Elizabeth Jane Hurley (born 10 June 1965) is an English model and former actress who became known as a girlfriend of Hugh Grant in the 1990s. Born in Basingstoke, Hurley was a struggling actress in 1987, when she met Grant while working on a Spanish production called Remando Al Viento. In 1994, Grant became the focus of worldwide media attention due to the global box office success of his film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Hurley accompanied him to the film's London premiere and was noted for wearing a plunging black Versace dress held together with gold safety pins. According to The Guardian, Hurley was "then known as 'Hugh Grant's girlfriend,' now known as 'Hugh Grant's former girlfriend,'" due to their high-profile romantic relationship that ended in 2000.
The highlight of Hurley's professional life has been her association with the cosmetics company Estée Lauder. The company gave Hurley her first modeling job at the age of 29 and has used her as a model for its products, especially perfumes such as Sensuous, Intuition and Pleasures, since 1995. Her best known cinematic work was as Vanessa Kensington in Mike Myers's hit spy comedies, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999). Hurley currently models and designs an eponymous beachwear line. She became the mother of a son in 2002.
Hurley was born as a middle child in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, the daughter of Angela and Roy Hurley. Her Irish father was a major in the British Army, while her Anglican mother was a teacher at Kempshott Infant School. She has an older sister Katie and a younger brother Michael. Hurley was educated at local schools including Kempshott Infant School, Kempshott Junior School, and the Harriet Costello School. Aspiring to be a dancer as a young girl, she took ballet classes and later briefly studied dance and theater at the London Studio Centre. While in her teens, she became involved with punk fashion, dying her hair pink and piercing her nose. "When I was 16 - this was about 1981,82 - the thing to be in Basingstoke, the suburb I grew up in, was punk," she explained. She also reportedly associated with the New Age Travellers in her youth.
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