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DENVER (KCNC) — A messy celebrity custody battle is playing out in the Denver County Court.
The celebrities in this case, however, are from China, where their scandal has rocked the country and led to them being banned from social media.
Shuang Zheng is a megastar actress and Heng Zhang is a reality television producer. Three years ago, they came to the U.S. to have children via surrogates, something that is forbidden in China.
But two months before the births of their son and daughter, the couple split.
Zhang says his ex-girlfriend wanted to abort the babies. He offered to raise them alone.
“I told her I understand because you are a celebrity you don’t want anyone to know you have a surrogation baby in the United States,” Zhang said.
He says Zheng went back to China and he settled in Denver with his parents as a single dad.
A year later, he says, his ex-girlfriend suddenly reappeared and filed for custody of the kids.
Their battle in Denver County Court has made international headlines, but Zhang says what’s happened behind the scenes is far more disturbing.
“The past six months both of my children got injured really bad when they stayed with my ex-girlfriend.”
Zhang provided pictures showing stitches in his daughter’s finger and what appears to be a burn under his son’s nose.
He says his ex’s explanation for the injuries keeps changing, while his children become afraid when they have to see their mom.
“My son was so struggling ‘No, don’t go dad. Let’s go home. I’m afraid. I’m afraid of mom’ and crying. That is why I called child protective service because he told me mama did it,” Zhang said.
He says protective services let him down which is why he’s speaking out.
“I want everyone living in Colorado to know this story. The reason we have the child protective services department is because we want to protect our children before they got hurt not after they got hurt the department started to investigate, that’s too late,” he said.
Zheng’s attorneys, Martha Timmers and Madeleine Rosengrants of Sherman & Howard, released a statement saying:
“Shuang Zheng unequivocally denies she has ever abused or neglected her children. At this time, there are no criminal, dependency and neglect, or Child Protective Services cases that have been filed. The only “investigation” of which we are aware is a residential visit our client received on Jan. 4, 2023, that lasted approximately five minutes. During that visit, police found the children to be happy and healthy and when asked if further investigation was necessary, the police declined. In March 2022 the Court substantially increased our client’s parenting time with the children including awarding her overnight parenting time every week. In June 2022, the Court ordered that the father may not relocate to China with the children. Father’s false allegations of abuse began following his Court losses. When his case became unsuccessful in Court, the father apparently turned to trying his case in the Court of public opinion…”
Family law will be the subject of several bills at the Colorado State Capitol during the 2023 legislative session, which starts next week.