Tony Leung Shares How He Deals with Social Anxiety

Despite being an actor for over 40 years, Tony Leung (梁朝偉) downplays his career accomplishment and insists that he is just an ordinary and sensitive person. In an interview, Tony reveals that he had an unhappy childhood and had to find ways to cope with his social anxiety.

Recalling his childhood, Tony still has a vivid memory of when his parents quarreled and the pain it gave him, “My parents quarreled every day and I still remember how scared I was at that time. Every night, I heard them arguing and I would grab my quilt to cry. I remember that it was a cold winter. I remember the smell of the rusty iron window. I even remember the temperature and smell. I don’t know why, maybe I was very sensitive even when I was young.”

After his parents had a divorce, Tony became more withdrawn, “I was a very lively child, but after my father left, I hid everything inside of me. My father took me to the amusement park but I was not happy at all. I remember my dad liked to take photos and I saved that picture. I stood very still when he took that photo.”

Acting as an Emotional Outlet

Tony confessed that his childhood trauma was the root cause for his depression, but it also pushed him to be a good actor, “By chance I joined a training class and found that acting can help me vent out my repressed emotions. No one knew if it was my real self or if I was playing a role. In fact, it had some of my real emotions. I felt very lucky to be an actor because acting created a balance in my life.”

Before Tony graduated from his acting class, he caught the eye of producer Lam Lai Jan (林麗真) and was casted to be the host of children’s program 430 Space Shuttle < 430穿梭機>. Tony is thankful for the opportunity and described Lam Lai Jan as his mentor, boss, teacher and mother, “Without her, I wouldn’t be here today. She is a very important person in my acting career.”

Dealing with Social Anxiety

Tony also spoke candidly about his social anxiety and shared the methods he used to cope. When Tony meets someone for the first time, he would feel overwhelmed. In the public settings, Tony coped by responding with a small smile, a wave, using small gestures and kept communication simple

To keep his spirits high, Tony picked up skiing as a hobby and had been making annual trip to Japan in the last 30 years. Despite his travel habits, Tony stops short of learning a new language because of his anxiety, “I can’t say a word of Japanese because I don’t want to talk to people. I would go there as if I had gone to a different country and I can give myself space. People who don’t watch movies might not know me. In all parts of Asia, I always feel like I’m being under surveillance.”

Tony added, “Everyone just looks at me, takes their phone out (secretly) to put it on social media, or comes over for pictures and autographs. Sometimes when you are not working and as an ordinary person, you would feel tired. I deliberately did not learn the language because I don’t want to talk to people at all. When you don’t know the language, you can say at most a sentence or two.”

Tony shared that he is the happiest when he is riding his bike or surfing the wave. Now Tony takes time to appreciate the moments when he is not wearing his acting cap and gets to be an ordinary person. Tony added, “Simplicity is bliss. The simpler the better.”

Source: HK On CC

This article is written by Sammi for

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