The Truth About Jet Li Revealed


After breaking into worldwide superstardom
with Lethal Weapon 4, Jet Li became one of cinema’s most renowned martial arts stars. From sham marriages to global disasters to
the rumors around his health, here’s the untold truth of Jet Li. In 1973, the legendary actor and director
Bruce Lee passed away under mysterious circumstances, leaving China, America, and the rest of the
movie-loving world in shock. The following year, the 11-year old Jet Li
was performing a kung fu demonstration in Hong Kong when he was approached by a movie
producer and asked how he felt about becoming the next Bruce Lee. Speaking to TalkAsia in 2003, Li recalled
the encounter. He said: “When [the] movie studio producer [talked]
to me, [he said] ‘Hi, little kid, when you grow up, [do] you want to become [an] action
star? I [said], ‘Okay, why not!’ So since then, every year the producer came
to me to look at me. [He would say], ‘Okay, you are still a little
boy, [you] can’t make [movies]. I want to wait [for] you.'” Although he had greatly admired Bruce Lee,
as a young boy Jet Li couldn’t imagine that his name would ever be mentioned in the same
breath as the martial arts star. Li added: “I remember I found him very talented, a very
talented actor and martial artist. But I [didn’t] know how to make [movies] […] I
was just 11.” Jet Li had turned 17 by the time the producer
decided he was ready to make his debut feature film. He was cast in Shaolin Temple, the first in
a series of movies that established him as a star in China. 1974 turned out to be quite the eventful year
for Li. Not only did the 11-year-old find him catching
the interest of Chinese movie studios, but he also got to perform in front of the U.S.
president. Li and the Chinese national Wushu team were
invited to the White House, where they put on a show for Richard Nixon. Nixon wasn’t exactly popular at the time,
and after he saw what Li could do, he apparently offered him the job of protecting him. According to We Are The Mighty, the president
jokingly asked if Li would consider becoming his personal muscle once he was old enough
to work. Li’s reply is said to have left those in attendance
stunned. He allegedly insisted: “No, I don’t want to protect any individual. When I grow up, I want to defend my one billion
Chinese countrymen!” The silence that fell over the room was broken
by then-Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, who quipped: “Heavens, such a young boy and he already
speaks like a diplomat.” During his candid 2003 interview with TalkAsia,
Li was asked if there was any truth to the rumors that his hotel room had been bugged
during his first visit to the United States. The Nixon administration were found to have
frequently spied on their political rivals using hidden mics, and the Chinese government
were apparently very wary about sending the Wushu team on a tour of America, knowing that
they could potentially be targeted for information. They were so wary, in fact, that they warned
the traveling team members to be careful about what they said at all times, including when
they were in the privacy of their hotel rooms. During his interview, Li confirmed: “It’s true. At that time, China and America [had] just
started [a] relationship between the two countries. It is so funny! When I went there I wanted to try [to see
if] they have a bug or not. So in New York, [in] a big hotel, I talked
to the mirrors.” Li claims that he said out loud that he would
really like some chocolate and ice cream. To his surprise, the treats he had wished
for in his private quarters miraculously materialized. “I opened the door, anything I asked on the
table. I thought ‘wow, it’s true’, it’s fun!” Li’s first appearance in a Hollywood movie
was as the villain in 1998’s Lethal Weapon 4, but he wasn’t used to playing a bad guy
at the time. He got his chance to play the hero in western
cinema two years later when he was cast as the male lead in 2000’s Romeo Must Die, starring
opposite Aaliyah. Like Li, the R&B singer-turned-actress was
trying to earn her stripes in Tinseltown. Sadly, she died before she really got the
chance to establish herself. On August 25th 2001, the 22-year-old boarded
a small plane headed to Miami, but the aircraft would never reach its destination, having
been dangerously overloaded before take-off. Aaliyah, as well as her staffers and the crew
of the aircraft, were all killed. When Li later returned to Vancouver, where
Romeo Must Die had been filmed, he found it difficult to be back there. He told IGN: “I have some memories of this very beautiful
city but it still makes me think about Aaliyah. We worked together here for a few months. She was such a talented girl and some locations
when you pass by every day, you still think about her.” Romeo Must Die didn’t exactly blow the critics
away, but Li was considered one of the movie’s highlights. The box office numbers were a little more
convincing, however. The film managed to rake in $91 million worldwide
from a budget of $25 million, which was seen as a pretty decent haul at the time. All things considered it was a success for
Li, who felt so comfortable with his future prospects that he went on to turn down a role
in the Matrix sequels. Speaking to TalkAsia, the star explained that
he had to make a choice between The Matrix sequel, for which he was reportedly offered
the part of Seraph, and Zhang Yimou’s Hero. Li mused: “Sometimes you get something and sometimes
you lose something.” Li claimed to be a fan of the Wachowskis,
but added that he wasn’t a fan of what the sibling directors did to the action genre. Li explained: “After The Matrix, everybody [did] action
[movies] with people fighting while flying around. Suddenly everyone can fight. Man can [fight], girl can [fight], little
boy can [fight], even [cartoons] can do the same thing. In this movie, everyone really can [fight].” His decision to favor Hero over The Matrix
sequels paid off, however, as the Chinese wuxia film won widespread approval — while
The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions fizzed out with critics. “Woah.” After his breakthrough in America, Li found
himself spending more and more time in the United States. He decided that it made sense to apply for
American citizenship, which he was duly granted. But he renounced both his American and Chinese
citizenship in 2009 in order to move to Singapore, which doesn’t generally allow for dual citizenship. The actor reportedly spent around $15 million
on a swanky three-floor property and moved his family to the tax-friendly island, following
in the footsteps of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and fellow martial arts movie legend
Jackie Chan. The fact that he likely pays half of the amount
of tax he would be paying in the States was surely a factor in Li’s move, but according
to Nomad Capitalist, Singapore’s excellent education system also influenced Li’s decision. But how did the people of China take the news? Traditionally, Chinese celebrities that ditch
the homeland for Singapore are dubbed traitors and take a major hit to their reputation,
but strangely enough this didn’t happen with Li. According to the South China Morning Post,
polls revealed that only half of the Chinese citizens asked about Li leaving China objected
to it, with one fan even suggesting that they would like to do the same. That blogger wrote: “It’s [his] right to live where [he] wants
to. If I could, I will follow suit. [Singapore’s] passport is better.” Rumors that Li was in grave health spread
like wildfire in 2018 after a photo of the actor looking old and seemingly frail went
viral, forcing his manager to respond. Steven Chasman told USA Today that the story
was a lot of worrying over nothing, and Li was simply in a bad light when he posed for
a quick snap with a fan. Chasman said: “It’s one picture and people are making these
interpretations from it. If you took a picture [of] me at the wrong
angle and wrong time of the day, I could look frail as well.” Fans were quick to blame Li’s grave new look
on his hyperthyroidism, which he had been diagnosed with in 2010. While Li has been able to keep the condition
under control using medication, his health has often become a cause for concern among
fans. In 2016, Li said: “The web has been abuzz with news that I’m
going to be wheelchair-bound. Even my friends are concerned and are asking
how I am.” The action star has also joked that a wheelchair
company had been spreading the rumors to boost sales. “And there was one medical appliance company
who came to me and asked me to endorse their wheelchair.” He went on to reassure fans that he was a-okay,
saying: “There is nothing to worry about my health.” Li looked capable as ever in behind-the-scenes
footage from a 2017 short film, and Disney is clearly confident in the actor’s health,
as the Mouse House has cast him in its upcoming live-action remake of Mulan. The devastation caused by the 2004 Boxing
Day tsunami can’t easily be understated. On December 26th, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake
shook the seabed off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, sending 40-foot waves hurtling
towards land. In the end, a staggering 230,000 people lost
their lives across 14 different countries, one of which was the Maldives. Li and his family were vacationing on one
of the 26 ring-shaped atolls that make up the South Asian republic when the tsunami
struck, and they had a very close and very lucky escape. During a Hong Kong fundraiser, Li recalled: “The waves came really quickly and formed
swirls. I carried my daughters and pulled my maid
and ran. I’d only walked three steps when I realized
that the water had already come up to my waist.” In a matter of seconds, the idyllic setting
had turned into something out of a nightmare. Li continued: “When I looked back, everything I saw minutes
ago was gone. Everything was surrounded by the ocean. The houses collapsed. I continued to run but the water was already
up to my mouth.” Luckily, Li, his family and his maid all survived
to tell the tale, which is apparently exactly what the actor intends to do. In 2017, reports suggested that he was planning
to star in a film about the tsunami, as part of a Chinese-Indonesian co-production. Surviving the tsunami changed Li’s outlook
on life. The actor had an epiphany following the disaster,
deciding that he wanted to dedicate himself to philanthropy after being deeply moved by
the treatment he and his family received from total strangers. If it weren’t for the actions of four brave
men who swam to Li’s aid after he screamed for help, his two youngest daughters would
have likely drowned. He later explained: “The experience of surviving the chaos and
witnessing the devastation caused by this natural disaster has changed me forever. During the recovery period in the Maldives,
I was deeply moved to see that everyone who was able to help willingly pitched in. Never once did anyone ask, ‘Where are you
from?’ or ‘What nationality are you?’ I wondered: was it possible to keep that spirit
alive and transcend traditional boundaries to help humanity at large?” The whole ordeal put life into perspective
for him. “I had spent the first 41 years of my life
thinking about Jet Li first, wanting to prove I was special, wanting to prove I was a star.” So Li set up his own charitable foundation. He said: “I realized that all the money and power in
the world would not have saved me from the water. That night I decided I couldn’t wait until
I was retired; I had to do something right away.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
martial artists are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

100 thoughts on “The Truth About Jet Li Revealed

  1. Jet Li is legend. I saw a news about Jackie Chan who kicked out his wife and kid from his mansion, they were living in homeless shelter just last year. Their pic was posted online, wife and kid. Make a video on that.

  2. Hey looper, you just earned my respect, worth every second, fantastically well made video! Subject, format, content, all 10/10. Thanks!

  3. Wushu is kung fu that has had its balls chopped off by the tyrannical communist Chinese govt, which rounded up & murdered all of the ACTUAL shoalin & martial artists.

  4. Bruce Lee didn't die under mysterious circumstances he died because he had an allergic reaction to the pain pill that he took

  5. I had just clocked ⏰ out 4 the day when I started watching this and my boss saw me and said " Robert; get back 2 work " and I was like " 2 words… Off Duty " 😎 Jet Li is so fast you get Jet lag from watching him 😏😂

  6. My favorite movie and Fight scene of Jet Li's hands down has 2 be where he fights his Japanese Girlfriend's Grandfather in " Fist of Legend " 😎

  7. Another fact about Jet Li is that Hollywood directors who cast Li in their movies were not used to superfast gesticulations that Li could easily demonstrate on the set, and so they (directors) had to ask him “Slow down!”. Example is KISS OF THE DRAGON where his fighting with a bunch of Karate guys in a hall forced the action director to tell Li to slow down as he was incredibly faster that none of the cast could synchronize.

    If Bruce Li was the legend, Jet Li is also a LEGEND in his own way! Respect!

  8. How is this the 'truth' about Jet Li 'revealed'? Have we been told a lie about him the whole time? No lol this video didn't 'reveal' anything

  9. Hero is the best movie Jet Li ever did and it's on my top ten best movies ever. Thank heavens he chose wisely when he ditched Matrix.

  10. Jackie Chan is my favourite. He was once injured shooting a movie because some of his moves are real. His movies besides having good martial arts moves they are times humorous.

  11. Wow his near death experience made him realise that money, fame and power isn’t important and so he invested in a charity to help people. I like that

  12. Thats it. Looper has become lazy gosip channel making tons of videos with questionable content lately. Unsubscribed.

  13. Jet li has his own style, he is a true master, I've never seen someone better than him at his job, a true legend

  14. Bruce Lee put aversaries out of commission with one punch; Every one else is a hour long choreographed fight. In My opinion they're all "useless"!

  15. Li is old, and there are a lot this video didn't mention.
    He found his fund call One foundation funding (sth like that).
    He is always busy traveling around to ask for money for his fund, so he can help the poor children in China. He once mentioned in an Chinese interview; asking people to pull out money to help poor children in China is 100% harder than making action movies.
    He age faster than other it's because he is always thinking, he said he does not have a good brain, & that's why he think more than other people.
    Not to be mentioned, he got shit pay when he make shit ton of HK action movies, his pay is bad, because the boss doesn't want to give him more as he is from China. movies boss usually are gangsta at that time. He was at his prime when he only making little money. other actor making millions and he may only have half a mil for a movies.

  16. The first Jet Li movie I saw was "Twin Warriors", and the way he moved was amazing! Then I went on a binge and watched "Once upon a Time in China" 1, 2 & 3!

  17. Ha ha ha , no publicity is bad publicity . Hypothyroidism , earthquake-tsunami physical damage . What is next ?
    A live production of Mulan by Disney. Please don't let the fantasy world of illusion ruin You as has been done to many in the past. Be careful do what is right and don't sellout Your integrity for money ! The old ways of the Tao and even Shaolin are like a finger pointing (Japanese Zen). The Internet has made the world like a village , isn't that cool .

  18. If more people thought like him the world would be in a better place great martial artist quick as a cat🏝🐊🏝

  19. Bruce Lee did not passed away under mysterious circumstances he was murdered by the so-called Chinese Mafia for teaching American people the secrets of Chinese kung fu.

  20. No one is more chinese than jet li. He was Wong Fe Hung, for god sakes. Who cares what happens in crappy american movies?

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