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Jackie Chan Wed Wife of 40 Years in Coffee Shop - She Sacrificed Her Successful Career for Him

Olawale Ogunjimi
Mar 15, 2022
08:00 P.M.
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Jackie Chan and Joan Lin may not have had a fairy tale wedding, but their union lasted four decades, and it was not without sacrifice. 


Jackie Chan is a Hong Kong-born actor, movie maker, martial arts expert, and stuntman notable for his slapstick tricks and riveting performances in blockbusters like "Shanghai Noon," "The Karate Kid," and "Rush Hour."

At 67, he has amassed an impressive feat in Hollywood, and despite his fewer appearances in the movie scene, he remains a legendary figure.

[Left] Jackie Chan attends UNICEF's 70th anniversary event at United Nations Headquarter; [Right] Movie star, Jackie Chan's wife, Joan Lin. | Source: Getty Images, Instagram/jaycee_chan


Surprisingly the Hong Kong native once had a wild lifestyle before meeting his wife Joan Lin, a Taiwanese actress. In his autobiography, Chan explained that he was a lady's man before and after fame, "Jackie Chan: Never Grow Up, Only Get Older." He wrote:

"I actually was very popular among girls ever since I was young. After I became a stuntman, I would go to nightclubs with my senior fellow apprentice...girls would come to me like butterflies."

Jackie Chan visits at SiriusXM Studios on October 10, 2017 in New York City | Source: Getty Images


Chan added that being a lady's man, he attracted many beautiful women worldwide. Consequently, this led to him not valuing physical beauty.

When Chan met Lin, he decided to leave his wild lifestyle behind. The pair have been together for four decades, but it is not without sacrifices, especially from the actress.

Jackie Chan walks the runway during the Li-Ning Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 18, 2020 | Source: Getty Images



Years before meeting Lin, Chan experienced love. He was fifteen and was performing with a troupe in Thailand when he met Chang. She was from Hong Kong and was older than him. Still, it did not deter the young performer from falling in love and eventually dating her.

It was love at first sight for Chan, so he derived ways to spend more time with her after their performance ended. However, when they left for Hong Kong, it felt terrible being away from her.


Thankfully, when they returned as a group, Chang welcomed the idea of dating. So they dated secretly for many years, meeting at a park, during which Chan worked as a stuntman.

Soon, he had enough money to rent a condo, and they began spending time together as a couple. Chan quipped in his book:

"She came by every morning at ten, and we played house, tidying up, doing laundry, making meals."


This routine continued until her father found out about their relationship. They had bumped into him, and the older adult confronted Chan, inquiring about his occupation. According to  the "The Karate Kid" star:

"Our days were incomparably wonderful until the day her father found out about us…He said right to my face, 'A martial artist will never amount to anything. Don't you dare touch my daughter."


Following this encounter, their relationship became strained, and attempts to make Chang elope with him proved futile. Nevertheless, the young lady could not choose her boyfriend over her parents.

Chan was upset that he might not end up with his first love but felt angrier at her dad's conclusion about martial artists. So he became intensely involved with work, taking every job in the studio. While recalling his younger years, the actor commented on Chang's dad's behavior. He said:

"It was humiliating. His words were harsher than any pain or suffering I'd endured on set."


Eventually, the stuntman devised a means to stay away from Chang, which involved living a wild lifestyle. Decades later, he admitted to being "a terrible boyfriend" who felt "ashamed" of how he treated his first love.


Chan met Lin during a scheduled meeting with Annie Wong, an editor of "Cineart," a Hong Kong magazine. Before setting eyes on the Taiwanese native, he had been impressed by her acting, but they did not have a relationship.


It was not until the "Rush Hour'' star visited Taiwan that he phoned Lin, who obliged to give him a treat at a nice restaurant in town. 

Chan visited the restaurant with his entourage, while Lin came with her sister. In the end, she made a lasting impression with her maturity, assertiveness, and calmness.


The backstory goes: the actor's team was famous for cautioning fellow diners about his hate for fish, but when they told Lin, she insisted that he tried the fish in Taiwan, and it worked! Following the experience, Chan's team continuously praised the actress. In his words:

"They kept saying to me, 'Jackie, she's so beautiful and such a nice person.' 'Yeah, she wants me,' I said, or something obnoxious like that. Very mature."


Irrespective of his cockiness, the Hong Kong native respected Lin's personality. She was a famous actress but conservative in her choices. However, that was not all; Chan also admired how she treated him.

According to Chan, "Not once did she correct my pronunciation, grammar, or manners. When we ate out, she was happy to go to less fancy places and eat the same food as me. She was happy to hang out with my friends. No matter what I said. It always made her laugh."


Their friendship metamorphosed into a caring relationship, but not everyone liked the news of their romance. In fact, following a newspaper publication that they had gotten married, two of Chan's fans committed suicide.

In 1981, the "The Karate Kid" star discovered his lover was pregnant. He was happy but consumed with fear about what the news could do to his fans. 

So he asked Lin to move to California to have the baby secretly. Even though she was an A-list celebrity in her country, she sacrificed her fame by moving to the US.


Lin was left in charge of Chan's team, but sometimes she handled her care as her boyfriend was away working. It was not until she was about to have the baby that he rushed to the country so they could tie the knot.

They hurriedly shared their vows in the most unconventional building, a coffee shop with noises piercing from the outside. 

Once their secret wedding took place, and their son, Jaycee, was born, Chan had a family to go back to. While he was away, he provided everything for his wife and kept her on a fixed amount.


However, he behaved rather poorly by thinking about a possible divorce and how she could leave with his fortune. He wrote:

"I made sure that if we were to divorce, she wouldn't receive a dime. I'm embarrassed and ashamed to say this now, but I was constantly thinking of ways to keep my money away from her. I was the wicked one, not her, and also stupid."

Lin maintained her stoic nature and was committed to marriage and motherhood despite these thoughts and behaviors.



More than a decade after their marriage, news of Chan's affair that produced a child broke out. As usual, he was away from home, and many thoughts of their divorce rocked his mind while he struggled with explaining to his wife.

The "Rush Hour" star thought, "we'll just split up. I'd screwed up royally, so we'd have to get a divorce." He dialed her number and was puzzled at her remark.

Chan said, "'You don't need to explain,' she said. 'I don't want you to hurt her, and I don't want her to hurt us. If you need me or our son to show up and stand by your side, we'll do that. I know you must be feeling awful now. Don't worry about me, I'm fine. You go deal with this.'"


Jackie Chan and his son Jaycee Chan attend "Double Trouble" premiere at Jackie Chan Yaolai International Cinema on June 5, 2012 | Source: Getty Images

Once he dropped the call, Chan became emotional and thought about how outstanding his wife had been throughout the years. A few days later, he left for home. At the door, Lin greeted him casually with a "hi." After that, she kept herself busy and avoided talking to him. 


When their son arrived, he maintained a standoffish behavior after greeting his dad. Finally, the atmosphere pricked Chan to call for a family meeting, where he begged for forgiveness.


After the meeting, his perception about Lin securing his wealth changed. So he visited his lawyer to make things right. In his words:

"The next day, I went to my lawyer's office to have my will changed. I wanted to leave everything I had to Joan. She is a strong woman, stronger than I am in many ways."



Lin's willingness to forgive has not stopped the actor from seeing other women, a fact that he admits. The couple has been together for many years but has lived separate lives since the beginning of their romance.

Chan does not have a close relationship with his son, Jaycee. In some way, he prefers working and being away from home. However, while speaking about work-life and fatherhood, he made a shocking revelation. Chan said:

"Every movie I treat like my son. It's more important than my real son."


This remark was possibly from the actor's experience when his family visited during a film shoot in Australia. But unfortunately, the press invaded their privacy. When asked if his family could be close by while he works, to bridge the gap, he maintained:

"I don't like my family around when I work. It bothers me."

Chan may be an intriguing actor, but rumor has it that he never had a relationship with his second child, who is gay, even though he claims to care about her sexuality.