Popular Chinese actress Jing Tian dated former table tennis world champion Zhang Jike, who is a three-time Olympic gold medallist, from March 2018 to June 2019.
Their relationship is in the news once again after investigative journalist Li Weiao wrote an article alleging that the Chinese athlete had accumulated huge gambling debts and that he provided his intimate videos with the actress as a pledge to his creditor.
The journalist also posted a copy of the loan contract with Zhang's name and the amount he owes, as reported by several Chinese media.
Shanghai Daily reported that the journalist had discovered that Zhang owed a creditor 5 million yuan (RM3.2mil), a loan Zhang allegedly took to settle his gambling debt.
And when the 35-year-old table tennis player failed to make his payment to the creditor, the latter allegedly demanded money from the actress.
The Beijing News said the creditor had asked for 22 million yuan (RM14.1mil) from Jing at first before reducing it to 17 million yuan (RM10.9mil).
Jing apparently decided to report the matter to the police, and the creditor was later found guilty of extortion and sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 50,000 yuan (RM32,013).
Shanghai Daily also reported that the sportsman's team has released a statement refuting these claims.
"Zhang has no debt issues, and he has never violated someone's privacy to further his own interests. The rumours are complete fabrications," the statement read.
Nonetheless, Chinese media is reporting that several brands have begun to cut ties with Zhang due to the scandal.
According to JayneStars.com, many netizens have also started to believe the claim might be true and are rallying for justice for Jing, who they say is the victim here.
On a reality show, the 34-year-old actress spoke of a painful experience in 2019 that left her unable to leave her room as “her emotions felt so suffocating”.
However, she did not elaborate on what or who made her feel this way.