Kris Wu

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Kris Wu
吴亦凡
咪咕音乐盛典 (24).jpg
Wu in 2017
Born
Li Jiaheng (李嘉恒)

(1990-11-06) 6 November 1990 (age 30)
Guangzhou, China
Other names
  • Kevin Li[1]
  • Wu Yi Fan
Citizenship
  • Chinese (1990–2000s)
  • Canadian (2000s–present)
Alma materSir Winston Churchill Secondary School
Occupation
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actor
  • model
Years active2012–present[2][3]
Musical career
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Genres
InstrumentsVocals
Labels
Associated acts
Wu Yi Fan
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Li Jiaheng
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Websitewww.kriswuofficial.com

Wu Yi Fan[4] (Chinese: 吴亦凡, pronounced [ǔ î fân]; born 6 November 1990), known professionally as Kris Wu, is a Chinese Canadian actor, singer, record producer, rapper, and model with ancestral roots in Hubei.[5][6] He is a former member of South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo and its subgroup Exo-M under SM Entertainment, before leaving the group in 2014.[7]

Wu is active as a solo artist and actor in Mainland China and has starred in several No. 1 box office hits including Mr. Six (2015) and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017), which are among the highest-grossing Chinese films of all time in China. He made his Hollywood debut in XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017).

On 31 July 2021, Kris Wu was detained by Beijing police on rape allegations.[8] On 16 August 2021, the People's Procuratorate of Chaoyang District of Beijing approved his arrest on suspicion of rape.

Early life[edit]

Li Jiaheng (Chinese: 李嘉恒; pinyin: Lǐ Jiāhéng) was born on 6 November 1990 in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China[9] to Wu Xiuqin (later Stacey Yu Wu[10]) and Li Kaiming. His parents divorced when he was a toddler.[11]

At the age of 10, he moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his mother.[12] He returned to China at the age of 14 and attended Guangzhou No. 7 Middle School for a brief period, after which he and his mother went back to Vancouver, where he attended Point Grey Secondary School and Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School under the name Kevin Li.[13][1] At the age of 17, his legal name was changed to Wu Yi Fan (Chinese: 吴亦凡; pinyin: Wú Yìfán).

At the age of 18, Wu auditioned for SM Entertainment's Canadian global auditions, which were held in Vancouver; after passing the auditions, he became a trainee for the company and was offered a role in Exo in 2012.[9]

Career[edit]

2012–2014: Debut with Exo[edit]

On 17 February 2012, Wu was introduced as the eleventh member of Exo.[14] In April 2012, Exo made their debut and quickly became one of the most popular K-pop groups in South Korea and internationally, achieving commercial success with their studio album XOXO and their hit song "Growl" in 2013. The album became the first album by a Korea-based artist in twelve years to sell over one million copies, and is the 12th best selling album of all time in Korea.[15] Before leaving the group, Wu was featured on Exo's Overdose album, which was released in May 2014 and became the best selling album of 2014 in South Korea.

Wu Yifan at Hallyu Star Street in March 2014

2014–2016: Solo debut and other activities[edit]

Wu released "Time Boils the Rain" as part of the soundtrack for the Chinese box office hit Tiny Times 3 in July 2014.[16] In the following year, he became the youngest celebrity to have a wax figure at Madame Tussauds Shanghai and was named "Newcomer of the Year" by Esquire China.[17][18]

Wu made his film debut in Somewhere Only We Know, directed by Xu Jinglei.[19] The film was released on 14 February 2015 and debuted at No.1 on the Chinese box office, grossing US$37.81 million in six days following its release.[20] He won the "Best Newcomer Award" at the 3rd China International Film Festival London for his performance.[21]

He then starred in his second film Mr. Six, which closed at the Venice Film Festival.[22][23] The film was a box office hit, grossing over US$137 million and becoming one of the highest-grossing films in China.[24] The same year, Wu starred alongside Liu Yifei in So Young 2: Never Gone[25] and romance melodrama Sweet Sixteen.[26] He won the "Newcomer with the Most Media Attention" award at the Shanghai International Film Festival[27] and "Best Actor" at the Gold Crane Award for his performance.[28] Wu also starred in the blockbuster fantasy film L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties, directed and written by Guo Jingming.[29]

2017–present: International appearances and Antares[edit]

Wu made his runway debut at Burberry's Fall 2016 Men's Show in London.[30][31] He also took part in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game as a member of Team Canada, coached by Drake.[32]

In January 2017, Wu made his U.S. film debut in D. J. Caruso's XXX: Return of Xander Cage.[33][34] He released the single "Juice", featuring Vin Diesel in the music video, as part of the soundtrack on 19 January .[35] Wu then starred in Stephen Chow's film, Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, playing Tang Sanzang.[36]

In February 2017, Wu represented China at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.[37] The same month, Wu accepted his second invitation to play in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.[38] Forbes listed Wu their 30 Under 30 Asia 2017 list which comprises 30 influential people under 30 years old who have made substantial effect in their fields.[39]

In July 2017, Wu co-starred in Luc Besson's science fiction film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.[40]

Wu in 2017

In October 2017, Wu released "Deserve", featuring American rapper Travis Scott. Upon its release, "Deserve" placed No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes chart, making Wu the only Chinese artist to achieve the feat.[41] At the end of 2017, Wu released a single, "B.M.". Kris released another single, "Miss You" featuring Zhao Liying on Christmas Day 2017. The music video was released on 28 December.[42]

Wu starred in the 2018 Hong Kong-made action thriller Europe Raiders, alongside Tony Leung.[43]

As of April 2018, future music from Wu will be released internationally, excluding Japan and Korea, through a partnership of Universal Music China, Interscope in the United States and Island Records in the United Kingdom[44] Wu's debut album Antares featuring the 2018 singles "Like That" and "Freedom" (featuring Jhené Aiko) was released on 2 November 2018.[45]

On 19 April 2019, Wu released a single, "Big Bowl, Thick Noodle", the music video for which was viewed over 90 million times on streaming site Miaopai.[46] Wu then embarked on his Alive Tour, performing at cities across China.[47] On 6 November 2019, his 29th birthday, Wu released a second single, "Eternal Love", along with an accompanying micro film starring himself and Japanese model Mitsuki Kimura, the daughter of actor Takuya Kimura.[48]

On 22 April 2020, Wu released a 4-track EP entitled Testing, preceded by the single "Aurora" on 15 April. The EP was pre-ordered 1 million times just 87 minutes after being made available on Tencent streaming platform QQ Music, marking a new record for the platform. The EP features three Chinese songs and one in English.[49][50]

Personal life[edit]

Wu can speak four languages: Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), English, and Korean.[51]

In August 2019, during the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, Wu shared photos of the Chinese flag accompanied by the hashtags "the Chinese national flag has 1.4 billion flag bearers" and "I am a flag bearer" on his official Weibo account.[52]

Endorsements and ambassadorship[edit]

In 2015, Wu became the youth ambassador for the 3rd Silk Road International Film Festival in Xian.[53]

In 2016, he became the first endorser for Mixxtail.[54] Mercedes-Benz chose Wu as their brand ambassador in China for their Smart division[55] and introduced the limited edition "Kris Wu Edition" smart.[56] Wu has also been made the global ambassador for I.T Cashback Card under American Express Hong Kong. The brand made him chief design advisor and the face of their latest in-house brand, Under Garden. He designed the lookbook for the latest collection.[57] Burberry chose Wu as their global ambassador in 2016, making him the first non-British as well as the first Asian person to be the face of the brand.[58] It was reported that Burberry experienced a growth in sales and awareness with Chinese shoppers thanks to Kris' campaign.[59]

Wu made his international debut as the brand ambassador of Bulgari at 2017 BaselWorld.[60][61]

Philanthropy[edit]

In June 2014, Wu joined Heart Ali, a project started by Fan Bingbing and Chen Lizhi (the general manager of Beijing Maite Media). The charity project is aimed at helping children suffering from congenital heart defects in Ngari Prefecture in Tibet.[62]

On 21 January 2016, he launched his own charity project called Extraordinary Honorary Court (不凡荣誉球场), a collaboration project with Sina, Weibo Sports, and Weibo Charity. The goal is to spread basketball in middle schools in China to encourage all basketball-loving youth to continue their dreams of pursuing this sport.[63] Wu was also announced as the ambassador for China's Jr. NBA program and is part of the program's mentor group.[64][65]

Controversies[edit]

SM Entertainment lawsuit[edit]

On 15 May 2014, Wu filed a lawsuit against the agency to terminate his contract.[66] SM Entertainment claimed to be completely taken aback despite having dealt with several disputes regarding their contracts in the past.[67]

On 30 July 2015, SM Entertainment filed a lawsuit against Wu and the Chinese companies working with him at the Beijing court, stating that "these activities have infringed the rights of the EXO members and SM, and have caused great financial harm to us and our partners. This is not only an abuse of the system, but also an unethical move that has betrayed the trust of this company and the other members."[68] The following day, Wu released a statement defending himself stating that SM Entertainment had made him leave the group for several months and that SM Entertainment's way of mistreating and neglecting their artists resulted in serious health issues: he had to take medication to be able to work from July 2013 to January 2014, when he was diagnosed with myocarditis.[69] A settlement was reached that he will be under their management in only Korea and Japan.[70]

Sexual abuse allegations and arrest[edit]

On 8 July 2021, Du Meizhu, a 19-year old Chinese college student, posted allegations online accusing Wu of a pattern of sexual assault involving multiple women, some underage, while they are unconscious and under the influence of alcohol. Through the Chinese social media platform Weibo, she stated she was raped under intoxication at age 17 and that she speaks for at least seven other victims, two of whom were minors at the time of the crime.[71]

The allegations were denied by Wu, though it was later revealed that Wu's team attempted to silence the accusers with hush payments.[72] The alleged sex crimes are currently under investigation by the Beijing Public Security Bureau and other authorities, though multiple brands have dropped or suspended endorsement deals with Wu.[73][74]

Kris Wu was detained by police in Beijing on 31 July 2021, and formally arrested on 16 August 2021, on suspicion of rape.[75][76]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes Ref.
2015 Somewhere Only We Know 有一个地方只有我们知道 Ze Yang [19]
Mr. Six 老炮儿 Xiao Fei [22]
2016 The Mermaid 美人鱼 Long Jianfei Cameo [77]
So Young 2: Never Gone 致青春2:原来你还在这里 Cheng Zheng [25]
Sweet Sixteen 夏有乔木,雅望天堂 Xia Mu [26]
L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties 爵迹 Yin Chen [29]
2017 XXX: Return of Xander Cage 极限特工3:终极回归 Nicks [33]
Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back 西游伏妖篇 Tang Sanzang [36]
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 星际特工 Captain Neza [40]
2018 Europe Raiders 欧洲攻略 Le Qi [43]
L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties 2 爵跡2:冷血狂宴 Yin Chen Released via Tencent on 4 December 2020 [78]

Television[edit]

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes Ref.
TBA The Golden Hairpin 青簪行 Li Shubai [79]

Variety show[edit]

Year English title Chinese title Role Network Notes Ref.
2015 Challenger's Alliance 挑战者联盟 Fixed Cast Zhejiang TV
2017 72 Floors of Mystery 七十二层奇楼 Hunan TV
The Rap of China 中国有嘻哈 Producer iQiyi
2018 The Next Top Bang 中国梦之声·下一站传奇 Fixed Cast Dragon TV



2019 Fourtry 潮流合伙人 Host iQiyi
2020 Chuang 2020 创造营2020 Special Guest Judge & Mentor Tencent Video
The Rap of China 2020 中国新说唱2020 Producer iQiyi

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2014 Esquire Man at His Best Awards 2014 Newcomer of the Year N/A Won [18]
Sohu Fashion Awards Asian Fashion Icon of the Year
2015 Sina 15th Anniversary Outstanding Youth Award [80]
22nd Beijing College Student Film Festival Best New Actor Somewhere Only We Know Nominated
3rd China International Film Festival London Best New Actor Won [21]
Best Actor Nominated
Asian Influence Awards Most Influential Male God N/A Won [81]
NetEase Attitude Awards Idol With Most Attitude on the Silver Screen [82]
2016 Sina Weibo Awards Weibo King [83]
Strong New Actor Mr. Six
GMIC X Annual Awards Mainland China Actor of the Year [84]
19th Shanghai International Film Festival Newcomer with the Most Media Attention Sweet Sixteen [27]
Fresh Asia Awards Most Influential Male Singer of the Year "Bad Girl" [85]
29th Tokyo International Film Festival
Gold Crane Awards Ceremony (TIFFJAPAN)
Best Actor Sweet Sixteen [28]
The 10th Migu Music Awards Most Popular Male Singer of the Year (China) N/A [86]
Top 10 Songs of the Year "July"
Tencent Entertainment White Paper Celebrity of the Year N/A [87]

Forbes China Celebrity 100[edit]

Year Rank Ref.
2017 10th [88]
2019 10th [89]
2020 8th [90]

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