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All About Simu Liu's Parents, Zhenning and Zheng Liu

'Arthur the King' star Simu Liu had to convince his parents that he could make it as an actor

<p>Emma McIntyre/Getty ; Google</p> Left: Simu Liu attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. ; Simu Liu

Emma McIntyre/Getty ; Google

Left: Simu Liu attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. ; Simu Liu's parents Zhenning and Zheng in the Google Pixel 6 'For All You Are' ad.

Simu Liu’s parents, Zhenning and Zheng Liu, have come to appreciate his passion for acting.

Born in Harbin, China, to dad Zhenning and mom Zheng, the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star spent the first four years of his life with his paternal grandparents in his hometown while his parents pursued graduate degrees in Canada.

As Simu grew up, he struggled with his parents over their high expectations for him. After graduating from college and landing a job as an accountant, he was laid off. With that, Simu began pursuing acting, which caused friction with Zhenning and Zheng, but things have become easier over the years.

"I try to keep them close and make sure they have enough of a taste of what I do so it's not so foreign to them," the Marvel actor told PEOPLE in 2022.

He added, "As I've gotten older, I've found empathy as to what they were going through at the time. We've come so far. When we're young, we think of parents as just monolithic, all-powerful beings that don't change."

Related: Who Is Simu Liu's Girlfriend? All About Allison Hsu

"It's such an incredible thing watching our parents change and grow and mature in their own way," the Yappie star concluded.

Here is everything to know about Simu Liu’s parents, Zhenning and Zheng Liu.

They met in college

<p>Neil Mockford/FilmMagic</p> Simu Liu attends the "Barbie" European premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on July 12, 2023 in London, England.

Neil Mockford/FilmMagic

Simu Liu attends the "Barbie" European premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on July 12, 2023 in London, England.

Zhenning and Zheng were born in China in the late '50s and early '60s and were “teenagers in the time that the cultural revolution was in full effect,” Simu said in an interview on NPR’s Here & Now.

Many universities were closed by the government at this time, so students from high school would instead go “into the fields to basically learn the value of hard labor,” Simu explained.

After Chairman Mao Zedong died in 1976 and his successor reopened schools, Chinese citizens had a new shot at higher education. Zhenning and Zheng were accepted by the same university, where they eventually met.

“The national acceptance rate was something in the single digits,” Simu said. “And it was those odds that my parents were able to overcome just to be able to get that education.”

Simu moved to Canada when he was 4 to be with his parents

<p>Simu Liu X</p> Simu Liu as a child.

Simu Liu X

Simu Liu as a child.

Until he was 4, Simu was raised in Harbin, China, by his father’s parents. "With my grandparents, I felt completely safe. To me that's what home is," Simu told PEOPLE.

During this time, Zhenning and Zheng were in grad school in Canada, and after becoming engineers, he joined them, but there was an adjustment period.

Though his parents were excited to reunite with their son, "it was very clear to me early on that [they] wouldn't be able to provide that environment."

He added, "It was a shock."

Simu had a “tough conversation” with his mom and dad when he got laid off

After graduating in 2011 from Western University's Ivey Business School in Canada, Simu began working as an accountant for Deloitte.

"My parents were like, 'Great, my job is done, all the money and the time that we spent on this kid is finally worth it,' " Simu recalled on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, adding that his parents were “ecstatic."

Unfortunately, Simu was laid off from the consulting firm shortly after being hired. Instead of telling Zhenning and Zheng right away that he was out of work, the aspiring actor headed to Craigslist to "find [his] way back onto a movie set" and "caught the bug."

Simu continued, "I definitely took the requisite amount of time to be like, 'Okay, I think I wanna try something I actually like to do now.' "

After landing a national commercial that they were bound to see, he had to have “a tough conversation” with his parents. "And no, it did not go over well," he added.

Simu wrote Zheng a "heartfelt" letter that started a new chapter for all of them

<p>Simu Liu X</p> Simu Liu's mom Zheng poses infront of his memoir 'We Were Dreamers'.

Simu Liu X

Simu Liu's mom Zheng poses infront of his memoir 'We Were Dreamers'.

After landing his first main role as Jung on CBC’s Kim’s Convenience in 2016, his relationship with Zhenning and Zheng began to improve.

"We weren't fighting, but at the same time we hadn't collectively chosen to dive back into our trauma and how we were all individually affected by it," he told PEOPLE.

When Zheng turned 60, Simu wrote out his feelings in a “heartfelt” letter and presented it to her on her birthday.

"It was eight pages, and I remember being so nervous as I was handing it to her," he recounted. "I said, 'I want you to know it comes from a place of love.' "

Zheng was moved to tears by Simu's letter and called him to discuss their relationship. "It was the first time we really talked about those issues. We both acknowledged that we were flawed human beings trying to do our best," he shared.

They appeared in a commercial with Simu

Although Zhenning and Zheng are not usually in the spotlight with their son, they made a cameo in a Google commercial starring Simu in January 2022. In the ad spot centered around the Google Pixel 6, the actor speaks Mandarin to highlight the phone’s Live Translate feature.

“I was able to involve my parents in the commercial to highlight the Live Translate function, which allows you to translate between over 46 different languages,” the Pixel ambassador told Google Canada. “I think it’s a great tool for immigrant families to communicate with people.”

In addition to highlighting the phone, the commercial poked fun at his parents’ expectations of him.

“Instead of getting a job at Google like my parents wanted, I’m in a Google ad for the Pixel 6. So that’s gotta count for something, right?” he says in the clip.

The camera pans to his parents standing on the set, who shake their heads. Simu continues highlighting the phone before his mother is shown again, telling him to “sit up straight” in Mandarin.

Simu bought them a Tesla

As a “tiny token of gratitude” for his parents, Simu purchased them a Tesla in 2022. In a since-deleted Instagram post, the actor shared a sweet message dedicated to them.

“Bought my mama and papa a brand new Tessie!! My parents continue to surprise me everyday with their capacity for growth and empathy,” he wrote.

Simu added, “This is but a tiny token of gratitude. Your boy might be 33 and a Marvel superhero, but he needs his mama to set him straight every once in a while. Thanks ma. I know what I have to do.”

Zhenning enjoys photography

<p>Simu Liu X</p> Simu Liu's dad Zhenning Liu taking a photo,

Simu Liu X

Simu Liu's dad Zhenning Liu taking a photo,

Zhenning picked up photography as a hobby later in life after Simu purchased him a camera.

“Bought my dad a mirrorless camera a couple years back and just... holy s---,” the Marvel star wrote on X (formerly Twitter) in 2022, accompanied by several images.

“This is from our trip to San Diego in December,” he continued. “Shoutout to all the retired Asian dads out there working on their hobbies!”

Several months later, Simu shared another series of images on X taken by his dad along with a behind-the-scenes shot of Zhenning capturing the photos.

“My dad's new photography obsession is capturing hummingbirds in his backyard and honestly at this point NatGeo just needs to hire him,” he quipped.

They had an incident while house-sitting for Simu

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> Simu Liu attends the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Simu Liu attends the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California.

Simu invited his parents to housesit for him when he was away, but things quickly went awry after they accidentally consumed some of his hallucinogenic drugs.

Despite leaving money for dinner, his parents — who he described as "frugal" and never having used food delivery apps before — had difficulty finding something to eat.

“My mom starts foraging around the house for things to eat,” the Barbie actor explained during an October 2023 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

She found her way into a walk-in closet and “finds what she believes are gummy bears and trail mix with dried mushrooms inside," assuming they were snacks.

Zheng presented the treats to Zhenning, and they started “popping them like Skittles” but became even hungrier after eating them and headed out to the grocery store.

"They get into my car, immediately crash it. They crash it in my driveway into the shrubs and things," he recalled. "They're so high at this point. They're freaking out, they don't know what else to do."

A neighbor was able to help them drive the car back to the house, but Simu decided his parents wouldn’t be housesitting for him again anytime soon.

"So, I get home many days later, and the car is totaled, my shrubs are wrecked, and my drugs are gone," he said. "And I looked at my parents and I'm like, 'Okay, first of all, I am never leaving you unsupervised in my house ever.' "

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