Elizabeth Jane Hurley (born 10 June 1965) is an English actress, businesswoman and model.
Elizabeth Jane Hurley
10 June 1965
|Alma mater||London Studio Centre|
(m. 2007; div. 2011)
|Partner(s)||Hugh Grant |
In the 1990s, Hurley became known as the girlfriend of Hugh Grant. In 1994, as Grant became the focus of international media attention due to the success of his film Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hurley accompanied him to the film's London premiere in a plunging black Versace dress held together with gold safety pins, which gained her instant media attention.
She has been associated with the cosmetics company Estée Lauder since the company gave Hurley her first modelling job at the age of 29. They have featured her as a representative and model for their products, especially perfumes such as Sensuous, Intuition, and Pleasures, since 1995. Hurley owns an eponymous beachwear line.
As an actress, her best-known film roles to date have been as Vanessa Kensington in Mike Myers' hit spy comedy, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and as the Devil in Bedazzled (2000). In 2015, Hurley began starring in the E! original series The Royals.
Elizabeth Hurley was born on 10 June 1965 in Basingstoke, Hampshire, as the younger daughter of Angela Mary (née Titt) and Roy Leonard Hurley (8 June 1929 – 17 November 1996). She is half Irish. Her father was a major in the Royal Army Educational Corps; her mother was a teacher at Kempshott Junior School. She has an older sister, Kathleen ('Kate'), and a younger brother, Michael Hurley.
Hurley attended Harriet Costello School, a mixed secondary modern in Basingstoke, and, while in her teens, she became involved with punk fashion, dyeing her hair pink and piercing her nose. "When I was 16 – this was about 1981, 1982 – the thing to be in Basingstoke, the suburb I grew up in, was punk," she explained. She also reportedly associated with New Age travellers in her youth. Aspiring to be a dancer as a young girl, she enrolled in ballet classes. Hurley continued in the sixth form and took A-levels in English, Sociology and Psychology in 1983 before spending three years studying dance and theatre at the London Studio Centre. She was expelled from the school in 1986 after going AWOL to a Greek island.
In 1995, with no prior modelling experience, Hurley was introduced as an Estée Lauder spokesmodel. She later recounted, "I was far from an ingénue, having had my first modelling job at 29." Hurley has since featured in ads for Lauder's 'Pleasures', 'Beautiful', 'Dazzling', 'Tuscany per Donna', and 'Sensuous' fragrances as well as participated in campaigns for the company's other cosmetics. She was replaced as the face of Estée Lauder by Carolyn Murphy in 2001. However, she continues to work with the company non-exclusively, signing a contract for the 16th year with Lauder in 2010. In 2005, she modelled for Saloni, Liverpool Department Stores of Mexico, and Lancel. She was part of the seasonal advertising campaigns for Jordache, Shiatzy Chen, Got Milk?, Patrick Cox, MQ Clothiers of Sweden, and Lancel in 2006 and Monsoon in 2007. In 2008, Hurley was unveiled as the seasonal campaign face for Blackglama mink. Hurley has appeared three times on the cover of British Vogue. She is signed to TESS Management in London.
In April 2005, Elizabeth Hurley Beach, her beachwear line that she also models every summer, was launched at Harrods in the UK. It debuted later that year in select Saks Fifth Avenue stores in the United States and other European countries. She told Tatler magazine, "I was on Necker Island for a fashion shoot and even as Richard Branson was lying back in a hammock, he was on the phone, doing deals, managing his empire. But then I thought I am never going to have even a holiday home, let alone an island, unless I start a business that I can do without disrupting Damian's school days." In May 2008, Hurley designed and modelled a capsule collection of 12 swimsuits for the Spanish clothes brand MANGO.
Hurley made her first film appearance in Aria (1987). She subsequently appeared in the movies Passenger 57, EDtv, Bedazzled, Serving Sara and Dangerous Ground. In 1997, she received her first and only acting award, the ShoWest Supporting Actress of the Year, for her performance in the spy spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. When Hugh Grant founded and became the director of Simian Films in 1994, Hurley was credited as one of the producers for the company's two Grant vehicles, Extreme Measures (1996) and Mickey Blue Eyes (1999). In 2000, she was publicly criticised for breaking a five-month acting strike to film an Estée Lauder advertisement, for which she was fined $100,000 (£70,000 in 2000) by the Screen Actors Guild and labelled "Elizabeth Scably" by protesters.
In 1988, Hurley appeared briefly in a speaking part as a schoolgirl in "Last Seen Wearing", an episode of the detective series Inspector Morse, which was partly filmed at a real school, Reading Blue Coat, Sonning, Berkshire. This is believed to have been her first TV role. In the same year she also played Rosie Japhet in an episode of Rumpole of the Bailey (Rumpole and the Barrow Boy). In the late 1980s, Hurley portrayed the title character in a five-part television drama, Christabel. After appearing in John Cleese's The Human Face (2001), she hosted the inaugural series of the British reality show Project Catwalk on Sky 1 in 2006. Hurley was criticised as a presenter by Marcelle D'Argy Smith, a former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, who said: "Liz Hurley has no fashion experience whatsoever. She wore a dress and has appeared at premieres." GQ's Dylan Jones defended her as someone "immersed in the fashion world as a celebrity." She was dropped after one series because her bosses reportedly believed she was too wooden.
In 2011, Hurley filmed a guest star role in the series pilot of NBC's Wonder Woman as the villain Veronica Cale. The network decided not to pick up the series. In July 2011, it was announced that Hurley would join the fifth season of Gossip Girl for a multi-episode arc. Her character, Diana Payne, was described by the series' executive producers as "a sexy, smart, self-made media mogul and all-around force to be reckoned with", whose "entrance on the Upper East Side will change the lives of all our characters—including, and especially, Gossip Girl herself." In September 2013, she was cast in one of E!'s first two scripted pilots, The Royals, which was picked up in March 2014 and aired in 2015. The drama series, revolving around a fictional British Royal Family and set in modern London, stars Hurley as the matriarch Queen Helena. Hurley played Marvel Comics villain Morgan le Fay in the final season of the Hulu show Runaways, released in 2019. In January 2021, Hurley appeared as a guest judge on the premiere episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, series 2.
Hurley has been active in Estée Lauder's Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, as part of which the company created an "Elizabeth Pink" lipstick whose sales benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Hurley's grandmother died of breast cancer.
Hurley supported The Prince's Trust by co-presenting the 2003 Fashion Rocks event in its aid and helping launch the Get Into Cooking youth initiative in 2004. She has also helped raise funds for End Hunger Network, ARK children's charity, and the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre.
She is a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. She is also patron of the City Veterans Network, a charity based in the City of London that links former members of the Armed Forces to opportunities for rehabilitation and employment.
Hurley was a relatively unknown actress when she met Hugh Grant in 1987 while working on a Spanish production called Remando Al Viento. While dating Hurley, Grant gained international notoriety for soliciting the services of a prostitute in 1995. Hurley stood by him and accompanied Grant to the premiere of his movie Nine Months. After 13 years together, Hurley and Grant announced an "amicable" split in May 2000.
On 4 April 2002, Hurley gave birth to a son, Damian Charles Hurley. The baby's father, American businessman Steve Bing, denied paternity by alleging that he and Hurley had a brief, non-exclusive relationship in 2001. A DNA test, however, established Bing as the child's father. Hugh Grant is Damian's godfather. Hurley is godmother to Patsy Kensit and Liam Gallagher's son Lennon and two of David and Victoria Beckham's sons (Brooklyn and Romeo).
In late 2002, Hurley started dating Indian textile heir Arun Nayar, who has run a small software company since 1998. They married in 2007. The Indian celebrations included a sangeet at Nagaur Fort and a reception at Mehrangarh Fort. Hurley lived on a 400-acre (1.6 km2) organic farm in Barnsley, Gloucestershire, with her son and husband. In December 2010, Hurley announced that she and her husband had separated several months earlier. Hurley filed for divorce on 2 April 2011, citing as the cause Nayar's "unreasonable behaviour", grounds for divorce under English law. The divorce was granted on 15 June 2011.
In late 2011, three months after her divorce, Hurley and Shane Warne, a former Australian cricketer, were engaged. On 16 December 2013, Hello magazine reported that the couple had decided to split.
In March 2018, her nephew Miles Hurley was stabbed repeatedly in the back by a group of men in Wandsworth, south London. She described it as an "appalling" time for the family, stating: "The deepest wound just missed severing his spine. By some miracle no vital organs were damaged."
|1987||Aria||Marietta||Segment "Die tote Stadt"|
|1988||Rowing with the Wind||Claire Clairmont|
|1992||The Long Winter||Emma Stapleton|
|Passenger 57||Sabrina Ritchie|
|1994||Beyond Bedlam||Stephanie Lyell|
|1995||Mad Dogs and Englishmen||Antonia Dyer|
|Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery||Vanessa Kensington|
|1998||Permanent Midnight||Sandra Stahl|
|1999||My Favorite Martian||Brace Channing|
|Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me||Vanessa Kensington|
|2000||The Weight of Water||Adaline Gunn|
|2001||Double Whammy||Dr. Ann Beamer|
|Serving Sara||Sara Moore|
|2004||Method||Rebecca||Also executive producer|
|2008||Valentino: The Last Emperor||Herself||Documentary|
|2010||Made in Romania||Herself|
|2018||An Elephant's Journey aka Phoenix Wilder and the Great Elephant Adventure||Aunt Sarah|
|2020||Then Came You||Clare|
|1988||Inspector Morse||Julia||Episode: "Last Seen Wearing"|
|Christabel||Christabel Bielenberg||Miniseries; 5 episodes|
|Rumpole of the Bailey||Rosie Japhet||Episode: "Rumpole and the Barrow Boy"|
|1989||Act of Will||Christina||Miniseries|
|1990||Frederick Forsyth Presents||Julia Latham||Episode: "Death Has a Bad Reputation"|
|1991||The Orchid House||Natalie||Miniseries; episode: "Natalie"|
|1992||The Good Guys||Candida Ashton||Episode: "Relative Values"|
|The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles||Vicky Prentiss||Episode: "London, May 1916"|
|1994||Sharpe||Lady Farthingdale||Episode: "Sharpe's Enemy"|
|1995||The Shamrock Conspiracy||Cecilia Harrison||Television film|
|1996||Harrison: Cry of the City|
|Samson and Delilah||Delilah|
|2001||The Human Face||Various||Documentary miniseries; 3 episodes|
|2005||Signé Chanel||Herself||Documentary miniseries; episode: "La collection"|
|2006||Project Catwalk||Host, judge and executive producer (season 1)|
|2011–2012||Gossip Girl||Diana Payne||Recurring role, 14 episodes|
|2014||The Tomorrow People||Alice||Voice; 2 episodes|
|2015–2018||The Royals||Queen Helena||Main role, 40 episodes|
|2019||Runaways||Morgan le Fay||Season 3|
|2021||RuPaul's Drag Race UK||Herself||Guest Judge (Season 2, Episode 1)|
- The Cherry Orchard – A Jubilee (Russian & Soviet Arts Festival)
- The Man Most Likely To (Middle East tour)
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