongest single moms. Laden with a rocky film career due to her diva-like attitude and poor work ethics after her split with Nicholas Tse (謝霆鋒) in 2012, Cecilia ultimately decided to devote most of her time for her two sons instead. Relocating to Singapore, Cecilia maintains an active social life while appearing regularly on Mainland Chinese variety shows.

Although Nicholas has rekindled his relationship with ex-girlfriend Faye Wong (王菲), Cecilia still maintains a civil relationship with Nicholas for her children’s sake. While Cecilia was rumored to have dated several men after Nicholas, she still has not found her Mr. Right yet.

Candy Law

Known for her beauty despite being 52 years old, many recall Candy Law’s (羅霖) divorce from businessman Roger Lau (劉坤銘) in 2013. Initially deciding to retire after her wedding in 1996 and subsequently giving birth to three lovely children, many thought she lived every woman’s dream of being a wealthy housewife.

Unfortunately, her husband became abusive and their relationship ended in a messy divorce where she proudly announced that she did not want a single cent in alimony after going separate ways. Instead of taking her ex-husband’s money, Candy began working again and released her own pictorial. While she is in her 50s, Candy’s body is better than many 20-somethings. She maintains an active social life outside of work and was spotted dating men much younger than herself.

Vivian Lai

Vivian Lai (黎瑞恩) was a popular singer in the 1990s. Divorcing her husband after discovering his affair with a Mainland Chinese woman in 2014, Vivian was also diagnosed with two inoperable tumors in her pancreas. Vivian underwent intensive therapy after her divorce, as she fell into depression not understanding why her husband had cheated in their 10-year marriage. Best friend, Winnie Lau (劉小慧), also helped Vivian get back on her feet.

Vivian resumed her singing career after her eldest daughter gave her some words of encouragement. Releasing an album and making a comeback in the music industry, Vivian said divorce is not always necessarily a bad idea.

Leila Tong

Marrying theater actor and director, Desmond Tang (鄧偉傑), Leila Tong (唐寧) is now a mother of two children. The couple filed for divorce in 2017, but did not explain why. Having spent the majority of her time developing her career in Mainland China after leaving TVB, Leila scaled back her work after splitting with her husband. She opted to spend more time volunteering at charity events and organizations.

Shirley Yeung

Once a prominent TVB actress, Shirley Yeung’s (楊思琦) acting career met a major setback when she was involved in a messy breakup with actor Gregory Lee (李永豪). It was later unveiled that Shirley had cheated in their eight-year relationship and got pregnant. The father of her daughter was swimmer, Andy Ng (吳帥), whom she dated for only three months and broke up with after discovering he was financially in debt.

While there were outpours of negative criticism over her relationship issues even after her daughter was born, Shirley never voiced her regret and continues to work hard to earn money for her family. Stating that her daughter was the greatest gift God gave her, Shirley strives to give the very best for her little girl.

Seven years after her scandal, Shirley is slowly earning back praise for being a strong mom with hardworking ethics. After leaving TVB, Shirley juggles her time between working in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Able to maintain a steady income, Shirley is the proud owner of several properties in Hong Kong while supporting her own family.

Source: Cosmopolitan 

This article is written by Su for

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    1. @tiffany
      i didn’t. i guess it’s b/c it was recent. i also didn’t know vivian lai divorced and went through so much. i still remember her getting married not too long ago and there was a show event where to went up to perform her last song before getting married.

      1. @m0m0
        actually, she married in 2002. didn’t realize it was that long ago. i thought she married in 2008.

  1. A few of these are questionable. Honestly, Isabella shouldn’t really be on this list because her story really isn’t “inspiring” — I mean, she got together with one of the richest bachelors in HK (they never married though), got her guaranteed meal tickets for life (the 3 sons she bore him), then quickly split with the guy (if I remember correctly, their relationship only lasted like what, 4 years?)….now she’s a rich single mom who most likely doesn’t even take care of her 3 sons herself (doesn’t matter that she and Richard split, her 3 sons are the heirs to his estate no matter what so most likely he makes sure they are well cared for).

    Candy I feel a little sorry for because her husband was such a jerk and so she had to come out of retirement in her late 40s/early 50s to make money all over again in order to take care of them. She seems to be doing ok though with her pictorial being so popular…

    Leila’s split with her husband was the most shocking to me, as they seemed to have such a good, compatible relationship. And it’s interesting that the reason for their split is still a secret…probably since Leila is less in the spotlight now so the media has been leaving her alone…not a bad thing I guess.

    The one I sympathize with the most is Vivian Lai. She did everything the right way — retired, got married, had kids, continued to stay in touch with her entertainment industry friends by occasionally attending their concerts, events, etc, never had any rumors, was never involved in any scandals..basically, she did her part as good wife and mother and then some….yet her husband still cheated on her so she dumped him (good for her!) and has been working hard the last few years to revive her career so she can raise her 2 kids who are still relatively young (early teens?). She did have a few health scares the last few years though so I worry about her….hopefully her path will be smoother going forward…I’m continuing to root for her!

    1. @llwy12

      I agree with you that the one I felt the worse for is Vivian Lai. She is and was one of my most favorite singers of all time. I spent my high school and university days listening to her songs and watching her MVs. I still remember how sad, emotional and touching it was when she had her farewell concert. However, many were so happy for her as they thought she would be happy and set for life. Sadly, life is unpredictable so you never know what can happen in life. I think that is why I feel a woman should never give up her career even after you marry since you never know what can happen. She was such a good wife and mother but yet her stupid ex husband did not know how to appreciate her. I truly admire her strength and courage to work so hard to raise her kids. I heard she did not take any money from her ex too and I find that admirable as that shows she was never a gold digger. Women like that these days are rare. I heard about her health scares too so hope she is ok. Her life is already so sad so hope that she at least has her health. So sad that she had to divorce, but am very happy to see her sing again. I thought she would never sing again but it shows us that anything in life is possible. Wish her the best!

      I too am shocked about Leila Tong’s divorce but that once again shows usually things are more than what meets the eye. Some people/couples may appear happy and blissful, but are they truly happy behind closed doors? You never know. I was shocked about Taiwanese actor Vincent Jiao’s divorce years ago too. He seemed to have a happy marriage with 2 daughters and all. However, one day his ex wife just suddenly wanted a divorce. His ex wife took a lot of his money and then his daughters too. He is now remarried to this other actress that he worked together several years ago and now has a son with her. It is truly fate. At least it worked out well for him in spite of having a devastating divorce. Hope things work out well for Vivian. She is truly a great mom to her children.

      By the way, I totally agree with you that some of these actresses should not be on this list as they get a lot of financial support like Isabella for example. The true single moms are people like Vivian Lai who truly must work hard to raise her children. I admire her very much.

    2. @llwy12 didn’t know Leila got a divorce.

      Vivian’s ex MIL disliked her as she is a singer…doesn’t match up to the status (Goldlion). Her husband cheated on her with a woman in China.

      Isabella never got married with Richard Li because his family didn’t accept her for the lack of education.

    3. @llwy12
      Haha lol… I know right…..Including Isabella Leong??? Seriously, that one is a gold-digger thru and thru. She can not be compared w/the others at all. lol….. I have no idea who the 50 year old is or Vivian Lai but the 50 yo looks really good thou. Wow… Leila Tong – She looks so young herself my goodness, no clue she got married/divorced. ahha lol….

  2. I feel bad for Vivian & Candy (what a strong woman Candy is!). Shirley Yeung kind of brought it upon herself, but she’s still a very strong mom nevertheless. It’s not easy being back in the limelight after a deep personal setback.

  3. Another classic case of if she brought it upon herself, she deserved it and therefore not a strong single mother. Doesn’t matter how she got there, it’s how she deal with it, that make her a strong single mother. If Vivian is a strong single mother, I see Shirley is just as strong.

    1. @littlefish It matters how they got there because it will likely affect how the kid(s) turn out, especially if the mother repeatedly makes wrong decisions (as in the case of Elaine). With that said though, I do agree that Shirley is a strong single mother, as she was able to rise above the one major mistake she made, put her past behind her, work hard to raise her daughter the best she can. The two that I feel don’t belong on this list are Isabella (for the reasons I stated above) and Cecilia, as she is by no means a struggling single mother with little to no means of support — there is plenty of family on both sides (both hers as well as Nic’s) that are more than willing to help her and of course Nic supports the kids financially, even though he’s not there physically so to me, she can’t be compared to the others on this list who are all worse off than her.

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