Skip to main content

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

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
January 29, 2014 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
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
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
For the first time in 24 years, Germany has lifted the World Cup after beating Argentina 1-0 in extra time.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
Do you know your gurkentruppe from your bananenflanken? CNN helps.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
Police moved in just one hour before Rui Chenggang was due to appear on air, leaving his anchor chair empty.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0927 GMT (1727 HKT)
A salvage team will attempt to float the ill-fated Costa Concordia again. CNN's Erin McLaughlin reports.
July 13, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Tichleman 1
A makeup artist, writer and model who loves monkeys and struggles with demons.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
Why are Iraqi politicians dragging their feet while ISIS militants fortify their foothold across the country?
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
An elephant, who was chained for 50 years, cries tears of joy after being freed in India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
People walk with their luggage at the Maiquetia international airport that serves Caracas on July 3, 2014. A survey by pollster Datanalisis revealed that 25% of the population surveyed (end of May) has at least one family member or friend who has emigrated from the country. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Plane passengers are used to paying additional fees, but one airport in Venezuela is now charging for the ultimate hidden extra -- air.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0732 GMT (1532 HKT)
Beneath a dusty town in northeastern Pakistan, CNN explores a cold labyrinth of hidden tunnels that was once a safe haven for militants.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 0444 GMT (1244 HKT)
CNN's Ben Wedeman visits the Yazji family and finds out what it's like living life in the middle of conflict.
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