Skip to main content

Hong Kong tycoon's lesbian daughter asks him to accept who she is

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 2:22 PM EST, Wed January 29, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gigi Chao writes an open letter to her father that is published in local papers
  • In 2012, he offered a huge dowry to any man who married her
  • A Malaysian newspaper reported this month that he is willing to double the offer
  • But his daughter urges him to accept her sexuality and her longtime female partner

Hong Kong (CNN) -- The lesbian daughter of a Hong Kong tycoon who has offered millions of dollars to any man who can win her heart is asking him to come to terms with her sexuality.

"As your daughter, I would want nothing more than to make you happy," Gigi Chao writes to her father, Cecil, in an open letter published Wednesday in two local newspapers. "But in terms of relationships, your expectations of me and the reality of who I am, are not coherent."

Cecil Chao, a wealthy real estate developer, made headlines around the world in 2012 when he offered 500 million Hong Kong dollars (roughly $65 million) to any man who succeeded in marrying his daughter.

The only requirement is that the man "loves my daughter, and she loves him," he said at the time.

$64M to marry my gay daughter

He proposed the multimillion dollar dowry after it emerged that Gigi Chao and her longtime female partner, Sean Eav, had their relationship blessed in a church ceremony in Paris.

His refusal to accept the relationship leaped back into the news in Hong Kong this month after a Malaysian newspaper that interviewed him reported that he might be willing to double his dowry offer.

Men are 'just not for me'

The renewed media glare appears to have prompted Gigi Chao, 34, to pen her heartfelt letter. She confirmed to CNN that she wrote it.

"I am sorry that people have been saying insensitive things about you lately," she writes to her father, stressing that she "will always forgive you for thinking the way you do, because I know you think you are acting in my best interests."

She says she takes responsibility for some of her father's misplaced expectations.

When he first announced the huge dowry in 2012, she said at the time she found it "quite entertaining."

But now she appears to be setting the record straight.

"I'm sorry to mislead you to think I was only in a lesbian relationship because there was a shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong," she writes. "There are plenty of good men, they are just not for me."

Plea to accept partner

She says that she felt "an indescribable discomfort" in the presence of boyfriends she had in the past. But with 46-year-old Eav, she says she is "comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her."

Her 77-year-old father has never married, earning a reputation for appearing on the pages of local newspapers and magazines in the arms of beautiful women. He once reportedly bragged of having had 10,000 girlfriends.

Gigi Chao says in her letter that she regrets that her father has "no idea how happy I am with my life."

She also urges him to try to accept her female partner.

"It would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being," she writes.

CNN's Anjali Tsui and Tim Schwarz contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
If India and the U.S. were Facebook friends, the relationship between them would undoubtedly be "complicated." Can the U.S. Secretary of State's visit change that?
updated 10:38 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
updated 2:35 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Take a look inside Airbus' new -- and surprisingly quiet -- A350XWB.
updated 7:08 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Flowers, a teddy bear and the smells of jet fuel and death haunt the MH17 crash site.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT