Tragic Details About Elizabeth Hurley

This article contains references to stalking, mental illness, suicide, and knife crime. 

Elizabeth Hurley conjures images of a simpler time, a '90s heyday in which "Austin Powers" quotes were groovy baby, and the British star and Hugh Grant were the hottest Hollywood it-couple. At the time, Hurley's unmistakable face graced Estée Lauder ads the world over (and got her into hot water when she crossed the picket line) and her fashion choices soon became the stuff of sartorial legend. But following her role as The Devil in "Bedazzled," which coincided with her split from Grant, she seemed to disappear from our screens.

However, that's not to say she hasn't been keeping super busy. In recent years, Hurley has garnered a new following by fashioning a career as a social media star. Posting bikini snaps on the 'gram, she has been hailed as ushering in a new era of mid-life body positivity, along with fellow 50-something celebs, Jennifer Lopez and Demi Moore. And in 2011, she was introduced to a younger audience via her role as the sassy businesswoman, Diana Payne, in "Gossip Girl." Aside from her modeling and acting career, she has been active in campaigning for causes close to her heart.

Ever since she was thrust into the limelight, Hurley has sadly faced her share of personal turmoil and tragedy. But throughout her various struggles, she's managed to maintain her wit, charm, and infectious lust for life. Get the hankies ready for these tragic details about Elizabeth Hurley.

She lost her grandmother to breast cancer

Elizabeth Hurley began advocating for breast cancer awareness in 1995, having joined Estée Lauder's Breast Cancer Campaign, per Today. That year, she lost her beloved grandmother to the disease. Diagnosed in her 70s, she tragically didn't feel comfortable disclosing her illness to her loved ones, so they scarcely had time to grieve. "My grandmother was a wonderful woman," she told the outlet. "She was diagnosed ... at a time when women did not speak openly about the disease and far too many suffered in silence ... In fact, my grandmother kept her breast cancer a secret from us all and we did not know she even had breast cancer until it was too late."

Speaking with CNBC, she emphasized the importance of women checking their breasts once a month, noting that embarrassment prevented her grandmother from seeking help until she was terminally ill. Despite a mastectomy, she sadly did not make it. "It had spread to her liver and it was too late to save my grandmother," she said. "So, part of our messaging has always been 'early detection saves lives.'" 

In 2018, she tearfully revealed on "This Morning" (via Daily Mail) that one of her best friends had been diagnosed with last-stage breast cancer in her 40s, after ignoring a lump that she'd found in her own breast. Speaking with You two years later, she suggested that her friend had thankfully survived.

Hugh Grant cheated on Elizabeth Hurley

In the '90s, Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant were one of the most talked about power couples — a position cemented when the British model accompanied her beau to the "Four Weddings and a Funeral" premiere wearing a Versace LBD held together with safety pins. With their whispery posh accents and good looks, the couple seemed like a match made in heaven. But things would soon take an unfortunate turn.

In 1995, Grant made headlines when he got caught cheating on Hurley with a sex worker. Grant was arrested, his mug shot plastered across newspapers. On "The Larry King Show" (via Independent) he offered a mea culpa, and said of his behavior, "It was disloyal and shabby and selfish." When word got out, Hurley was devastated by her boyfriend's betrayal. "I am still bewildered and saddened," she told the British Press Association (via CNN). "For many years I have turned to Hugh for help during difficult times and so now, even though my family and friends have been very kind, I am very much alone. This is all very painful for me."

Still, Hurley gave Grant another chance, and the couple remained together for five more years, eventually splitting in 2000. As she told the "PEOPLE in the 90s" podcast, the two have managed to remain great friends for long after their breakup. Grant is even the godfather to her son, Damien. "You know, we went through so much together," she reflected.

Her painful split from Shane Warne

Elizabeth Hurley found love again when she met Aussie cricket legend, Shane Warne. Sadly, this would be yet another relationship that ended in infidelity. In 2011, the sports star proposed over a romantic dinner, leading to applause from fellow diners. Despite appearing super loved up — such as Warne asking his Twitter followers for a lunch spot "sexy" enough for his lady love — things soon turned sour.

From the outset, the couple's relationship was blighted by cheating rumors. In 2010, Hurley briefly broke up with Warne after he was exposed for sexting another woman. Per the Daily Mail, Warne was alleged to have sent steamy messages to fellow Aussie, Adele Angeleri. The woman in question, who was married at the time, insisted the relationship never went beyond sexting. The following year, he was accused of cheating with adult film actor Chloe Conrad, per The Mirror. Following his MO, Warne supposedly sent Conrad thirsty texts, including hints that he was up for a ménage à trois with her friend. 

In 2013, the couple parted ways with an insider telling Hello! that the odds were ultimately stacked against them. Accordingly, Warne regretted negatively impacting the relationship, later lamenting that Hurley was the one who got away. "I was more in love with Elizabeth than I'd realized I could be," he poignantly told The Mirror. "I miss the love we had. My years with Elizabeth were the happiest of my life. I wanted to be better with her."

The tragedy of her son's father

In 2002, Elizabeth Hurley welcomed her son, Damian, with American businessman Steve Bing. Sadly, the couple's relationship was tumultuous and it reached a breaking point when he denied being Damian's biological father. Bing claimed that he and Hurley were both seeing other people throughout their relationship, coldly declaring, "It is her choice to be a single mother," per People. Understandably, Hurley was devastated by the public claims, adding, "The implications are very painful, especially as I am shortly to give birth to his child." According to Town & Country, Bing told Hurley to have an abortion, but she refused. Later, a DNA test proved he was the father.

Despite their issues, the pair reconnected in the final year of Bing's life. Though he never met his son, he called Damian on his 18th birthday and wrote him a goodbye letter, per You. Accordingly, Hurley was heartbroken when news broke of her ex's untimely death. In 2020, Bing died by suicide, aged 55, per The Los Angeles Times. As noted by Town & Country, he was said to be lonely in his final years and had spent the majority of the $600 million fortune he inherited. 

"I am saddened beyond belief that my ex Steve is no longer with us," Hurley wrote on Instagram. "It is a terrible end ... I'm posting these pictures because although we went through some tough times, it's the good, wonderful memories of a sweet, kind man that matter." 

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Elizabeth Hurley's inheritance nightmare

Unfortunately, the shock of Steve Bing's death brought further turmoil into Elizabeth Hurley's life. In 2021, she found out that her son had been cut from Bing's £180 million ($216.7 million) will. As reported by Daily Mail, Bing intended to leave his fortune to his children, Damian and Kira, his daughter with Lisa Bonder-Kerkorian, via a trust fund. However, his father, Peter, fought to change the fund and his millions were instead left to his sister, Mary's, children. Why? Her kids were born in wedlock while his children were not.

"When Stephen took his own life, he died thinking his children were going to be taken care of," Hurley said in a statement shared with Daily Mail. "What Stephen wanted has now been callously reversed. I know Stephen would have been devastated." In an interview with The Times, Bonder-Kerkorian offered her support to Hurley, condemning the antiquated nature of the trust fund. She recalled the elder Bing telling her, "He said, 'You're not born in wedlock, so you don't count. And I was like, 'Wow, do we live in the Stone Age here?'" She also told the Daily Mail that there was no legal recourse to amend Peter's actions.

Subsequent attempts to secure Damian's inheritance have thus far been unsuccessful, as of 2022. In a shady dig at the Bings, Damian posted a snap on Instagram above the caption, "Grateful for my beautiful family, today and every day." Tellingly, his grandfather was not in the family snap.

Elizabeth Hurley was once scared to go outside

When Elizabeth Hurley became a single mom, she found herself fearful of leaving the house. By her own admission, she began living as a recluse. "I didn't leave the house unless I was being paid to do so," she told The Times. "I couldn't bear people listening to me, staring at me, watching me. I felt vulnerable and scared the entire time." When Damian started going to school, she finally went outside to get a coffee for the first time in ages. However, she still felt too anxious to go to the grocery store, so intense was the pressure and scrutiny placed on her as a public figure.

Although Hurley did not explicitly name her mental disorder, the feelings she described are typical of anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia. As noted by HuffPost, going to the grocery store can be a particularly daunting task for those struggling with sensory overload.

In an interview with You, Hurley was candid when discussing the anxieties that motherhood had instilled in her. The actor admitted that she worries about Damien incessantly, perhaps to the detriment of her own health. "I worry very much about security. I torture him by making him text me and check in all the time," she confessed. She also criticized the undue pressure placed on single moms, telling Us Weekly "It's ludicrously hard to try and do ... We often feel like we failed in places."

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She's experienced heartache over her beloved dogs

Elizabeth Hurley is famed for her love of dogs and even sleeps with her furbabies every night. But her pets have sadly been at the center of tragedy. In 2018, Hurley's labrador, Hector, was nearly killed after being run over by an Amazon driver. As reported by the Daily Mail, the labrador suffered a collapsed lung and broken leg following the ordeal. 

"Elizabeth was absolutely devastated," her sister, Kate, told the outlet. "She had organized for the walker to take him out with two of our other dogs, and then the next I heard was Hector howling." Thereafter, a distraught Hurley noticed that her pup was bleeding profusely and feared the worst. Amazon initially didn't accept responsibility, claiming that the speeding driver who injured Hector was employed by an outside contractor. Nine months later, they relented and paid £2,000 ($2,400) to cover the costs of vet bills.

Sadly, this wasn't the first time Hurley suffered dog-related grief. In 2015, her beloved dog Dash died. Poignantly, she revealed on Twitter that she had commemorated Dash's all too brief life by burying him under an oak tree. Just four years later, she lost another pooch. "Goodbye to my beloved Raja," she wrote on Instagram. "May you chase bunnies for all eternity in doggy heaven. You were the best and most loyal friend for eleven beautiful years." Following the dog's death, she brought fresh puppy love into her life with a fluffy black cocker spaniel pup.

Her nephew was violently attacked

In 2018, Elizabeth Hurley's nephew, Miles Hurley, was stabbed several times when out and about in London, per BBC. Police said the perps got out of a vehicle before stabbing Miles and another young man. They were both taken to a hospital, where Miles was treated for his wounds, while the second man was discharged. 

On Twitter (warning: graphic content), Hurley shared explicit photos of the wounds inflicted upon Miles' back and pleaded with members of the public to share information with the police. "The deepest wound just missed severing his spine," she wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post (via The Telegraph). "By some miracle no vital organs were damaged. We are praying that these animals are caught before they maim, or even kill, someone else. These are sad days."

Hurley was enraged when police called off the investigation into her nephew's assault. Per The Sun, she was fearful that his attackers may harm him again. An insider said that Miles was struggling with nightmares since being subjected to the brutal attack that nearly killed him. Opening up about the ordeal, Miles told the Daily Mail, "I lost six pints of blood. The doctors thought I'd perforated my liver and clipped one of my major arteries. But everything they feared could have happened, didn't." Thanks to the help of a member of the public, who used their sweater as a tourniquet, the attackers fled and Miles was able to recover from the horrific crime.

Shane Warne's death devastated Elizabeth Hurley

In March 2022, the cricket world was rocked by the sudden death of Shane Warne. The cricketing legend, who was just 52, was on vacation in Thailand when he was found unconscious in his hotel room, per Fox Sports. It was later confirmed that he died of a suspected heart attack. Although his relationship with Elizabeth Hurley may have been strained at times, she was nonetheless devastated by her ex's death. On Instagram, she wrote, "I feel like the sun has gone behind a cloud forever. RIP my beloved Lionheart." 

Distraught, Hurley reportedly couldn't bring herself to record a video tribute for Warne's state funeral. "Elizabeth, like another major star and close friend, found it too emotional to encapsulate their feelings into a 30-second grab," organizer Eddie McGuire told "... We didn't want to diminish her grief and love of the Warne family by doing so." On Instagram, she apologized for being unable to attend the funeral due to scheduling issues and sadly acknowledged that she would never get to see him again. However, Hurley was openly touched by the funeral footage she watched, wherein Warne's son paid tribute to his dad, per Hello!

Speaking to GALA (via Get To Text), she said that despite her heartache, she wanted to remember the good times she had with Warne. "How lucky I am to be healthy, have such a wonderful son, and a great family that is always there for me ... That helps me to overcome such crises," she said.

Her messy split from Arun Nayar

After three years of marriage, Elizabeth Hurley filed for divorce from her husband, businessman Arun Nayar, citing "unreasonable behavior." Per Daily Mail, when announcing their split, the British model noted of the time, "[These are] painful, sad days." According to unverified claims published by the now defunct News of the World (via People), Hurley's relationship with Shane Warne coincided with the divorce, sparking rumors that she cheated on her husband. 

However, her relationship with Arun was said to already be strained due to problems caused by his father, Vinod Nayar, and stepmother, Joanne. According to The Mirror, the family disapproved of Hurley with Arun's dad and stepmom reportedly unhappy that the couple broke religious traditions, such as drinking alcohol, at their 2007 Indian wedding. 

Following the ceremony, Vinod accused Hurley of being more interested in a wedding spread in Hello! than family traditions, claiming that his daughter-in-law "publicly humiliated" him. "Liz and Arun treated us very shabbily and we were pushed into the background like poor relations ... This has broken my heart," he claimed to The Mirror. Accordingly, this led to Vinod being estranged from his son, though he hoped to reconcile once he split from his wife. 

Speaking with Tatler, Hurley admitted that she likely wouldn't get married again. "I'd definitely be open to the idea of being loved ... I don't know if marriage comes into that to be honest," she reflected.

Elizabeth Hurley was tormented by a stalker

Stalkers are, sadly, a lived reality for many celebs — including Elizabeth Hurley. In the early 2000s, a man called Petar Mihajlovic was repeatedly found stalking the "Austin Powers" star, and even sent her abusive notes urging her to abort her child, per Vogue. "Don't have the baby. Get rid of it. If you've got to keep it, say it's mine," read one such message. Although he was arrested, he returned to Hurley's London home where he put further threatening letters through her mailbox. At the time, Hurley was days away from giving birth to her son.

As reported by The Daily Record (via The Free Library), in 2001 the stalker rang Hurley's doorbell, asking to speak to her. The police shortly arrived, warning him to leave the actor alone. He'd claimed that Hurley visited him in his dreams. After the star gave birth, Mihajlovic began stalking her again. He was arrested in 2002, but unfortunately, charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence and police being unable to obtain a statement from Hurley, per the BBC. According to The Mirror (via The Free Library), Mihajlovic was elated that he wouldn't be prosecuted and said, "I will see her in August in California, as she's a friend of mine, I know she is." 

During a 2019 appearance on "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen," Hurley morbidly remarked that she and Queen Elizabeth II have the same stalker. However, she did not specify whether she was referring to Mihajlovic.