Sun Li (actress)

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Sun Li
Born (1982-09-26) 26 September 1982 (age 41)
Shanghai, China
Alma materShanghai Oriental Culture College
Occupation(s)Actress, singer
Years active2001–present
AgentHairun Media
(m. 2010)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese孫儷
Simplified Chinese孙俪

Sun Li (Chinese: 孙俪, born 26 September 1982),[1] also known as Susan Sun,[note 1] is a Chinese actress. In 2018, she became the youngest Chinese actress to win the "Grand Slam", after winning the three biggest television awards, the Flying Apsaras Awards, Golden Eagle Awards and the Magnolia Awards.[2][3]


Sun first entered show business by participating in 2001's Star Search, held by Singapore's MediaCorp.[4] She reached the finals and earned the praise of judge Andy Lau. Following the competition, Sun joined Hairun Media as their first flagship artist.

In 2003, author and TV producer Hai Yan selected her for the female lead in the television series Goddess of Mercy.[5] Sun received overwhelmingly positive feedback from audiences for her portrayal of An Xin, and rose to fame in China as one of the most promising young actresses.[citation needed]

In 2006, Sun won the Best Newcomer award at the 28th Hundred Flowers Awards for her performance in Huo Yuanjia co-starring Jet Li.[6][7] She then starred alongside Huang Xiaoming in Shanghai Bund (2007), a mainland remake of the 1980 television series The Bund.[8]

Sun starred in Gordon Chan's horror-adventure film Painted Skin (2008), and was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance as a young and inexperienced demon hunter at numerous award ceremonies.[9] The same year, she starred in Gao Xixi's military-romance drama Tian Mi Mi. The series was chosen by the Chinese Radio & Television Association as one of the Top Ten television series of the year.

Sun then starred in Iron Road (2009), the second joint venture created under Canada/China co-production treaty established in the 1960s.[10] She plays a poor Chinese girl in search of her father who works at a railroad in North America, and challenged speaking in English for the film. For her performance, Sun was crowned Best Actress at the 2nd Roma FictionFest and the 25th Gemini Awards.[11][12] The same year, Sun played the title character in the television series, Auntie Duohe, based on the novel of the same name by acclaimed writer Geling Yan.[13]

Sun gained widespread recognition by playing Zhen Huan in the critically acclaimed historical drama, Empresses in the Palace. She was nominated for an International Emmy Award in the Best Actress category for her role.[14] Praised for being one of the best historical dramas in China, the series garnered high ratings throughout its run and also sparked trends in dialogue quotes and plastic surgery.[15] The same year, she reunited with Painted Skin director Gordan Chan in Mural (also known as Painted Skin 2).[16] She also starred in martial arts film The Lost Bladesman alongside Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen.[17]

For her role as an independent mother in Hot Mom! (2013),[18] Sun won the Best Actress award at the 20th Shanghai Television Festival.[19] She also won the Most Popular Actress award at the 10th China Golden Eagle TV Arts Festival.[20]

In 2015, Sun played Queen Dowager Xuan, the first stateswoman in China, in historical drama The Legend of Mi Yue.[4][21] The series was a commercial success, and recorded the highest ratings of the year.[22] Sun won her second Best Actress trophy at the 22nd Shanghai Television Festival.[23] The same year, Sun challenged her first comedy role in Devil and Angel, directed by her husband Deng Chao.[24]

In 2017, Sun played the lead character in the period drama Nothing Gold Can Stay, based on a real-life story of Zhou Ying, a budding businesswoman who takes on the responsibilities from her dead husband and starts rebuilding their business empire from scratch.[25][26] For her performance in the role, Sun was awarded the Outstanding Actress award at the Flying Apsaras Awards.[27]

In 2018, Sun starred in Zhang Yimou's historical film, Shadow as the female lead. She was nominated in the Best Actress category at the Golden Horse Awards for her performance.[28]

In 2019, Sun was cast in the drama I Will Find You a Better Home as a star property agent, and was nominated for the Best Actress award at the Shanghai Television Festival.[29]

Personal life

Sun and actor Deng Chao registered their marriage in 2010 and held an official wedding ceremony in 2011 when she was five months pregnant. They have two children, a son named Deng Han Zhi (born in November 2011) and a daughter named Deng Han Yi (born in May 2014).[30]

She has a half sister, Sun Yan, who is also an actress. Her sister is 19 years younger than Sun Li.[31]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Fearless Yue Ci (Moon)
2008 Painted Skin Xia Bing
2009 Iron Road Little Tiger
Kung Fu Cyborg Zhou Shumei [32]
2010 Just Another Pandora's Box Rose [33]
2011 The Lost Bladesman Qilan
Mural Shao Yao
2014 Just Another Margin Jin Ling [34]
The Breakup Guru Herself Cameo[35]
2015 Devil and Angel Zha Xiaodao
2018 Shadow Xiao'ai

Television series

Year Title Role Notes
2001 Romance in the Rain Dancer
2003 Goddess of Mercy An Xin
Yi Shuang Xiu Hua Xie Lin Ying [36]
2004 A Ray of Sunshine Yi Aiyuan/Yi Chuanxia [37]
Hong Fen Shi Jia Yao Zhi [38]
Crimson Romance Zhou Xiaobai [39]
2005 Feng Yu Xi Guan Xie Tianhui [40]
Days and a Bureau Zhu Wanqiu [41]
Happiness as Flowers Du Juan [42]
Emerald on the Roof Mo Jiaqi [43]
2007 Shanghai Bund Feng Chengcheng
Yi Shi Qing Yuan Ji Wen [44]
2008 Tian Mi Mi Ye Qing [45]
2009 Auntie Duohe Duo He
2011 The Legend of Zhen Huan Zhen Huan
2013 Hot Mom! Xia Bing
2015 The Legend of Mi Yue Mi Yue
2017 Nothing Gold Can Stay Zhou Ying
2020 I Will Find You a Better Home Fang Sijin
2021 Medal of the Republic Wei Suping [46]
The Ideal City Su Xiao [47]



Year English title Chinese title Language Notes
2006 Love is like the Air 爱如空气 Mandarin [48]
2008 A Little Dream 小小的梦想
2010 Beautiful Signal 美俪暗号


Year English title Chinese title Album Notes
2003 "Happier Than Me" 比我幸福 Goddess of Mercy OST
2006 "Even If There is No Tomorrow" 就算没有明天 Shanghai Bund OST with Huang Xiaoming
2007 "The Moon Represents My Heart" 月亮代表我的心 Tian Mi Mi OST with Deng Chao
2009 "Memory" 记忆 Kungfu Cyborg OST with Alex Fong
2010 "Slowly Be Happy" 慢慢快乐 with Mo Yan Lin
2011 "Mural" 画壁 Mural OST with Deng Chao
2013 "A Stable Happiness" 稳稳的幸福 Hot Mom OST with Zhang Yi
"How Can You Bear to Hurt Me" 你怎么舍得伤害我 Charity song; with Gigi Leung & Valen Hsu
2017 "Can't Forget" 忘不掉 Nothing Gold Can Stay OST

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2004 24th Flying Apsaras Awards Outstanding Actress Goddess of Mercy Nominated
22nd China TV Golden Eagle Award Audience's Choice for Actress Won [49]
Most Popular Actress Won
2005 14th Chunyan Awards Best Actress Won
2006 28th Hundred Flowers Awards Best Newcomer Fearless Won [7]
2007 2nd Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild Awards Best Newcomer Won [50]
26th Hong Kong Film Awards Best New Performer Nominated
13th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Shanghai Bund Nominated
26th Flying Apsaras Awards Outstanding Actress Happiness as Flowers Nominated
2008 2nd Roma FictionFest Best Actress Iron Road Won [11]
24th China TV Golden Eagle Award Audience's Choice for Actress Yi Shi Qing Yuan Nominated
2009 27th Flying Apsaras Awards 60th Anniversary Outstanding Contribution Award Won
28th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Painted Skin Nominated
2nd Iron Elephant Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
27th Golden Rooster Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2010 30th Hundred Flowers Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
25th Gemini Awards Best Actress Iron Road Won [12]
2011 3rd Macau International Movie Festival Best Actress The Lost Bladesman Nominated
2012 18th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Empresses in the Palace Nominated
3rd Macau International Television Festival Best Actress Won [51]
4th China TV Drama Awards Best Actress Won [52]
2013 41st International Emmy Awards Best Actress Nominated [14]
2014 2nd Asia Rainbow TV Awards Best Actress Won [53]
20th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Hot Mom! Won [19]
13th Huading Awards Best Actress Nominated
27th China TV Golden Eagle Award Audience's Choice for Actress Won [20]
10th China Golden Eagle TV Arts Festival Most Popular Actress Won
2016 22nd Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress The Legend of Mi Yue Won [23]
3rd Asia Rainbow TV Awards Best Actress (Ancient Drama) Nominated
2018 31st Flying Apsaras Awards Outstanding Actress Nothing Gold Can Stay Won [27]
24th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress Nominated [54]
29th China TV Golden Eagle Award Best Actress Nominated [55]
55th Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards Best Leading Actress Shadow Nominated [56]
2020 26th Shanghai Television Festival Best Actress I Will Find You a Better Home Nominated [57]
30th China TV Golden Eagle Award Best Actress Nominated [58]
Audience's Choice for Actress Nominated
7th The Actors of China Award Ceremony Best Actress (Sapphire) Nominated [59]
2022 33rd Flying Apsaras Awards Outstanding Actress The Ideal City Nominated [60]

Forbes China Celebrity 100

Year Rank Ref.
2013 22nd [61]
2014 30th [62]
2015 6th [63]
2017 13th [64]
2019 22nd [65]
2020 25th [66]


  1. ^ There was earlier misreporting in US of her name as Betty, corrected by several news agencies in China, such as, HaiBao & Baidu


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External links