| Arun and Liz: Family trouble already
London, April 8: Arun Nayar’s father has disowned him barely a month after his fairy tale wedding to Elizabeth Hurley, it was revealed today.
Vinod Nayar, who claims he and his second wife, Indian-born Joanne, were humiliated at the wedding ceremonies, both at Sudeley Castle in England and at Umaid Bhavan in Jodhpur, holds Hurley responsible for provoking the break with his son.
“I believe it was expressly done on Elizabeth’s orders,” Vinod told the Daily Mail.
He has also disowned his second son, Nikhil, who sided with his elder brother and threatened physically to remove his father at one stage of the proceedings in Jodhpur.
Vinod blames his sons’ mother, Gunhild Hapke (known as Gunna), from whom he was divorced in 1996 after 20 years of marriage, for poisoning Hurley’s mind.
When Vinod, now 66, and Joanne, 55, were married in Mumbai in 2004, he said Arun, 42, and Hurley, 41, were honoured guests in marked contrast to the way he and his wife were treated a month ago.
“The fact is that Liz and Arun have treated us very shabbily,” said Vinod.
“My wife and I were humiliated and still feel very angry about what happened. I’m in a lot of pain over this.”
The only light relief from today’s sad saga of the dysfunctional Nayars was provided by reports that Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan, who had announced they had split up, were seeing each other again and attempting a reconciliation.
Grant had a 13-year relationship with Hurley, while Jemima was previously married to Imran Khan, with whom she has two sons.
In the long list of complaints made by Vinod, he said Hurley forgot to make a proper hotel booking for him and Joanne in England and that they only managed to get in because of a late cancellation.
In Jodhpur, Vinod had his camera snatched away when he was taking photographs of a cricket match for his private album. Hurley screamed at Arun to “take that camera from your dad for Christ’s sake”. And Arun snatched it from his father’s hands.
“I felt humiliated, like a naughty schoolboy,” recalled Vinod.
“I once thought Liz was a lovely, unspoiled woman, but now I see that she is a very hard person,” said Vinod. “It was important for her to get celebrity faces there. That’s what the Hello! deal was about. She was fulfilling her contractual obligation. I knew she was very ambitious, but I never realised just how desperate she is for fame and attention.”
He added: “My wife and I were publicly humiliated and treated like social outcasts for the sake of a £2-million magazine deal. We were pushed into the background like poor relations.”
Hurley refused to wear the jewellery Vinod had specifically given her for her Hindu wedding — “I consider it an insult that she wasn’t wearing the £35,000 diamond and ruby necklace I offered as a wedding gift.”
She instead put on the necklace that had been lent by Gunna to Arun’s first wife, Italian-born Valentina Pedroni, at their 1997 wedding in Mumbai.
“I thought this was in very poor taste,” remarked Vinod.
Hurley, it was also alleged, left Arun’s paternal grandmother, Kailash, 87, off the wedding invitation list.
The Mail does not recall that when Arun first brought his new girlfriend home to meet his family in Mumbai, photographs of him and Hurley kissing in public had already appeared in newspapers. Kailash, who had apparently refused to meet Hurley at that time, was reported to have commented: “In India people who come from good families don’t behave like this.”
Hurley also refused to put Vinod’s name on the wedding invitation card that was sent out for the Hindu ceremony in India.
“Even if a father is deceased in India, his name should appear as a sign of respect,” Vinod pointed out. “I was afforded no such courtesy. It was like a slap in the face.”
His explanation was: “I can only imagine that my ex-wife, with whom I’ve had a difficult relationship, had managed to influence Liz in the same way she tried to turn our sons against me in the years since we parted in 1989.”
According to Vinod, Joanne was accused by Hurley of using the latter’s celebrity status to promote an Indian jewellery line for which she had become the brand ambassador.
Vinod also said that Indian guests were treated less well than European ones. In Jodhpur, Vinod and Joanne were sent to a smaller hotel since Hurley could find no room for them at Umaid Bhavan.
“The Umaid Bhavan Palace was full of Europeans who were friends of Liz,” disclosed Vinod. “Many were just minor celebrities. One English couple said that they had only known Liz and Arun for about six months and didn’t know why they’d been invited. Yet my brother, nieces and nephews were put up in a hotel about six kilometres away.”
Upset at the catalogue of humiliations heaped on him and Joanne, whom Hurley had apparently wanted excluded from the invitation list at one stage, Vinod cancelled a £30,000 dinner for 250 he had planned for Arun and his bride in Mumbai.
According to today’s Mail on Sunday, where Vinod has revealed his hurt and pain, “the most talked-about wedding of the year was marred by unpleasant feuding from the outset and culminated in disgraceful scenes with ramifications that will last for years”.
At one point in Jodhpur, “Vinod Nayar was ejected from his own son’s wedding”, the paper recounted.
“Liz and her kind are just upstarts,” was the opinion of Joanne, who is unlikely to be invited to take tea with Hurley on future visits to England.
Joanne revealed the kind of tips Hurley had offered her English friends coming to India: “It included advice to bring bacterial wipes and not to talk to beggars. We found it quite offensive.”
Vinod has “sent angry letters to both sons, criticising their behaviour and ordering them to vacate the two grace-and-favour apartments they use in his six-storey Bombay building”.
The letter said: “I am very upset with your rudeness and the terrible remarks you made in a very loud tone on the days I was in Jodhpur. You have shown disrespect to me and my family plus my dear friends who have been with me since your birth and have been your mentors.”
It continued: “You and Elizabeth gave priority to people who were not very important or who were not well known to you. I came every day to talk to you about the wedding but you disregarded me like one of your office boys.”
Vinod now insisted: “I have totally disowned them. I want nothing more to do with them or their wives. All of this directly resulted from the wedding debacle and the fact that Liz clearly didn’t want much emphasis placed on Arun’s Indian relatives at either ceremony. Out of the hundreds of photos taken at both events, I only feature in two. My dear wife was totally ostracised and is in none.”
“This unpleasantness is not my doing,” he argued. “I am not doing this lightly. It’s a big step, I know, but I have come to the end of the road.”