Late martial art legend Bruce Lee has been alleged to be a chronic womaniser and cheated several times on his wife while he was alive. This revelation was made in a new biography about the late actor.
The biography on the kung fu legend claims that actress Sharon Farrell felt that Bruce ‘just turned me inside out’ because he understood her body so well.
Farrell was just one of Bruce’s many conquests even though he was married to wife Linda Emery, the mother of his two children.
But it wasn’t hard to see why the star was such a ladies’ man; Lee had the body of an 18-year-old when he was 32 thanks to his constant training and raw hamburger beef smoothies he drank for their protein.
The inside story of Bruce’s womanizing is revealed in Bruce Lee: A Life, by bestselling author of American Shaolin, Matthew Polly.
The star once admitted he was ‘not a saint’ when it came to his love life.
He would impress women by showing off his kung fu moves and cha-cha dancing and even underwent circumcision to be more like an American.
Despite his reputation for being vain and arrogant, women were drawn to him because of his chiseled abs and for what one blonde West German glamour girl called his ‘indescribable magnetism.’
Bruce died at age 32 in 1973 – just a few weeks before the release of Enter the Dragon, the first big Western-produced kung fu film.
The movie turned him into cultural icon, introduced the world to his Taoist philosophy, and opened the door to martial arts in the West.
But in life Bruce was not as measured as he was on screen and never fully managed his temper and craving for control, behaviors which played out in his treatment of women.
Before Bruce became a film star in his own right he taught kung fu to celebrities in Los Angeles and counted actors James Coburn and Steve McQueen among his clients.
The book, which claims to be the first authoritative biography of Bruce since his death, says that one thing he learned from McQueen was be in charge of everything on the set.
Another was to ‘cut a wide swath through the female production of actresses, groupies..housewives and hatcheck girls’.
In 1969 Bruce was an advisor for the film The Wrecking Crew when he met actress Farrell.
At the time Bruce’s wife had just given birth to their second child, a daughter, Shannon, but he walked up to Farrell in the MGM studio parking and charmed her into bed.
‘He was the first man I had ever been with who had such a beautiful body.
‘Those abs – his muscles were so defined, it was as if they were chiseled. Bruce was the most incredible lover I’ve ever been with. He was just so knowledgeable about a woman’s body’.
The affair was very much on Bruce’s terms and he would say: ‘I’m coming over’ and ‘drag me into the bedroom’, said Farrell, who eventually ended their fling to be with McQueen.
‘Bruce took me to the moon and back. He just turned me inside out.
‘But he was married and didn’t have a pot to pee in. Steve was successful – he was my protector. I was in lust with Steve, but Bruce was the love of my life’.
The book says that Bruce also had a ‘fling’ with his co-star on Way of the Dragon, Nora Miao, though she has never confirmed or denied it.
Bruce tenderly held her hand and got food for her, his affection all too apparent, according to the book.
But his most well known mistress was Betty Ting Pei, claims Polly, an actress who met him on the set of Way of the Dragon.
Betty says she was ‘with him all the time at the studio’; while actor Anderson Nelsson confirmed ‘Bruce was engrossed with Betty’.
With Betty, Bruce did not seem to care about getting caught and would take her out in public, once reportedly buying her a new Mercedes Benz as a gift.
When challenged about it by actress Nancy Kwan, one of his students and his friend, Bruce said: ‘Oh, Nancy it doesn’t mean anything.
‘It’s just a fling. I’ll get rid of her. She doesn’t mean anything to me. I have plenty of girls’.
During the 1970s, films Way of the Dragon and Game of Death turned Bruce into the biggest star in Hong Kong and the most famous person in South East Asia.
It also earned him an invitation from Warner Bros to make Enter the Dragon, the first Western kung fu movie.
Bruce would be the star but the most contentious role to cast was Mei Ling, the undercover agent who helps Bruce to infiltrate the island owned by Han, the villain.
Bruce had promised Betty the role since their relationship had ‘grown more serious’ so she rented a room 15 minutes away from his home to see him more easily.
He would later give the part to somebody else sparking a row between the two and ultimately, their break up.
How or why Bruce’s wife Linda put up with his philandering behavior is not entirely clear, but her supporters say that she has never been properly understood.
Born Linda Emery in Seattle, she grew up in a Baptist family who disapproved of mixed marriages and wed Bruce over the objections of her mother and father, though they later came around.
According to the book, Bruce’s younger brother Robert Lee said: ‘As a bachelor, Bruce liked to have affairs with beautiful, flashy girls, but he married a quiet, sensitive girl who knew how to listen and would let him have his way’.
As Bruce told an interviewer in 1966: ‘Linda is more Oriental than some of the Chinese I know. She is quiet, calm and doesn’t yak-yak-yak all the time’.
The book describes Linda, now 73, more diplomatically as ‘the perfect partner for a brilliant, volatile and extroverted man’.
Their friend Taky Kimura said: ‘Nobody has given Linda the credit she deserves. This woman has been one hell of a pillar of strength’.
In fairness, Bruce’s Hollywood friends were never faithful and he was a star in the Mad Men era where a generation of men acted with impunity while their wives were expected to stay home with the kids.