A property tycoon who promised one billion Hong Kong dollars (£78m) to any man who married his daughter has withdrawn his offer after she published an open letter asking him to accept her sexuality and her female partner.
Gigi Chao was inundated with letters, calls and emails after her father Cecil’s initial offer of HK$500m in 2012.
She loyally defended him to reporters but issued a letter to her “Dear Daddy” asking him to respect her long-term relationship after he doubled the pledge and said it was not too late to change her mind as she was only 33.
“If Gigi’s said that this is what she chooses, then it’s all over,” Chao told CNN on Thursday.
“I can’t say I am happy with her choice … if this is her choice then it’s for her.”
He said the money “stays in my pocket” – though he later added “for the time being”.
Gigi Chao wrote in her letter this week: “As your daughter I would want nothing more than to make you happy. But in terms of relationships your expectations of me, and the reality of who I am, are not coherent.”
Paying loving tribute to her partner Sean Eav, who she said had made her a better person, she added: “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.”
Her father told CNN he would not be welcoming Eav into the family, noting: “I have no intention of mixing my life with her life.
“But if this is what [Gigi] wants, then I respect her choice.”
Despite his keenness to see his daughter wed, the entrepreneur, who is 77, has never married and once claimed to have slept with 10,000 women.
He made his offer after the couple had their relationship blessed in a church service in Paris. Same-sex marriages are not legal in Hong Kong.
His daughter noted in her letter: “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.”
She declared her love and respect for her father, adding: “[People] don’t understand that I will always forgive you for thinking the way you do, because I know you think you are acting in my best interests. And we both don’t care if anybody else understands.”