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- November 26, 2001
- Vol. 56
- No. 22
Mum's the Word
Elizabeth Hurley Prepares for Parenthood—With or Without the Multimillionaire Dad
Everything, that is, except relations with dad-to-be Stephen Bing, an American movie producer and heir to a real estate fortune. Hurley and Bing, both 36, had been an item since shortly after her mid-2000 breakup with actor Hugh Grant. But "the relationship broke down because of the pregnancy," says British journalist "William Cash, a friend of Hurley's who wrote a lengthy and hostile story about Bing in Britain's Daily Mail on Nov. 10. "He was not very happy [about the news]. Since then he has hardly spoken to her."
Indeed, when Hurley visited a London hospital Nov. 6 for a prenatal checkup, the man by her side wasn't Bing, but Grant, 41, who lives around the corner from her. Since calling off their 13-year romance, the two have remained "best friends," Hurley told PEOPLE last year, and Grant has reportedly been tapped to be the child's godfather. "I think she'll make a great mother," says a friend, Sean Borg, who owns a London public relations firm. "She has so many supportive people around her."
Bing won't say if he's one of them; he has declined all comment since news of the pregnancy broke. Though the British press has been painting the Los Angeles-based producer—previously linked to such stars as Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman and Farrah Fawcett—as a caddish playboy, some who know him differ. "He strikes me as an immensely caring person," says actress Lin Shaye, who costars in the forthcoming Bing-produced romantic comedy Without Charlie. "He seems like he'd be a fabulous father."
Hurley, who jetted to L.A. on Nov. 10, only laughed when a reporter asked her if she was going to visit Bing. And while the mom-to-be has managed to quit smoking, fitting the new role into her sex-symbol image may be harder. Hurley has gone without a big Hollywood hit since 1997's Austin Powers and ended a seven-year run as the sole face of Estée Lauder cosmetics in September when the company added a younger model, Carolyn Murphy. (Hurley's last film, Bedazzled, grossed $37 million.) Pal Borg isn't worried. "She'll go for more serious roles," he says. "If anything, motherhood will enhance her image and show a deeper, more caring side to her nature. She'll still be out there in lights, that's for sure."
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