In 2008, the entertainment industry was shocked by a deluge of nude photos of actor Edison Chen with various female celebrities, including singer-actress Gillian Chung. The celebrities involved soon became the subject of heavy criticism and media scrutiny.
The whole ordeal was particularly trying for Gillian, who went on a hiatus for a year after the photos were published. She was also dropped from a number of television programmes and advertorials. The pop duo Twins, which consists of Gillian and fellow singer-actress Charlene Choi, was temporarily disbanded as well.
Last week, Gillian appeared on the survival show Everybody Stand By, where the celebrity cast will be tested on their acting ability, facing off against each other by acting out classic films and dramas.
Under the tutelage of director Chen Kaige, Gillian acted out the story of 1930s actress Ruan Lingyu. Lingyu was one of the leading actresses of her time, and her personal life was put under heavy scrutiny by the tabloids. She took her own life at the age of 24.
Gillian later talked about how she interpreted her role of Lingyu, sharing that she could understand the immense pressure the late actress must have been under.
“When I was suffering terribly, at my lowest point in life, I was truly unable to face people. Gossip is a fearful thing,” Gillian commented, alluding to the events of 2008.
The actress added that it must have been worse for Lingyu, as society as a whole was more conservative back then.
“Gossip is basically something that has the power to force someone to their death,” Gillian said.
She shared that she had actually collaborated with Kaige before, for the movie, Forever Entralled. The movie was initially scheduled to be released in 2008, but her involvement in the Edison Chen photo scandal raised objections from the public. Thus, her part was eventually cut from the film. Gillian added that this was one of her biggest regrets, and that she had joined Everybody Stand By mainly because she wanted to work with the director again.