Bai Ling was born on October 10, 1966 in Chengu, Sichuan, China. Her father Bai Yuxiang was a musician in the People’s liberation Army and later became a teacher. Her mother Chen Binbin was a dancer, stage actress, and a literature teacher in Sichuan University. She has an older sister, Bai Jie and younger brother Bai Chen. Her parents got divorced and remarried to other people. Her mother remarried to Xu Chi. During the cultural revolution, Ling learned how to perform by participating in eight model plays, at her elementary school. Ling was sent to do labor work at Shuangliu following her graduation from middle school.
After graduating from high school, she took and passed the People’s Liberation Army’s exams, and became an artist soldier in Nyingchi Prefecture, Tibet where she mainly entertained in the musical theater. She also briefly served as a nurse. Ling spent time in a mental hospital after being abused by the male officers in the army.
After she was released from the hospital, Ling joined the People’s Art Theater of Chengdu and became a professional actress.
Ling’s first film role came in the 1985 Chinese film On The Beach. Ling appeared in a number of Chinese films such as Suspended Sentence, Yueyue, and Tears in Suzhou. She became famous for her role as Jing Huan in the Chinese film The Shining Arc. She moved to the United States in 1991, and started appearing in a number of American films and television shows.
Ling’s first major American film role was as Myca in the 1994 film adaptation of James O’Barr’s comic book The Crow. In 1997, Ling starred opposite Richard Gere in the film Red Corner. Her performance received praise, and she was awarded the national board of review freedom for breakthrough female performance and the San Diego film critic Society award for best actress.
Ling returned to Chinese cinema in 2004, starring alongside Miriam Yeung in the indie horror thriller Dumplings. Her performance earned her a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film also renewed her popularity among Chinese film audiences. She appeared in another indie film, The Beautiful Country alongside Nick Nolte, which earned her critical acclaim. In 2005 Ling guest starred in season two of Entourage.
In 2007, Ling starred as Coco in the film adaptation of the controversial Chinese contemporary novel Shanghai Baby. She also guest starred in one episode of the show Lost in the episode “Stranger in a Strange Land”. She was also in the films Love Ranch, Crank: High Voltage and A Beautiful Life.
In 2013, Ling starred in the film The Gauntlet. Her performance earned her the best actress award at the Los Angeles cinema festival of Hollywood. For her performance in Speed Dragon she received the best feature film award at the New York international independent film & video festival.
Ling was arrested in 2008 for shoplifting. Ling also had troubles with alcohol addiction and even appeared in the fifth season of the VH1 reality television series Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew in 2011. Ling is also openly bisexual
- Ling is bilingual and speaks Mandarin and fluent English
- Ling and her The Crow co star, Brandon Lee, were both nominated for Hong Kong Film Awards for their performance in Chinese films. However, Ling, actually won for her performance in Dumplings while Brandon was only nominated for his performance in Legacy of Rage
- Ling’s citizenship status in China was revoked after she appeared in the American film Red Corner which was critical of human rights abuse in China. She became an American citizen in 1999.
- Ling had a role in the 2005 film Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith but her role was cut during editing and she claimed it was because she posed naked in an issue of Playboy magazine.
- Ling graduated high school in 1978 which would have made her around 12
- Ling has a tattoo of a tiger on her back
- Ling has a verified twitter account @RealBaiLing and a verified Instagram account iambailing