Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
June 10, 1965
1990s - Present
Currently Known For:
Actress and Model
Face of Estée Lauder, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Bedazzled, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and The Royals
“I’ve always wanted to be a spy and, frankly, I’m a little surprised that British intelligence has never approached me.” The face of Estée Lauder since 1994, Elizabeth Hurley is one of the most beautiful and talented women in the world with an illustrious career as a model and actress to prove it. The England native first launched her career as an actress in the late 1980s with credits in Aria, Rowing with the Wind and Kill Cruise before finding mainstream success in the 1990s with Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Reprising her role as Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Hurley went on to star on the silver screen while making guest appearances on television in Gossip Girl and The Tomorrow People. Since 2015, her career has taken a new turn as she portrays Queen Helena in The Royals, a role that truly embodies her talent and marks one of the many highlights of her career as the 52-year-old effortlessly embodies royalty both on and off the screen!
The daughter of a teacher and a major in the Royal Army Educational Corps, Jane Elizabeth Hurley was born on June 10, 1965 in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. Long before she ever dreamed of becoming an actress, she dreamt of becoming a professional dancer and studied dance and ballet at the London Studio Centre. By her teens, however, her interests shifted when she started to explore her sense of style and followed the punk fashion trends made popular in Britain, even piercing her nose and dyeing her hair pink. She eventually gave up her dreams of dancing, let the pink fade from her hair, and set out to become an actress with her first film appearance coming in Aria in 1987, the same year she met a young Hugh Grant, whom she dated until 2000.
With Grant’s fame boosting Hurley’s popularity as she joined him on the red carpet, the struggling actress found steady work in film and television with credits in Rowing with the Wind, Inspector Morse, Christabel, Rumpole of the Bailey and Act of Will. In the 1990s, Hurley’s career blossomed when, despite having no experience as a model, she became the face of Estée Lauder, a contract that would forever change her life and career. Appearing in ads for the company’s various fragrance lines and cosmetics, Hurley established a close friendship with Evelyn Lauder and joined the company’s pink ribbon campaign to promote breast cancer awareness, a project that Hurley remains passionate about today after over two decades.
“The late Evelyn Lauder inspired me in so many ways and I learned so much from her. She was a wonderful friend to me for over 17 years and I miss her terribly. I know so many women that have battled breast cancer and they didn’t make it… By wearing a pink ribbon, you are telling the world that you care and that you are supporting a powerful cause,” Hurley says.
Amid her work with Estée Lauder, Hurley’s acting career flourished when she accepted the part of Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery in 1997. Winning a ShoWest Supporting Actress of the Year Award for her performance, Hurley reprised her role two years later in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. “I loved playing Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers,” she said of the role. “I adored Mike Myers who made me cry with laughter every day. In the penis pump scene, I laughed so much I got sent to my trailer to calm down like a schoolgirl!”
Breaking things off with Grant in the new millennium, Hurley had a brief romance with American businessman Steve Bing and gave birth to their son, Damian Charles Hurley, in 2002. Months later, she started dating an Indian textile heir named Arun Nayar and focused most of her time and energy on their relationship, motherhood and her work with Estée Lauder rather than on her career as an actress. Then, after five years together, Hurley married Nayar in March 2007 and settled down on her 400-acre farm in Gloucestershire. By 2010, their romance dwindled with Hurley filing for divorce in 2011. Months later, Hurley announced her engagement to world-renowned cricket player Shane Warne. After three years together, the couple separated in 2013 as Hurley reported that she and her first love, Hugh Grant, were still the best of friends.
Amid her whirlwind romances and motherhood, Hurley gradually returned to acting with credits in films like Valentino: The Last Emperor, Made in Romania and Viktor. Finding her niche in documentary miniseries, she appeared in The Human Face and Signé Chanel before snagging a recurring role as Diana Payne on Gossip Girl. In 2015, she caught what many consider the biggest break of her television career when she was cast as Queen Helena in The Royals, a role she continues to play today and says is easily among her favorite projects. “Being a mummy is my favorite role in real life but it’s pretty amazing playing the Queen of England in the new TV series, The Royals,” Hurley says. “I get to wear a crown and have all the extras curtsey to me every day. It could easily go to a girl’s head.”
Apart from wearing a crown to work, The Royals has given the 52-year-old Hurley a chance to work with her son, Damian, who has shown an interest in acting since he was very young. “Last year he had his first professional job on my show The Royals and I told him to ‘learn his lines’ and don’t get on everyone’s nerves,’” Hurley said. “He did both and he was very good.” Sharing that same advice with aspiring actors, Hurley says, “Learn your lines and don’t fall over the furniture. When actors are in a panic, bizarrely they’ll miss their seat—one of the most important things in acting is to not panic and act like a normal human being.” Sounds easy enough, right?
While Hurly is certainly enjoying her work on The Royals, she says her role in the fight against breast cancer is still the highlight of her career as she often visits survivors to hear their stories. “It is the toughest, most humbling, disturbing and rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” she says. And, for that, we love her even more!