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The Story Behind Bruce Lee’s Wife: Linda Lee Cadwell

"From the very first moment I met him, I thought 'This guy is something else.'"

Lee Family

Lee Family Source 

Linda Lee Cadwell was born and raised in Everett, Washington, by parents Everett Emery and Vivian Emery. Before meeting Bruce Lee, Cadwell was a student at Garfield High School. Cheerleading was one of the extracurricular activities she took part in and led to the couple’s first encounter. The couple first met each other when Lee travelled to Garfield High School for a martial arts demonstration. Fascinated by him, Cadwell decided to become one of his martial art students and attended to the same university as Lee. From this point onwards their relationship blossomed into a marriage which occurred on the 17th of August 1964.

“Life changes as you go along, and as Bruce always used to say, ‘To change with change is the changeless state.’ So it’s like that water flowing – you never step in the same water twice in a river. It’s always flowing. So you always have to go with the change.”

Brandon Lee was the couple’s firstborn followed by Shannon Lee. From Washington to Los Angeles is where the whole family moved to, both children were brought up in an environment full of martial arts and Lee’s philosophical teachings.

Attempting to establish an acting career Lee, was turned down by Hollywood as they were not entirely content with a Chinese man starring in a movie; due to the prejudice around being Asian. Not being able to secure a job in Hollywood, Lee and his family relocated to Hong Kong to pursue his acting career. Adapting to a foreign environment was challenging for Cadwell; however, she managed to acclimatise to her new surroundings. Tabloids used the family’s move as an opportunity to brand Lee as a womaniser who maltreated his wife, which was far from the truth as Cadwell states “having been married to Bruce for nine years and being the mother of our two children, … I am more than qualified to give a correct recital of the facts.”

Lee’s perseverance in acting saw his family move back to the US after his 1971 film The Big Boss attracted mass media attention. Lee’s reign was only short-lived as he passed away two years after The Big Boss’s release. In Betty Ting Pei’s, Taiwanese actress, the apartment it was were Lee was found which brought many speculations about the actors’ relationship. Some press reports state that Lee was going over a movie script with the actress others that, he was murdered, amongst other explanation for the actor’s abrupt death and the link to the location. Cadwell’s mourn led her to write her bestselling book, Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew.

Apartment

Betty Ting Pei’s Apartment Source

“Brandon was a young man who found his own identity”

Brandon Lee followed on his father’s footsteps and managed to secure a Hollywood career which led to his unfortunate death. Like his father, Brandon stepped in the action genre and acted in movies that involved his martial art skills. Whilst filming The Crow in 1993, a gun which was meant to have imitation bullets contained live ammunition which ended Brandon’s life during a scene. In retaliation, Chadwell sued 14 organisations one of them being the Edward R. Pressman Film Corp.

Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee Source

“They say time cures anything. It doesn’t. You just learn to live with it and go on”

Chadwell remarried twice afterwards her current spouse is Bruce Chadwell and, with her daughter, she built The Bruce Lee Foundation in 2002.

 

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