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Tabloid thorn for celebrity couples

London, Nov. 2: Arun Nayar, apparently humiliated at being a kept man, has called off his February wedding to Liz Hurley, the British tabloid newspaper which specialises in celebrity scoops, claimed today.

The News of the World, in the best traditions of British tabloid journalism, has never allowed facts to get in the way of a good story.

Tucked away at the end of the report is a denial from Hurley’s spokeswoman that the two “are still happy together”.

Elsewhere, the paper also reports the problems of another celebrity couple — Posh and Becks —under the headline: “Livid Becks: Posh won’t move out to Spain, she breaks promise to live in Madrid.”

The story does not make sense if seen in the context that it was apparently Victoria Beckham who had pressured her husband, David, the 28-year-old England football captain, to switch from Manchester United to Real Madrid for £25 million.

Now it is being claimed that she herself does not want to make the move from the UK because she wants to take a last-ditch chance to save her flagging career as a pop singer.

However, it is Hurley’s problems with which The News of the World is obsessed today, reflected in its front page headline: “JILTED: Liz heartache as fiancé calls off wedding”.

It is a well-known technique in British journalism, especially in tabloid newspapers, that when reporters cannot get an on-the-record quotation from a source, unidentified “friends”, “pals” or informants “close” to a couple are conveniently pressed into service. Hurley is said to be “devastated” at having the wedding called off.

According to the paper, “a source close to the couple said ‘the trouble started a few weeks ago when Arun had second thoughts about getting married. Liz desperately wants things to work out. When they met, she fell head over heels in love’.”

“Another source close to Arun’s family said ‘even though they still appear very much an item, calling the wedding off is a huge blow to Liz’.”

Yet another “source close to Arun revealed ‘things hadn’t been going well for a while. The pair then came to Bombay to finalise plans for the wedding. But Arun didn’t seem to be himself. He told me they’d been arguing and he wasn’t happy because he didn’t have any money. Arun said he had a cash flow problem and Liz was paying for everything. He wasn’t happy about it. He’s a proud Indian man, but Liz really wants to do everything for him and he feels trapped. Then two weeks ago they decided to tell close friends the wedding is off’.”

The News of the World offers its explanation why Nayar feels he cannot marry Hurley: “Ashamed at being unable to keep up with her jet-set lifestyle, he has now told Liz the February wedding she had longed for is off. He has ended up a kept man, little more than a house-husband who spends most of his time away caring for Liz’s toddler son, Damien. She doesn’t care that she’s clearly paying all the bills — but he does.”

While Hurley is a rich woman, the finances of Nayar, described as “a Bombay-based businessman, who owns an Internet firm, Directions Software Solutions”, “took a severe dent in July when he had to pay his Italian model wife, Valentina Pedroni, an estimated £625,000 divorce settlement. Playboy Arun, 37, will eventually inherit a fortune from his family textile empire. But at the moment he can’t compete with his lover on either the income or status stakes”.

The couple is now expected to take a “make-or-break holiday” in the Caribbean to decide their future.

As for Mr and Mrs Beckham, they are still married but for how much longer' The News of the World says: “The marriage has come under further pressure because David is wary of Victoria’s relationship with rap producer Damon Dash.”

Beckham has told a “pal” that Victoria is staying in the UK with their children, Brooklyn, four, and Romeo, one, “because of her career. I’m really hurt — it’s all a nightmare. It’s hard for me to take in that my wife and boys are going to stay at our house in Hertfordshire. I love her so much”.

To save his marriage, Beckham is said to be considering returning to England, possibly to play for Chelsea.

His wife, meanwhile, has told an “aide”, naturally unidentified, “this is my last chance for my solo career and I will do anything to make it work. If it means we are apart, so be it.”

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