They’ve been married for four years but Zhou Xun, 43, and her hubby Archie Kao, 48, have lived apart for more than half the time. So it comes as no surprise that divorce rumours have persistently bugged the couple. Yesterday, the Hongkong press dropped a bomb when they ran a story about how Zhou Xun and Archie have long filed for divorce, and that the only thing to finalise their split is a trip to Hangzhou, where they had registered their marriage, to sign the divorce papers.

Many have said that their marriage was doomed from the start. They spend most of their time apart — Archie shuttles between Hollywood and Taiwan for work and hardly travels to China, where Zhou Xun is based. There are also the obvious cultural differences between the American-born Archie and the Chinese actress, like how they don’t even speak the same language — Zhou Xun speaks only Mandarin while Archie’s proficiency in that language is limited to say the least.

It’s said that Archie had asked for a separation two years ago but it was Zhou Xun who had second thoughts. Rumour has it that Zhou Xun’s indecisiveness stems from her unwillingness to split her assets with her hubby. According to Forbes, the actress made a whopping RMB 95mil (S$19mil) last year alone. That’s not to say that Archie is wallowing in poverty. Since marrying Zhou Xun, the actor has seen his profile rise exponentially, and now has job offers coming at him in droves.

The couple has also not been seen together for a while now. Archie is often spotted drinking with a Caucasian male buddy, while Zhou Xun is constantly seen out and about with Leah Dou aka Faye Wong’s 21-year-old daughter. Here’s where the story takes an interesting twist. Leah’s father happens to be rocker Dou Wei, whose cousin is Zhou Xun’s ex-boyfriend Dou Peng. And… Zhou Xun used to date Li Yapeng, who was married to Leah’s mum Faye Wong. Small circle, huh?

Leah and Zhou Xun have apparently become so inseparable that instead of spending time with her family this past Chinese New Year, Leah flew to Zhou Xun’s hometown to spend the festive season with the actress. Last October, during Zhou Xun’s birthday, it was also Leah who celebrated the day with the actress and not Archie. And in April, Zhou Xun was spotted in the audience when Leah performed at a music festival. Also when Leah shaved her head last year, accompanying her was not her mum Faye, but Zhou Xun. And these are only four examples of the numerous times the pair has been spotted out in public… so much so that netizens are gossiping that Leah and Zhou Xun are more than just friends.

When asked to confirm the rumours of a split as well as the nature of the actress’ relationship with Leah, Zhou Xun’s manager said: “I’m in a meeting, I am unsure of the situation.” Archie’s manager, on the other hand, said that the actor spends half his time in the States and that the couple are still together and that he has no new love interest.” As for queries about the splitting of assets, Archie’s manager declined to comment.