London, April 14: You could say it’s the first hitch but usually when a tabloid says a romance is going well and the sound of wedding bells is in the air, something almost invariably goes wrong.
Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar will undoubtedly be perturbed to read today’s Daily Mirror which says the celebrity couple are, according to the paper’s headline, “Free To Marry”.
This is just one of those things. When Hello! magazine features any couple in love, it is again not long before they split up.
Today’s “exclusive” story in the Mirror begins: “Liz Hurley’s lover Arun Nayar should soon be free to marry her after filing for divorce.”
Those who know the ways of British tabloids will realise this falls somewhat short of stating that they will marry after his divorce.
The paper points out that the “Bombay-based” Arun Nayar has been married to the model Valentina Pedroni for seven years “but his relationship has been over for several months”.
It adds: “Now a family court in Mumbai, India (most people in Britain still don’t know that Mumbai is the new name for Bombay) will hear his petition, which was lodged at the end of February. Last week, Valentina travelled from her home in Milan to India, where she is looking for a suitable lawyer. She has told friends she will fight the divorce all the way.”
The Mirror goes on: “Legal sources at the divorce court said Nayar, 37, was seeking a separation on the grounds that he and his wife are estranged and that she lives overseas. But furious Valentina is certain to use Nayar’s high profile relationship with her old mate Liz as they attempt to thrash out a settlement.”
An “insider” is quoted by the Mirror: “Valentina has come back to India to try to sort this out. She has been seen out at a couple of parties and she has let it be known that she is not at all happy.”
But another source told the Mirror that Hurley, also 37, is “happier than ever” and that “she’s found her soulmate in Arun — she’s 100 per cent sure he’s the one”.
Arun Nayar, according to the Mirror, is reported to have proposed to Hurley when she recently visited Mumbai and is said to be “deeply in love with her and has already introduced her to his parents Gunar and Vinod”.
In a bizarre episode, Gunar Nayar emailed the Mirror and corrected some aspects of an earlier report but it is possible that the paper has a good source.
For his part, Arun Nayar “also dotes on Liz’s one-year-old son, Damian, whose father is American billionaire Steve Bing”.
Valentina learnt of her husband’s relationship with Hurley when she saw pictures of them together at a Christian Dior fashion show in Paris. Arun Nayar was uncontactable — “aides said he was abroad until the end of the month”. In any case, he did not respond to the Mirror’s emails.
However, the Mirror managed to track down Hurley who was attending a charity walk in aid of the Parkinson’s Disease Society. When asked about marriage, she replied haughtily: “I’m here to help raise money for Parkinson’s disease, which I think is a lot more significant than my personal life.”
It is true that there are rumours in London that Hurley and Arun Nayar will announce their engagement as soon as they decently can but it is also possible that the kind of publicity they are attracting may take the romance out of their romance.