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Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan shares his darker side: five of the most shocking revelations from his memoir

  • The martial arts and film star tells of drinking binges, prostitutes and an affair
  • He admits to domestic violence such as throwing his child Jaycee across the room
PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 December, 2018, 1:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2018, 9:06am

Jackie Chan is unusually frank about his failings and weaknesses in his new memoir, Never Grow Up, which is being published tomorrow.  

He admits to gambling and visiting prostitutes as a young stuntman. He opens up about his difficulties being a father. And he reveals how he behaved like a tacky new-money star during his first flush of fame.

Here are five of the most shocking revelations in Chan’s memoir, in his own words.

Drinking

“Going out and drinking every night did start to erode my professionalism. I went through a phase that was known as ‘one before lunch, one after lunch’.

“If I was called to the studio at seven in the morning, I’d arrive at noon […] I’d show up in dark glasses, looking listless. Why the dark glasses? To hide the fact that my face was puffy from a night of drinking.

“I drove drunk all the time. In the morning I’d crash my Porsche, then in the evening I’d total a Mercedes-Benz. All day long, I went around in a haze.”

Prostitutes

“Even though I made next to nothing, I spent all my wages on drinking, gambling, and girls. We all did.

“I remember the first time I went to a club. I was shy but acted like a big man, anyway. The girl who served me – I knew her as Number Nine – was beautiful, with a sweet personality. On my second visit, I simply asked, ‘Is Number Nine here?’ And that’s how it was every time after that.

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“Every night, Number Nine and I would squeeze into her dingy little cubicle, the low ceiling right above us. The room wasn’t soundproof either, and we could hear pretty much everything around us, clear as crystal. There were times when I’d notice people trying to peep through the cracks in the door at us. Yet this little cubicle seemed like paradise to me.”

Domestic violence

“Joan [Lin, Chan’s wife] and I were having an argument. We reached a stalemate, so I walked out, slammed the door, and went to see [producer] Leonard Ho. He counselled me for a long time and finally said, ‘What are you doing? There’s no need for this. Just go back home, and you can both apologise.’”

“When I got there, Joan was on the sofa, laughing and chatting with a female friend. That made me angry […] Just as I was about to say something to her, Jaycee ran in, his hands pointed at me like guns, shouting ‘Bang! Bang!’ like he was shooting me to avenge his mother.

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“Then he snatched the keys out my hand and threw them on the floor. When I bent down to pick them up, he kicked my hand away! I was furious.

“I picked him up with one hand and flung him across the room, and he crashed into the sofa.”

Affair

“In 1999, I made a serious mistake.

“When the news broke about an affair I’d had that resulted in a child, the media frenzy was like a bomb going off. I wanted to phone Joan but I didn’t know what to say. I wouldn’t be able to explain this.”

Overspending

“For a while, as I adjusted to my fame, I had a big chip on my shoulder. When I was a lowly martial artist, I’d often walk by the Peninsula hotel and gaze in the window and feel small, like I didn’t deserve to set foot in there.

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“One day I took HK$500,000 in cash and brought my entire stunt team to [Emperor Group chairman] Albert Yeung’s watch emporium … I strutted in and said, ‘Show me your top 10 watches. Are those the most expensive? With the most diamonds? Good, I’ll take seven of them. No need to wrap them. I’ll wear them out. And I’ll pay cash!’

“And with that, I turned and walked out. Seven watches, one for every day of the week.”