Jackie Chan has broken multiple bones in multiple accidents, but this is the accident that didn't break him but made him whole.
There may be a time in a person's life when they're asked to make a serious life-changing decision for the best of their family. How we rise to the occasion during those times, can define who we are as people. For global star Jackie Chan, that moment was when he found out that he was going to be a father.
The 66-year-old martial artist and actor, who's made a name in Hollywood with movies like Shanghai Noon, Rush Hour, is famous for his work but as a young man, he's lived quite a wild life. He dated many beautiful women in his younger days until he met his wife, Joan Lin, a Taiwanese actress. "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," The Karate Kid actor said in his book Jackie Chan: Never Grow Up, Only Get Older, as per Los Angeles Times.
Once he became famous in his 20s, "girls would come to me like butterflies. Actually I’ve been numb after so many years. I have seen too many beautiful girls, Chinese or foreign. Now I don’t think anyone is particularly beautiful."
When he met his wife Lin, she was more famous than Chan, who was a stuntman at the time, and when she became pregnant, he found himself unprepared. However, just like a responsible man, he decided to do his duty right. In his memoir, he bared his heart about his past and his personal life. In the book, he revealed the circumstances in which he got married. "One day she [Lin] told me she was pregnant. I said I wanted the baby.... Although I looked calm, I didn’t know what to do," Chan recalled, as per Los Angeles Times. "It was an accident which conceived Jaycee (his first son). I have never thought of getting married [sic]," he said, as per AsiaOne.
He sent her to the United States after that. "During her pregnancy, I was working the whole time and didn’t go to the States until she was going to deliver. A form needed to be filled in before the baby was born. She then asked me if she could fill in my name under the 'father' column; ... my agent said we should get married first. A priest was hired for the ceremony, which took place in a coffee shop in L.A. It was lunchtime and it was very noisy. They went to a private room, where the bare-bones rites were held," he wrote, adding, "The priest said, ‘Do you?’ We both nodded, and that was it."
While he has been in multiple accidents throughout his life for his work as an action star, this is the accident that changed his life forever. They welcomed their baby boy, Jaycee, on December 3, 1982, two days after they got married. While their wedding was lowkey, they have been committed to each other since then. Except for one time, when he slipped. He had an affair which he called a "mistake." "I've made an unforgivable mistake and I don't know how I can explain it, so I won't," he wrote, as per AsiaOne.
Chan, who received an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2016, has been busy working most of his life. He regrets not being able to spend much time with his family but he prides himself for being a responsible person.
"When he was a kid, he could only see me around 2 a.m.," said Chan about his son. "I’m not a good dad, but I’m a responsible dad. I will be very strict in good times, support him to pull through in bad times when he is punished and aware of his mistakes,” he said before offering more insight into his psyche.
The Police Story actor blames his reckless behavior and immaturity from the past on his insecurities. He also had a disciplinarian and distant father who chose to send him off to a boarding school for not being good at academics. At the Peking Opera School where the Bronx star studied, smacking and hitting were their form of discipline.
In turn, he was a disciplinarian towards his own son, who is also an actor and musician. "I’ve always believed kids need to be smacked to be disciplined. Parents discipline kids in the hope they can avoid making more mistakes, especially those I’ve made when I was young. If you only speak to a kid about it, he won’t listen," he said in his memoir. However, he confessed that he hit his child only once and never again after realizing his mistake.
"When [my son] was very young, I beat him hard once; I picked him up and threw him on the couch. His mother and he were really scared. I also regretted it, and so I made a promise not to beat him anymore," said the dad.
Talking about his relationship with Hollywood, he said, "To me, Hollywood is a strange place. It hurt me hard and also has given me the most honors. It offered me $20 million paychecks, yet also filled me with the most insecurity."