LAST_UPDATESun, 18 Mar 2018 3pm

Because Money Isn’t Everything, This Tan Sri’s Daughter Ditched Her Riches For Love

If you had to choose between money or love, which would you choose?

Angeline Francis Khoo, the daughter to Laura Ashley major shareholder Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng who was named by Forbes as one of the top 50 richest Malaysians, had everything and more a girl could ever dream of – multiple homes, bodyguards, private jets – you name it, she had it.

But sometimes, having everything does not guarantee happiness. And that was why Angeline gave up all she had to marry the man that she believes would bring her happiness.

She met Jedidiah Francis while she was studying masters in Oxford University in 2008, and he was a junior in Pembroke College; and now the two who are happily married and live together in London.

In an interview with Malay Mail in 2014, Angeline said the first question her father asked her when she spoke of her intent to be married was “What colour is he?”, in which she said her father told her he would never approve of a “dark person” and said he would have nothing to do with her or her future children.

And while her father disapproved of her marriage to the Caribbean-native, and they have since cut ties, Angeline told Daily Mail she hopes to one day reconcile with him, “in the sense that he can let go of his anger and his hurt and there can at least be some [form of] cordial, warm relationship.”

Although she knew it would be ‘costly’ to go against her father’s will, risking losing everything she would eventually inherit from the family business, she went ahead anyway and married the man she loves in a budget wedding that cost £1,500 (RM8,490), with just 30 guests – close friends and relatives, with none of her family members present.

“I believed dad’s stance was wrong, so there was no question about what was right. I’ve been fortunate to have that perspective: you can have money and it’s a blessing; it allows you to do things and gives you options, but there are also things that come with it, such as control.

“Money amplifies negative characteristics and that can cause problems. To walk away from that was actually very easy. I didn’t even consider it.”

From having all the money in the world to learning to live on a budget, the pair were bunking in Jedidiah’s college lodgings, “I always had a budget, but it became critical. To me it was the hardest but the best time of our lives.”

She said Jedidiah who is currently the head of data science at can also attest to that "It was the most bonding; it gives you a foundation,” adding that her mother taught her to always be aware of those less fortunate which eased her adapting to her own experiences.

“Unless you experience what it’s like to worry about how you’re going to pay for your food and bills, you can’t ever really get it,” the 34-year-old recounts.

Angeline also confessed to having put on weight due to depression after the fall-out with her family, but it also drove her to open up her own fashion line Rosie On Fire – producing stylish kimonos.

“I felt horrible. I learned that something as simple as the way you look [is important]: it’s about having that self-confidence, taking pride in your appearance, in yourself.

“I wanted to make something that would work for all women. A kimono is flattering and forgiving, no matter what your size is,” stated the fashion designer.

Her pieces that have already been featured in UK Vogue magazine, are also made by low-income women in Malaysia who struggle to make a living for their children.

“I wanted to have a company with a purpose. We’re a for-profit business, but we can still make decisions that are not only about the bottom line but about the impact we have on each individual. I haven’t done anything to earn this privilege that I have, so I take it really seriously.

“There is a responsibility that comes with privilege; you have to do things to help other people,” she shared of doing business with a conscience.

When asked of her fondest memory with her multi-millionaire father, she notes, “There was always a strain. One time he played Monopoly with me. Just once. Is that happy? Or is it weird? I can’t tell you. I really can’t say whether I was happy or not. The other time I remember was when we watched the World Cup together on TV.”

After her parents high-profile divorce after over 40 years of being married, in which her father was ordered by the UK court to pay her mother £64mil (RM355mil) in settlement, and despite Angeline feeling happy over all she has achieved in life, she admits that it is sad that things have not quite worked out for her “vulnerable” father regardless all the riches in the world.

“When you don’t have that much longer ahead of you, you shouldn’t spend your days being angry and resentful,” she expressed of her concern over her father who is in his twilight years.

Forbes estimated the 78-year-old tycoon's net worth to be approximately $300mil (RM1.2bil) in 2015.