Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing has broken her silence with a message to fans, five months after her mysterious disappearance.
The 37-year-old, who had fans distressed after last posting on social media in June and not being seen in public for months, today expressed remorse in a short letter posted to the Chinese social media platform Weibo.
"Recently, I have experienced unprecedented pain and agony," Fan wrote on Weibo, where she has over 62 million followers.
"I have undergone profound thought and reflection. I feel ashamed and guilty about what I have done, and I sincerely apologise to you all!", she wrote, two weeks after being released by China's Communist regime.
The post came hours after Chinese media revealed that tax authorities had ordered the X-Men star to pay a NZ$200 million tax bill to avoid jail.
The official Xinhua News Agency's announcement ended months of speculation over the fate of the actress since she disappeared from public view amid reports she was being investigated for tax fraud.
According to the South China Post, Fan was released from "residential surveillance at a designated location" – a form of secret detention – a fortnight ago and returned to Beijing.
She has starred in dozens of Chinese movies and TV series and is best known internationally for her role as Blink in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).
Xinhua cited tax authorities as saying Fan would not be jailed if she paid her fines and taxes on time.
The report described unpaid taxes, fines and late fees amounting to nearly 884 million yuan, over $NZD200 million.
Her case is a clear warning to others in the entertainment industry.