Businessman transfers properties to model wife despite unregistered marriage

By Nguyen Thao   October 2, 2023 | 03:33 am PT
Vietnamese-American businessman Nguyen Duc An has transferred all of his properties to his model wife Phan Nhu Thao, though the couple have not registered their marriage yet.
An and Thao in a 2021 photoshoot. Photo courtesy of An and Thao

An and Thao in a 2021 photoshoot. Photo courtesy of An and Thao

"We do not have any mutual properties now because An has transferred all of his assets to me," Thao told NgoiSao in a recent interview. "We accompany each other in life with trust."

An indeed mentioned having registered all of his properties under Thao’s name in a previous interview.

"Thao manages and decides everything now," the businessman said, adding that his wife was entitled to inherit all of his properties should anything happen to him..

But that does not mean Thao relies financially on An. Besides her career in the entertainment industry, Thao is also known for her businesses, ranging from beauty salons to restaurants and recreational properties.

"I enjoy working and am good at earning money," Thao said. "An is lucky for that."

Being an experienced businessman himself, An also encouraged Thao to do businesses because he saw her potential. He has taught Thao a lot about operating businesses, and has always had her back, supporting her every endeavor.

As Thao is now making good money and "manages everything," she also pays for every expense of their family, including their daughter’s tuition fees, their traveling and healthcare costs, according to the couple.

"An only spends money buying land or building houses," Thao said.

She added that the couple’s lifestyle was thus considered abnormal compared to Vietnamese traditional beliefs, which "rules" that the man in the house should be the one responsible for paying any expenses a family may have.

She estimated that she spent around VND300 million ($12,300) a month on the family’s expenses.

Talking about the fact that they have not registered their marriage even after eight years together, An told NgoiSao that he had mentioned marriage registration to Thao many times, only to be refused.

"Thao considers marriage registration unnecessary," An said. "She values more ‘real’ things like family life, or the way we take care of and respect each other."

Thao explained that she thought affection and responsibilities [rather than legal documents] are what really connect a couple. She considers her relationship with An already fulfilling as An has always taken care of her and their seven-year-old daughter.

And neither she nor An saw not registering their marriage as an obstacle in the way of raising a family and living a happy life as husband and wife, Thao said.

Thao, 35, is a famous model and actress. She has cut down on her activities in the entertainment industry since her engagement ceremony with An in late-2015, and is now focusing on operating off-camera businesses.

She and An welcomed their first daughter in 2016.

An, 61, was born in the northern town of Ninh Binh. His parents brought him to the U.S. when he was 12, and his childhood was not a wealthy one.

He worked in the fields of construction and real estate investment before settling in Vietnam. It is reported that he had divorced three times before tying the knot with Thao. One of his former spouses is supermodel Ngoc Thuy.

Despite having divorced 15 years ago, An and Thuy are still in dispute over a list of assets worth around VND288 billion, including real estate properties, stocks, and vehicles.

It is reported that as an American nationality holder, An had to "register [Vietnam-based] properties in Thuy’s name," despite the fact that they "were purchased with his own money [and not related to Thuy]."

The HCMC People's Court in September held a trial for the case after 13 years. The delays were due to the time it took to obtain documents related to the properties in dispute," according to the court.

However, the trial was then adjourned again for "more time to collect and verify evidence." It is expected to resume on October 16.

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