Chinese badminton sensation Lin Dan said 'sorry' to his family and accepted his affair with a model while his wife was pregnant with their first child - a move that shocked his fans worldwide.
Intimate photos of the two-time Olympic gold medallist and the model, whom netizens identified as Zhao Yaqi, were posted Weibo on 17 November by a user, identified a 'Detective Zhao' , just a few days after Lin's wife gave birth to their child.
The pictures, which the user claimed were taken in October, went viral and the post garnered 40,000 comments and was shared more than 200,000 times.
Following the post, Lin apologised on Weibo and posted a message written in Chinese: "As a man, I do not make any excuses for myself, but my actions have hurt my family. I apologise to them here."
Lin's wife Xie Xingfang, a former badminton star herself, gave birth to their baby boy on 5 November in Beijing after four years of marriage.
Super Dan, who is a six-time All England champion, clinched his first Olympic singles gold at home in 2008. He went on to add to his collection in London defeating Malaysian superstar Lee Chong Wei in the final.
Notably, the 33-year-old shuttler has not participated in any Superseries tournaments since the Rio Olympics, in which he failed to defend his Men's singles gold. The world number three lost to Chong Wei in the semi-final of the event, which his compatriot Chen Long won.