Updated 12/5/2013: Snopes claims the story might be a hoax.
"Failed relationships can get ugly," says Ji Lin at the Irish Examiner, but the weird, sad tale of Jian Feng and his wife "really gives meaning to the old cliché." The story starts out conventionally enough: Feng, a resident of northern China, met and married a beautiful woman, and they had a baby girl. That's when things reportedly got, um, ugly. Feng was "so sure of his own good looks, so crushed by the wrinkly ugly mess that was handed to him in a swaddle, that he decided to sue his wife because the awful looking baby was totally her fault," says Madeline Holler at Babble. And then things went from ugly to crazy: He won. Here's what you should know:
How was the ugly baby the mom's fault?
Since the baby didn't look like either parent, Feng accused his wife of infidelity — "because jumping to conclusions about your wife's faithfulness is the obvious thing to do when you have an ugly baby," says Sam Smith at Planet Ivy. After a DNA test proved that the baby is, in fact Feng's, the wife came clean on her little secret: Before they had met, she had undergone about $100,000 worth of cosmetic surgery in South Korea. And unverified before-and-after photos circulating on Western and Chinese blogs do show a marked improvement in looks after the women went under the knife.
On what grounds did he sue?
False pretenses — Feng claimed that his wife misled him by not telling him about her plastic surgery before they wed. "I married my wife out of love, but as soon as we had our first daughter, we began having marital issues," he reportedly said. "Our daughter was incredibly ugly, to the point where it horrified me." A judge agreed, and ordered the wife to fork over $120,000. Ugh, says Babble's Holler. The wife "should probably file her own lawsuit for even more damages from having married Feng under the false pretense that he wasn't a shitty husband and father."
Who's the biggest loser here?
Well, "it's usually the victim of court cases that you're supposed to feel sorry for," says Planet Ivy's Smith, but who wants to give emotional succor to a "man who is angry at his beautiful wife for being ugly at some point in her life." The wife obviously has to pay a huge amount of money, and got publicly humiliated in the process, but at least she's free of an obviously odious husband. So "if you're going to feel sorry for anyone, feel sorry for their child, who will forever be known as the baby that broke her parent's marriage — with her face."