Terri Holladay, former fiancée of Hong Kong tycoon Cecil Chao, dies at 55

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    Terri Holladay. Insert picture: Cecil Chao.

    23rd February 2024 – (Hong Kong) In the annals of Hong Kong’s high society, few events have paralleled the grandeur of the engagement party that tycoon Cecil Chao, then 87, threw for himself and his then-girlfriend, Terri Holladay. The extravagant celebration, which took to the seas, skies, and land, was graced by the presence of magnates such as Li Ka-shing and Ho Tim, creating a buzzing spectacle in the city’s social scene.

    Chao, a perennial bachelor despite a life filled with numerous companions, met the Vietnamese-American model Holladay at a yacht party in 1991. Their romance rapidly developed, and within a year, they announced their engagement. However, despite the lavish ceremony, the relationship never progressed to marriage.

    Recently, it was revealed that Holladay passed away on 27th December last year in Hong Kong, at the age of 55. Although the couple had a child together in 1993, named Roman Chao Chih-cheng, they parted ways only two years later. Holladay went on to find happiness in another marriage, which lasted 15 years until her husband Paolo succumbed to cancer in 2018.

    Holladay’s family made the announcement of her passing on a dedicated webpage on February 5th. The news came as a poignant epilogue to a love story that had captivated the Hong Kong media and public alike.

    In an interview, Holladay once shared the demise of their relationship was precipitated by the intrusion of a third party, Michelle, which led to a court injunction preventing Chao from seeing their son. It was reported that Chao paid a settlement of HK$1 million and a monthly alimony of HK$45,000 to conclude their legal dispute amicably.

    In response to media inquiries, Chao had stated that the engagement was under duress from his partner, leading to a reluctant agreement on his part. He also highlighted the cultural differences between them, citing the American upbringing of Holladay as a point of contention which ultimately led to their separation. Chao mentioned that the settlement was a humanitarian gesture, and he had never before provided such a substantial amount for anyone’s sustenance.

    The saga took another twist when reports surfaced that after their split, Holladay had sued a law firm for negligence over a non-binding agreement which allegedly cost her a HK$300 million settlement. After a four-year legal battle, she emerged victorious, securing a seven-figure sum in compensation.