'I'm not forcing Gigi,' stunned Cecil Chao says of marriage bounty
Tycoon out to set record straight on his good intentions for daughter in marriage bounty offer
Real estate tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-tsung says he was stunned by the global reaction to his offer to pay a HK$500 million marriage bounty to the man who could win his daughter's heart.
"All the reaction was very shocking. I really didn't expect this," the 76-year-old told the Sunday Morning Post.
"All I want is for my daughter to have a better chance to choose a better path for her life."
Chao made the offer after his daughter Gigi Chao, 33, apparently married her same-sex partner of seven years, Sean Eav, in a civil ceremony in France.
The story went viral.
Cecil Chao, who is the chairman of property developer Cheuk Nang (Holdings), became an international celebrity.
And now, the story could be hitting the big screen.
It has been reported that Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen is teaming up with Paramount Pictures to produce The Lesbian, said to be inspired by the story of Chao and his daughter.
Chao said he learnt about the film project only through the media and needed to find out more before deciding whether it might be defamatory.
He wanted to set the record straight. "People get the impression that this looks like Romeo and Juliet, and that I'm this conservative father. But I'm not.
"I'm not forcing her on anything. I'm not forcing her to change what she is. I just want her to have a wider choice. Let Gigi decide what she wants."
On whether he knew about her love life, Chao said: "She has never told me she was gay."
Chao, who has never been married, has three children borne by different women.
He has often been portrayed by the media as a flamboyant playboy with the money and charm to date beautiful women from around the world.
"It's true that I have a very colourful life. But I work very hard to build this little empire. I made the money by myself from scratch," he said.
"I love my freedom. And [Gigi] has all the freedom she wants."