Taiwanese supermodel Lin Chiling shocked the world today when she revealed that she is now married to Akira, a member of Japanese boyband Exile.

Chiling, 44, posted a photo of herself with Akira, 37, on Chinese microblogging site Weibo on Thursday night (June 6), with a long note.

In it, she says: “I have always believed that if I believe in love, love will one day reward me. After many falls, twists and turns, we met at a different time – a right time, which showed us the face of love.”

She ended the note by saying: “I’m married! I hope that everyone of you who believes in love will find a happiness that belongs to you.”

Her post jumped to the top of Weibo’s realtime trending charts and garnered over 700,000 likes and over 100,000 retweets in less than 40 minutes.

Akira, whose real name is Ryohei Kurosawa, has been part of Exile as a performer and dancer since 2006 and is considered part of its second generation. Exile is a popular boyband in Japan that has 19 members, 15 of whom are active, and operates under a system where new members can join while old members depart or retire.

Akira also posted on both Weibo and his official Instagram account. He explained that he and Chiling met eight years ago during the Japanese stage play production of Red Cliff. Chiling, whose modelling work led her to acting opportunities, played Xiaoqiao in John Woo’s historical film Red Cliff (2008) and reprised her role for the stageplay, starring opposite Akira, who played her husband—the strategist Zhou Yu.

He added that Chiling and him stayed friends after the stage production and started dating at the end of last year.

In an English Instagram caption that followed a lengthy Japanese one, he said: “With a smile, she always accepts me for who I am, and I constantly feel nothing but appreciation for her kindness. It pushes me to be better and I truly want to make her happy.”

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日頃より皆様方には大変お世話になっており、誠にありがとうございます。 私事ではございますが、 以前から交友のあった女優の林志玲(リン・チーリン)さんと、 6 月 6 日に結婚しましたことをご報告させていただきます。 8 年前に共演した舞台「レッドクリフ ~愛~」をきっかけに、 長い間、親しい友人としてお付き合いしていくなかでお互いに惹かれ合い、 人生のパートナーとして共に歩んでいきたいと強く思い、 昨年から交際に至り、これまで 2 人の仲を深め、向き合ってきました。 多忙な日々の中、志玲さんはいつも自分のことよりも家族や仲間を大切にし、 それ以上に、自分の活動を通してファンの皆様やアジアの多くの方々を大切にし、 沢山の愛情や勇気を届けている姿を近くで見てきて、 その責任感の強さと、愛に溢れる人柄に心惹かれました。 そして、どんな時も、ありのままの僕を笑顔で受け入れてくれる大きな優しさに、 感謝の気持ちと共に、志玲さんを心から幸せにしたいと真摯に思いました。 まだまだ未熟者ではございますが、これからは志玲さんと家族を大切にしながら、 これまで皆様が与えてくださった全てに感謝し、表現者としてこれまで以上に 自覚と責任を持って、芸道に精進してまいります。 そして、エンタテインメントの世界で今以上に初心を忘れず、 日頃から応援してくださっている皆様に恩返し出来ますよう精進していきたいと 思っておりますので、今後とも、どうぞよろしくお願いいたします。 令和元年 6 月 6 日 EXILE AKIRA #出会ったころの写真を使わせていただきました #AKIRA #林志玲 ーーーーーーーーーーーーーーー To all my fans: Thank you always for your continuous support. I am excited to announce that on June 6th, I married Lin Chi-ling, the famous actress, with whom I have had a long-standing friendship. Ever since sharing the stage with her on “Red Cliff -Love-” eight years ago, we developed a friendship and just last year, it evolved into something more. I felt strongly that I want her to be my partner in life as we see our true selves in each other. No matter how busy she may be, she always puts her family, friends and fans before herself and constantly strives to provide love and courage to many people across Asia, always staying true to her roots. I was strongly attracted to her sense of responsibility and caring nature. With a smile, she always accepts me for who I am, and I constantly feel nothing but appreciation for her kindness. It pushes me to be better and I truly want to make her happy. I am in no way accomplished and I still have many things to learn, but because I cherish this bond with her and her family, I will continue down my path as an artist with a higher sense of self-awareness and responsibility, while not forgetting to appreciate everything that you all have given me. I will not forget where I came from, and will work harder, in order to give back to all the people who have always supported me. Sincerely, EXILE AKIRA

A post shared by EXILE AKIRA (@exileakira_official) on

On Weibo, he shared Chiling’s post and added in Chinese: “I will make you happy for the rest of your life.”

The news of their marriage came as a shock as Lin and Akira were not previously reported to be dating. Chiling was linked to Taiwanese actor Jerry Yan previously. The two were in an on-again-off-again relationship and were photographed vacationing together in 2017, sparking talks of reconciliation.

She was also once linked to Scott Chiu, the scion of a major bathroom fixtures firm in Taiwan.

Jerry Yan’s name began trending at the second spot on Weibo’s real-time charts after news of Chiling’s marriage broke.

Taiwanese media reported that Jerry, who is filming in Beijing, was surprised and unaware of Chiling’s marriage news beforehand.

Many celebrities have come forth to give Chiling their well-wishes with home-grown singer JJ Lin, actresses Ruby Lin, Shu Qi and Charlene Choi leaving messages of congratulations.

Taiwanese talk show host Kevin Tsai, best known for hosting Mr Con and Ms Csi with Dee Hsu and a close personal friend of Chiling’s, dedicated a post to her on his Facebook.

He uploaded a photo of the model-actress laughing and wrote: “We said we were going to be braver this year. You did it! Knowing where happiness lies and moving towards it – that’s bravery.

“I’m happy for you, my dear Chiling.”

Image: Instagram
Text: Jan Lee / The Straits Times / June 2019