Gong Li Biography: Age, Net Worth, Husband, Children, Parents, Siblings, Career, Movies, Awards, Pictures

May 23, 2024 0 Posted By Haruna Ayuba

Gong Li is a highly acclaimed Chinese actress known for her exceptional talent and authentic performances. She has appeared in three out of four Chinese-language films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

Gong gained widespread attention for her collaborations with Zhang Yimou, including acclaimed movies such as Ju Dou (1990), Raise the Red Lantern (1991), and The Story of Qiu Ju (1992).

Gong has received numerous awards throughout her career and made history as the first Asian person to head the jury at both the Berlin Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.

Essential Details

  • Full Name: Gong Li
  • Date of Birth: December 31, 1965
  • Age: 59 years old
  • Gender: Female
  • Place of Birth: Shenyang, Liaoning, China
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Profession: Actress
  • Height: 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm)
  • Parents: Gong Lize (father), Liu Ying (mother)
  • Siblings: Gong Ma (sister), Gong Jian (brother)
  • Spouse: Ooi Hoe Soeng (m. 1996)
  • Children: N/A
  • Relationship Status: Married
  • Net Worth: $100 million

Early Life and Education

Gong Li, now 59 years old, was born on December 31, 1965, in Shenyang, Liaoning, China. She was raised in a modest household by her parents, Gong Lize and Liu Ying, alongside her sister Gong Ma and brother Gong Jian.

She grew up in Jinan, the capital of Shandong, and developed a passion for singing and dancing from a young age, aspiring to become a singer.

Gong attended Jinan Sanhe Street Primary School and was recommended to sing children’s songs at Jinan People’s Broadcasting Station while in grade two. She also spent six years at Jinan No.2 Middle School, where she was part of the school’s literature and art team.

In 1985, she was admitted to the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and graduated in 1989. During her time at the academy, she was discovered by Zhang Yimou, who cast her in the lead role in his directorial debut, Red Sorghum.

Personal Life

Gong Li’s personal life took a significant turn when she met Ooi Hoe Soeng, a Singaporean tobacco tycoon, in the mid-1990s. Their relationship blossomed, leading to a quiet wedding ceremony in 1996.

Despite their divergent backgrounds, Gong Li and Ooi Hoe Soeng found common ground in their shared values and mutual respect. However, their marriage faced challenges due to their demanding careers and the pressures of public scrutiny.

In 2010, the couple announced their decision to part ways, citing irreconcilable differences. Despite the end of their marriage, Gong Li and Ooi Hoe Soeng remain on amicable terms.


In 1987, director Zhang Yimou selected Gong Li to star in the anti-Japanese war romance Red Sorghum, marking the beginning of her 15-year collaboration with China’s fifth-generation directors.

The film achieved international recognition by winning the Golden Bear at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival, making it the first Chinese film to receive this prestigious award. Gong also received accolades at the Golden Rooster Awards and the Hundred Flowers Awards for her role in the film.

In 1989, Gong appeared in Zhang Yimou’s Codename Cougar, a counterterrorism film, and received the Hundred Flowers Awards for Best Supporting Actress.

This marked a new phase in her career, focusing on exploring different acting skills and styles. Additionally, she participated in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, which she credits for teaching her the importance of having her own opinions rather than blindly following others.

From 1990 to 1999, Gong continued to collaborate with Zhang Yimou and gained international acclaim for her roles in his films.

In 1990, she starred in Ju Dou, a family ethics movie that won the Luis Buñuel Special Award at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival and received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 63rd Academy Awards.

This marked the first time a Chinese film was nominated for an Academy Award in this category. Gong also received the Best Actress award at the Varna International Film Festival for her performance in the movie.

In 1991, Gong appeared in Zhang Yimou’s film Raise the Red Lantern, which won the Silver Lion award at the 48th Venice Film Festival and received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 64th Academy Awards.

Her portrayal of a rebellious mistress in the film earned her the Hundred Flowers Awards for Best Actress and nominations for the David di Donatello Awards and the NSFC for Best Actress.


  • Cannes Film Festival: Best Actress (1992) – The Story of Qiu Ju
  • Golden Horse Film Festival: Best Actress (1991, 1992, 1993) – Raise the Red Lantern, The Story of Qiu Ju, Farewell My Concubine
  • Berlin International Film Festival: Silver Bear (1993) – The Story of Qiu Ju
  • Venice Film Festival: Volpi Cup for Best Actress (1992) – The Story of Qiu Ju

Net Worth

Gong Li’s current net worth is estimated to be around $100 million, earning her a spot on the list of the richest women in the world.


Gong Li has faced numerous controversies throughout her career. One instance occurred in 2021 when Weibo users condemned her for donning Adidas attire and endorsing Vogue China, accusing her of disrespecting China and intentionally aligning with a brand that they felt had disparaged the nation’s reputation.

Another controversy arose in 2008 when Gong was unable to attend her citizenship ceremony in a timely manner due to prior commitments abroad. This led to criticism of her perceived lack of prioritization.

In an attempt to rectify the situation, she later attended a citizenship ceremony and was granted Singaporean citizenship. Additionally, Gong has found herself ostracized within China due to her contentious artistic perspectives.

Social Media

  • Instagram: @gongli_official
  • Twitter: @realgongli


  • Red Sorghum
  • Ju Dou
  • Raise the Red Lantern
  • The Story of Qiu Ju
  • Farewell My Concubine
  • Shanghai Triad
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Curse of the Golden Flower
  • Coming Home
  • The Chinese Widow

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