The English love their dogs. The tabloids love a lover. They have been following Elizabeth Hurley and her new boyfriend Arun Nayar, half-Indian and half-German from a wealthy family in Mumbai, ever since they were photographed cuddling and holding hands at the Christian Dior fashion show in Paris. Since then she has been introducing him as her boyfriend.
The couple were spotted last week at a dinner party in a fashionable West London home where their friends concluded that a strange thing had happened to the usually domineering personality of Liz Hurley. She is suddenly quite docile.
Arun was heard asking her to "Get me a drink, will you" and "sure" she purred as she went to the improptu bar in the room to fetch him a glass of champagne. Friends are quoted saying they believe she is feeling dominated for the first in her relationships. And she seems to like it, "she is revelling under Arun’s domination".
"Arun is cheeky with Elizabeth," said a friend to the Mail. "He is slightly chauvinistic and bosses her around but she doesn’t appear to mind it. The flip side of that domination is that he treats her like a princess.
"He is very generous, knows how to treat a lady, and after everything that has happened with Bing (Steve), she has totally fallen for it. For the first time in a long while she feels like she is being looked and that she is something special."
They said while she normally dominates her boyfriends, it is completely different with Arun who has the confidence to tell Hurley what to do. She is now keen to introduce him to Hugh Grant who had been her lover for 14 years. But now they say he is very protective over her since her failed affair with the Hollywood mulit-millionaire Steve Bing from whom she has a son.
She was careful not to let Arun and Hugh meet while the latter had gone to see her at St. Moritz. Arun was also there but she dated him after Hugh left.
She is now set to introduce Arun to Hugh in the next few weeks.
The know-alls in the high society here believe that Arun, wealthy and handsome, is ideal for Hurley who has difficulty in bringing up her son alone.
Both are 37. He has houses all over, including a penthouse in Mumbai from where he runs his own computer business.
Hurley likes his clipped public school accent which he acquired at the £15000-a-year Millfield School in Somerset. He read physics at Christ Church College in Oxford. Possibly his education is something new to Hurley.
No one seems to notice his marriage to the former Italian model Valentina Pedroni. Some say he has been married to her for four years while his father Vinod has been quoted saying that the two were married six years ago and the marriage is very much intact. She comes to Mumbai often. The father says Arun enjoys high-living.
The gossip here is that Valentina returned to Milan four months ago under the impression that she and Arun were undergoing a trial separation after rows about his hopes for her to have a child. Her father has admitted that they were shocked to see Arun’s and Hurley’s picture being together at the Dior fashion show in Paris.
Arun’s mother has also thrown a spanner in the otherwise smoothly running romance. Separated from Arun’s father, she has said that the stories about her son’s wealth are exaggerated. She, Gunar, says is responsible for the family’s money and she holds the purse strings. "He (Arun) is certainly not a mogul" she told the Mail on phone from Mumbai.
But, she defends her son and says all the stories about his wild, high living have been spread out of envy and are spiteful. She also denied that Arun ever had any drug-related problems.
Arun has been saying that there has been so much speculation and rumours that he is keeping his head down. "I’d rather just stay away from commenting about Elizabeth."
Shoba De has been quoted in various papers saying, "He does not rate..., I think he is an obnoxious and arrogant brat. He is trading on his good looks."
These commentS have made some friends of Hurley worry whether dating an interanational playboy would lead to another emotional disaster.
But, she has been told by him that his Italian marriage is definitely over.
Whatever it be, her friends admit Hurley is totally smitten by Arun. The tabloids are devouring up everything about them. Their’s the story which is keeping tills ringing.