Both Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li were "discovered" by director Zhang Yi Mou, Zhang Ziyi in "Love Road Home" and Gong Li in "Ju Dou". Gong Li starred almost exclusively in Zhang Yi Mou movies for a few years, and everybody presumed that she was sleeping with him. Zhang Yi Mou, being one of the greatest directors in China (and possibly the world), has this great knack for really accentuating the beauty of women he loves in the movies he makes. Gong Li later moved on (not a bad career move; she starred in "Farewell My Concubine", IMO, the greatest movie ever made). Zhang Yi Mou went into a slump for a few years, until he discovered Zhang Ziyi, who has very quickly moved on to world-wide stardom.
It sorta sucks to be a brilliant Chinese director... your ladies always ditch you for richer/more handsome guys.