If you’ve never heard this story before, it is worth a read, because this is insane! Ok lovers, to bring you up to speed, there’s this 76 year old billionaire in Hong Kong who makes serious bread, but is also a serious playboy! Property developer Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, whose life seems to have been inspired more by emulating Casanova than nurturing his business interests, turns out to have a very traditional view of marriage after all.
In 2012, he claimed to have slept with over 10,000 women, but he is set on a collision course with his openly gay daughter, socialite Gigi Chao, 33, offered $500 million to any man who can win her heart and become his son-in-law.
You read that right, his daughter is already married to a woman, but he refuses to accept it. Chao denies that his daughter has married her girlfriend, Sean Eav.
Cecil Chao has never married and kept a legion of girlfriends and mistresses over the decades. By contrast, Gigi, while prominent in high society, does not share his flamboyance. Cecil Chao has two other adult children, by different mothers.
Chao had thought of making Gigi heir to the family business empire built by his father, the Shanghai-born shipping tycoon Chao Tsong-yea. But both father and daughter have led unconventional lifestyles, in which business does not seem to be the priority. Since the 1970s, Chao has been a perennial presence in tabloid magazines, which never tire of running photos of beautiful but often unnamed women in his arms or stories full of explicit details – which could only have come from the tycoon himself – about his romantic escapades.
The woman Chao came closest to settling down with was, perhaps, the American-Vietnamese beauty Terri Holladay, with whom he fathered his youngest child, Roman. Holladay apparently thought they were married until their break-up in 1995. A court case followed but the two eventually settled.
Gigi, who runs Haut Monde Talent, a marketing, public relations and luxury accessories company, has not been at the centre of local media attention – until her father’s HK$500 million offer to find her a man.
Fast forward to 2014, and Chao has had a change of heart since his published an open letter she had written to her father regarding his unorthodox plan.
“My regret is that you have no idea how happy I am with my life, and there are aspects of my life that you don’t share. I suppose we don’t need each other’s approval for our romantic relationships, and I am sure your relationships are really fantastic too,” a portion of the letter reads. “However, I do love my partner Sean… I’m not asking you to be best of friends; however, 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.”
He also stated that the offer is over “for the time being… until she changes her mind.”