The Stunning Transformation Of Elizabeth Hurley

Name a more iconic, ageless beauty than Elizabeth Hurley. Go ahead, we'll wait. Over the last few decades, she's made her mark as a model, actor, businesswoman, and mother. She has starred in hits and flops. Her flawless face has graced the covers of hundreds of magazines and ad campaigns. She has seen heartbreak and weathered public storms (looking at you, Hugh Grant) that might have sent other women running for cover. Yet, she always seems to emerge stronger and better than ever with her head and heels high, and her sense of humor intact. "I don't take myself too seriously," she admitted to Great British Life. "I know my failings and I do make fun of myself."

It takes a lot of tenacity to find success in Hollywood, and no one knows that better than women who have spent a significant amount of time in the industry. After all, show business is no stranger to ageism, and unfortunately, the idea of whether or not a woman is in her "prime" continues to loom. However, Hurley embraces aging with open arms. "There's zero point in dreading anything inevitable and I never have," she once told Healthy Living. "I find energy and outlook are the two things which make people seem youthful to me."

Clearly, her energy and outlook are working well for her. From punk rock princess to silver screen siren, this is the transformation of Elizabeth Hurley.

Elizabeth Hurley was a rebel with a cause

Elizabeth Hurley was born in the town of Basingstoke in 1965 and grew up with a close-knit family. "I think your home town is always a source of comfort unless you have had a really bad childhood, which I didn't," she said to Great British Life. Though she was raised in a middle class household, the future movie star presented otherwise. "I wanted to be like other people but some thought that I talked posh because my parents had insisted on us learning to speak properly," she said. 

As a result, Hurley rebelled by fully embracing the British punk scene, right down to her pink hair and nose piercing. For Hurley, the look was about more than a passing fad. "I found that many men took an interest in me and at that age it got on my nerves so I made myself look as awful as possible," she explained. 

Although she joined a punk band known as Vestal Virgins and spent a lot of time in the local clubs, Hurley says her rebellion was more external than internal. "I was sensible at heart, but my rebellion was an outer show, and it did take me some time to come out of it," she confessed, adding that her history of truancy got her kicked out of school. Rather than mope about it, Hurley moved to London, revamped her punk image, and secured a role in a touring play. That was the start of what would later become a successful career. 

Elizabeth Hurley stole the show in an iconic dress

The year was 1987, and Elizabeth Hurley had landed one of her first feature-length film roles in "Rowing With the Wind." She had also just landed her first high-profile boyfriend when she drummed up a romance with co-star Hugh Grant. Her love life and early acting work wasn't what truly put Hurley on the public's radar, however. Rather, it was the jaw-dropping Gianni Versace black safety pin dress that she wore to the London premiere of "Four Weddings and a Funeral" that made the world sit up and take notice.

The gown was flawless. The relationship? Not so much. Just one year later, Hugh Grant's love life took an interesting turn when he was arrested for picking up sex worker Divine Brown. Grant publicly apologized, but Hurley, who was still very much in a relationship with Grant at the time, found herself at the center of a media firestorm. 

On a 1995 episode of "20/20," Hurley told Barbara Walters that the news was incredibly tough to process at first. "I think I felt like I'd been shot," she said. Despite the public betrayal and humiliation, Hurley put her best foot forward as she stood beside the man she calls "monkey face" for five more years before calling it quits in 2000. Today, the former couple has remained close friends. They jointly own the production company, Simian Films, and Grant (along with Sir Elton John) is godfather to Hurley's son. 

With no modeling experience Elizabeth Hurley landed the job of a lifetime

Catwalks and covers are great, but models know that landing a cosmetics deal is gold. So when Estée Lauder came knocking on Elizabeth Hurley's door in 1995, she opened it wide. While some models have to work for years before landing a gig like that, Hurley was an actor with no modeling experience whatsoever. In the aforementioned episode of "20/20," Barbara Walters shared that a company spokesperson said they picked Hurley because they were looking for "the sophisticated woman of the 21st century." Hurley seemed genuinely surprised by this. "I have never felt one jot sophisticated," she admitted. "I can be reduced to feeling like a scruffy schoolgirl in two seconds flat by most people." 

Hurley enjoyed a long and lucrative career with Estée Lauder until 2000, when some said her increasingly sexy public image was not in line with what the company represented. Chairman Leonard Lauder disagreed. "I felt that it would be in the best interests of the company to stick with her rather than change. It's hard not to love her. I think she is beautiful, and she is just coming into her own," he said in The Telegraph. Hurley enjoyed one more year with the company before being replaced by the much younger Carolyn Murphy in 2001. Hurley took it in stride, telling The Telegraph, "I'm going to travel a lot more and do many more public events."

Elizabeth Hurley said yeah baby to Austin Powers

Proving she was more than just a pretty face, Elizabeth Hurley showed off her comedic side in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" in 1997. The actor turned model turned actor played Vanessa Kinsington, a role she reprised in the 1999 sequel, "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me." But when it was time for the third installment, "Austin Powers in Goldmember," Hurley had to pass on the gig because she was pregnant with her first child. On an episode of "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," she explained that while she wanted to do the film, her baby bump was showing by the time shooting was ready to begin. "It would be like Dr. Evil had impregnated me once I was away, so it couldn't work," she laughed. 

In classic Elizabeth Hurley style, she harbors no bad feelings about the way the third movie played out. "I love Beyoncé, I love 'Austin Powers,' it just wasn't my fault," she said. She loves the franchise so much, in fact, that she once dished to People that she would be open to bringing her character back for another round as long as Mike Myers was on board. She made her affection for Myers clear, noting that she couldn't have enjoyed working with him more. She continued, "A brilliant man, fabulously kind and gentle and of course one of the best comedians on Earth." Needless to say, a fourth "Austin Powers" movie would be groovy, baby.

And baby makes two for Elizabeth Hurley

In 2002, Elizabeth Hurley welcomed her only child, son Damian Charles Hurley. Alas, a bit of a scandal followed Damian's birth. Like something out of a "Jerry Springer" episode, Elizabeth claimed the baby daddy was Hollywood mogul Stephen Bing, a man she became romantically involved with shortly after her break-up with Hugh Grant. The multimillionaire disputed her claim, suggesting that the "Austin Powers" star had other lovers while they were together.  "It's her choice to be a single mother. If indeed I am the father, I will be an extremely involved and responsible parent," he stated at the time (via The Times). 

A paternity test revealed that Elizabeth was telling the truth and that Bing was the child's father. He offered up a large monthly payment, but Elizabeth was so insulted by the ordeal that she refused it, stating, "The money is not wanted or welcome." Bing was absent from Damian's life until his 18th birthday in 2020 when he reached out to make amends and help Elizabeth secure Damian's hefty Bing family inheritance. Before that could take place, however, the movie producer died. In addition to losing his dad, Damian was denied a possible $250 million fortune by the courts per his paternal grandfather's request. "What Stephen wanted has now been callously reversed," Elizabeth told Daily Mail. "I know Stephen would have been devastated.' 

Elizabeth Hurley turned her love of bikinis into serious business

Few rock a bikini quite like Elizabeth Hurley, so who better to start her own swimwear line? Elizabeth Hurley Beach launched in 2005 at select Saks Fifth Avenue locations and online. It features sexy string bikinis in rich colors with intricate details, breezy silk caftans, and accessories from hats to beach bags.

Hurley, who models the line on her website (because why wouldn't she?), told "The Early Show" that growing up in a rainy, dreary climate inspired her to create this summery range. "I used to dream of glamorous, sunny places like St. Tropez and St. Bart's, and in my dreams, I was wearing clothes remarkably similar to these," she said. 

The company cruised along for years, but during the pandemic it made a huge splash thanks to photos of Hurley modeling the collection in her garden on her Instagram account. It's no stretch to say the A-lister looks fab in her bikinis; after all, fitness is a big part of her life. However, some of the strange ways Hurley stays fit might surprise you. "I don't work out, per se, but I am very active," she once dished to Extra. "I do a lot of exercise, but it's really the gardening... cutting down a hedge, using my chainsaw to cut down a tree, logging, all of that stuff I do. So, I'm very active." Consider chainsaw added to cart.

A failed marriage and a second engagement for Elizabeth Hurley

Although Elizabeth Hurley has had her fair share of famous suitors, it was Indian businessman Arun Nayar who became the movie star's first husband. In 2007, the couple tied the knot in a ceremony that stretched across six days and two countries, from Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire to a palace in the desert city of Jodhpur. Hurley was walked down the aisle by Sir Elton John. 

While the wedding may have looked like a fairytale, the marriage did not end with a happily ever after. By 2011, Hurley and Nayar were divorced, and rumors swirled that Hurley had been having an affair with cricket player Shane Warne. Hurley denied the allegations, saying that her marriage had been over long before the Warne scandal made British tabloid headlines. Hurley and Warne became engaged but called it off in 2013. Less than 10 years later, Warne died of a heart attack, and both Hurley and her son were devastated. "Damian loved him and had a great relationship with his three children in those formative years," Hurley told The Times in 2022. 

The grief stuck with Hurley. "Of the four great loves of my life two are dead," she told the outlet. Her other two great loves are Hugh Grant and Nayar, both of whom she still cares for. "I am excellent friends with Hugh and Arun because they became family," she said. "Breaking up would be like losing a family member." 

Elizabeth Hurley sleighed the holiday movie game

After taking an eight-year hiatus from the big screen to raise her son, Elizabeth Hurley returned to acting, but not on the big screen. Rather than dive back into movies, Hurley dipped her toes into television, playing vampy, sexy characters on shows like "Gossip Girl" and "The Royals." Then, in 2021, she took a festive frolic into the world of Christmas movies — and no, she didn't play a displaced city girl who finds love in a quaint country inn on the Hallmark channel. Instead, she joined comedic legends Kelsey Grammer and John Cleese to make the Netflix film "Father Christmas is Back." Hurley played Grammer's daughter in the comedy, and she sleighed, er, slayed. She followed it up with two more holiday hits, "Christmas in the Caribbean" and "Christmas in Paradise," in 2022. 

So why the sudden crossover into Christmas? Hurley told The Hollywood Reporter that she signed on for the first film because she wanted to work with Cleese and Grammer. "Christmas in the Caribbean," meanwhile, appealed to her desire to show people in her age group looking for love. "It's not three young girls panting to meet Mr. Right. It's different," Hurley noted in People. "And I think there's so many stories to explore when you're looking at romance and what people are looking for in their lives, and I think it's a wonderful opportunity, actually, to see it from a slightly different angle."

Elizabeth Hurley insisted she didn't have a fling with Prince Harry

Prince Harry's 2023 memoir, "Spare," spilled all kinds of tea on the royal family. And while it's hard to pinpoint the most startling revelation from the prince's book, how Harry lost his virginity is definitely near the top of the list. According to the estranged royal's account, he was no longer a virgin after he hooked up with a woman in a field behind a pub. "Inglorious episode, he wrote, "with an older woman."

So, who was the mysterious "older woman" he mentioned? The prince wouldn't name names, but that didn't stop people from throwing guesses at the wall to see what stuck, and evidently, many were ready to run with the theory that it was Elizabeth Hurley. However, Hurley is adamant she didn't take Harry's virginity. What's more, she told Andy Cohen on a 2024 episode of "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" that she's never even crossed paths with the royal. 

While "The Royals" star was quick to dismiss the rumors about any sort of dalliance with Harry as "ludicrous," there were others who came forward to claim they were the woman in Harry's story. 

Elizabeth Hurley is most proud of her work to help women with breast cancer

Elizabeth Hurley and Estée Lauder may have parted ways in 2001, but Hurley has remained an important part of the company. While her face may no longer grace their beauty ad campaigns, the former model has served as a global ambassador for the Estée Lauder Companies' Breast Cancer campaign for nearly 30 years. Hurley lost her grandmother to the devastating disease, and that's why she is a self-described "bully" when it comes to making sure her friends and family do their self-checks and get their annual mammograms. She put the fun in fundraising in 2022 when she, along with friends Sir Elton John and David Furnish, hosted "The Hot Pink Party" in New York City to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Fund. She told Hello!, "I really hope [those attending and contributing] appreciate what their generosity has meant in the breast cancer world, that progress has been made by scientists and mortality has decreased by 42% since the 80s."

Hurley noted that their work is far from over, and she is nowhere close to giving up. Of all that she has accomplished throughout her impressive career, raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research is the work she is most proud of. On a 2022 episode of the daytime talk show "Loose Women," she said she will stick with the cause until women are no longer dying from breast cancer. 

Elizabeth Hurley is in a film directed by her son

Elizabeth Hurley's son, Damian Hurley, obviously inherited his mother's good looks, but it seems he also inherited dad Stephen Bing's filmmaking skills. Even as a young boy, Damian wrote and shot stories, often enlisting the help of his mother's A-list friends like Hugh Grant. "He bullied every friend and family member into making his mini-films," Elizabeth told People, adding that she gave her mini-me his first camcorder when he was only 8 years old. Elizabeth encouraged her son's interests and promised him that "if you ever make a real movie, I'll be in it." True to her word, the brunette bombshell is starring in Damian's first full-length feature film, "Strictly Confidential," a thriller set to be released in April 2024. "It's a bloody good part," she said of the role. Both mother and son said that working together was a great experience because they operate on the same wavelength. "We are twin-like," Damian quipped. 

Twin-like or not, Elizabeth is still Damian's "mum," so when word got out about a particularly steamy scene in the movie, more than a few eyebrows were raised. In the flick, which Damian both wrote and directed, Elizabeth's character has sex with another character. As awkward and uncomfortable as that seems, evidently everyone involved was unfazed. "People are making a lot of fuss," Elizabeth acknowledged to People before adding that there actually wasn't any nudity during filming. "Nobody's exploited at all. We all felt comfortable doing it," she said.