2005 was a tough year for Sammi Cheng.

She starred in Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan’s flop Everlasting Regret, the paparazzi followed her everywhere, her relationship hit the rocks and her health suffered.

The queen of Cantopop was exhausted, fled the spotlight and became a born-again Christian. While new faces kept popping up in Hong Kong’s busy showbiz industry, people wondered what had become of her.

It was back to normal in September, however. Cheng put on two concerts in Malaysia, performing all her hit songs and dancing more energetically than ever. People knew she was back to thrill.

“I’m currently doing more single songs. There’s less pressure to produce singles and it is more in tune with my current lifestyle,” she said.

Her three-year absence from Hong Kong cinema ends with this weekend’s release of a new comedy Lady Cop-Papa Crook, which also stars Alan Mak and Felix Chong. Cheng stars as a police officer investigating the kidnapping of a boy, who happens to be the son of a crime kingpin. An unlikely alliance between cops and criminals ensues. The role is a break from Cheng’s previous roles as a white-collar urban lady. When she was in Beijing for the film’s promotion, she said: “To some extent, the role resembles me in my present state. What’s wrong with being single, over 30? I am secure and healthy. And I enjoy being who I am.”