The Hong Kong news outlet Apple Daily is at the center of the story, claiming that Ziyi was unable to promote her upcoming film, Dangerous Liaisons in Cannes because she had been barred from leaving the country while under investigation for a sex scandal linked with China's former Minister of Commerce, Bo Xilai.
The paper alleges that a wealthy associate of the former Chinese official has confessed to paying Zhang nearly a million dollars in 2007 to have sex with her. She is also accused of sleeping with a myriad of other government officials and businessmen for large amounts of cash between 2004 and 2007.
The actress' rep was quick to release a statement flatly denying the reports as slanderous. Her team is promising swift legal action against the publication for their "lies" and demanding a complete retraction of their story.
"Zhang Ziyi has been busy working day and night on the set of The Grandmasters," they explain of her absence from the film festival. "We will seek justice for Zhang Ziyi by taking legal action against Apple Daily and against any other media publishing these false reports."
Additionally, Ziyi's lawyers have sent a letter to the newspaper with the following statement: "Your allegations concerning our client are completely untrue and constitute a grave libel upon her. In consequence of the publication of these statements, our client's reputation has been seriously damaged and she has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment."
Zhang Ziyi is best known to American audiences for her starring roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, Memoirs of a Geisha and Rush Hour 2 opposite Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.