TAIPEI - Giving his side of the story of their secret divorce today, legendary entertainer Liu Chia-chang said he gave former actress Chen Chen property worth millions of dollars but she cut him off three years ago.
This is why he is reluctantly suing her, he said in a statement today, reported Apple Daily.
"The Chen Chen I know is not an unkind person, who's giving orders behind the scenes?" he added. "When you manage the finances to the point of withholding living expenses, how do I live?"
Chen, 66, admitted on Wednesday she split up with Liu, 72, in 1987, but hid the truth from the public for the sake of their son, Jeremy, 29.
She said she was disclosing this after decades because Liu was taking legal action against her and she could not conceal the truth any longer.
In her interview with the Taiwanese press, she did not say why the marriage ended.
But Liu addressed rumours about his gambling habit in his statement, saying: "Some people say I gamble. I gamble what I earn, and have never owed anyone money."
He added that he had provided for Chen and their son, giving "a housewife more than two billion dollars" in property. He did not state the currency, but he might have meant either HK$2 billion (S$343 million) or NT$2 billion (S$87 million).
"Divorce is a husband and a wife becoming relatives. My son's mother is my family, and isn't loving one's family the duty of humanity?" he wrote.
"I have worked in the arts all my life. The man takes care of things outside the home, the woman takes care of things inside. I handed everything I earned and the real estate to her, which she takes care of for our child. Isn't it the same whether it's the father or mother taking care of it?"
Musician and moviemaker Liu married film star Chen in the United States in 1978 after their respective marriages to actress Chiang Ching and actor Patrick Tse ended.
Chen left the limelight and the couple lived in the US, where they then managed a hotel. Liu has two children, including an older son with Chiang.
He said of his relationship with Chen: "I have said many times I can't live without her."
He added that he did not know why "in these three years, the finances have been cut off, and we also haven't met".
"Depending on my elder son and friends to help me, I have come through alone."
He said his decision to sue Chen had been forced by her. "I don't know why she must go through a lawyer, waste time, waste money and be in talks that are inconclusive," he wrote.
However, Chen challenged Liu's account today.
She told Apple Daily: "We never took the initiative to retain a lawyer."
She said she had no knowledge of the "two billion dollars" he earned but added that if he really had any difficulties, her door would always be open.