Starlets want to marry into wealth not only for financial security but for social status. Where love fits into the equation is every couple's closely guarded secret, but public obsession hints at conflicting values.
If Cinderella were alive today, she would probably have a prenuptial agreement. What if the prince breaks up with her? An aging princess has got to live in grand style. She cannot go back to her old ways of sweeping the floor, can she?
Isabella Leong has been called a "Cinderella" by the media. The singer-actress is making headlines again, as she has always done, that have nothing to do with her singing or acting. You see, Richard Li, the man with whom she has had three sons, has a father who happens to be the richest man in Asia.
They are not married, not formally. It was reported his father objected. Recently, they announced their breakup. Instead of showing sympathy, online voices are congratulating her on "getting her freedom and her money yet miraculously not throwing away her youth", meaning she did not linger in the relationship for too long.
Richard Li has denied a settlement or a pre-existing contract that would grant her HK$3 billion, covering her expenses as well as those of their children. He has also denied the involvement of other women.
Tabloid gossip derives its entertainment value from subtle suggestions. When the couple first dated, there were all kinds of conjectures. Those were largely quelled with the arrival of the boys, a pair of twins among them. A romantic aura danced around the story. Now that it's splitsville, people talk about it as if Leong had a master plan to begin with.