Model repents for letting husband pursue $12M lawsuit against ex-wife alone

By Nguyen Thao   October 31, 2023 | 05:31 am PT
Model Phan Nhu Thao says she was wrong for not helping her husband, Vietnamese-American businessman Nguyen Duc An’s, pursue a lawsuit involved assets worth VND288 billion ($11.7 million) against his ex-wife sooner.
Model Phan Nhu Thao attends a trial on the behalf of her husband, businessman Nguyen Duc An. Photo courtesy of NgoiSao

Model Phan Nhu Thao attends a trial on the behalf of her husband, businessman Nguyen Duc An. Photo courtesy of NgoiSao

"I felt guilty for letting him [An] handle everything himself," Thao, 35, told NgoiSao. "I was wrong for considering the issue between him and his ex-wife as none of my business, and for letting him solve things related to his past on his own."

Because of that, Thao said she started helping An, 61, with the lawsuit a year ago. She has been helping him collect and arrange related documents, and she attended the trial in person alongside his lawyer to translate every update on her husband’s behalf, since An is "not very good in Vietnamese." She also helped him review court documents after each day of the trial.

An sued his ex-wife, supermodel Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, 43, in 2010 claiming she had not returned a list of assets he had bought with "money he had earned before the marriage."

The two got married in 2006 after knowing each other for just one week. They divorced in 2008.

An pointed out that as a foreigner he had to register properties in Thuy’s name during their marriage, as required by the Vietnamese law.

The HCMC People’s Court held its first hearing of the case on Aug. 18 this year, 13 years after An filed the suit. The court reported the date took so long to come because it had to "collect documents related to the properties in dispute."

The hearing concluded on Oct. 27, and the final verdict will be read Nov. 1.

Thao said that attending the trial on her husband’s behalf forced changes in her daily routines. She said she slept less because she had to stay up late taking care of her own business due to all the time she spent at court during the day.

"Still, I have learned a lot [by attending the trial]," she added.

Thao said she was surprised when An publicly acknowledged her in a recent social media post by writing: "Thao takes care of everyone in the world but herself."

"Thao attends the trials on my behalf and acts as an interpreter who bridges the language barrier between me and my lawyer."

Despite her recent statements, Thao has been attacked for attending the trial. On social media, some armchair critics with little to no direct knowledge of the situation have accused her of encouraging An to fight with his ex-wife to claim more assets.

An has denied the accusations and has showed his support for Thao. He said Thao has every right to keep herself updated with the trial, and thus should not be the target of criticism.

At the same time, Thao said she does not care about how others view her behavior and her life. She said she follows her own principles and values instead of letting other people’s opinions affect her.

"I simply give support to my husband, so that he does not feel bad having to fight alone," she said.

Thao 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. She is now focusing on operating off-camera businesses.

She and An welcomed their first daughter in 2016.

An revealed in a previous interview that he had transferred all of his assets to Thao.

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