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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.

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