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THEIRS has been a very modern kind of relationship, often conducted in public and via flirtatious Twitter messages.
And now, with a couple of cryptic tweets, it seems to all be over between Liz Hurley and Shane Warne.
Although on September 1, she wished Warne a happy [Australian] Father’s Day, with a heart, on Twitter, the tone changed dramatically three days later.
She posted the message: ‘The more I know of man, the more I love my dog.’
For his part, Warne put online his own homespun Aussie musings, saying: ‘It’s not what happens in your life, it’s how you react to what life throws at *, in both the good & bad times!’
Reports that they had separated were published on Tuesday while Hurley was in England and Warne was in Melbourne. Significantly, Hurley was not wearing her engagement ring — although it had been seen on her finger as recently as three weeks ago.
This would not be the couple’s first split — they broke up for a while in the spring of last year. That bust-up had been prompted by a series of long separations and Hurley’s growing fear that she really didn’t have enough in common with her blunt and brash boyfriend.
After a series of unsatisfactory phone calls, she dumped him — but they made it up. However, the relationship was badly scarred and Warne, 44, has seldom been seen at her side since.
For example, he didn’t join her for Elton John’s annual White Tie and Tiara ball this year — that honour went to designer Patrick Cox, her closest friend. Nor was he there to celebrate Cox’s birthday at the Café Royal, even though her ex-husband Arun Nayer and ex-boyfriend Hugh Grant were.
Also, instead of Warne, she took her son Damian (whose father is playboy film producer Steve Bing) as her plus-one to an Elton John event earlier this month.
Warne was said to be unavailable because of work commitments.
In any case, often when the couple were seen together, they looked ill-matched.
For example, when they attended Ascot in July, Hurley wore a dainty fascinator and patterned skirt.
Yet Warne treated the day as a booze-up — ostentatiously squeezing her bottom and then performing his party trick of trying to put a whole glass of beer inside his mouth.
Liz was not impressed — and it was very embarrassing and public proof that her much-mocked make-over of the larrikin sportsman into a pompadoured metrosexual had failed.
For, over three years, Hurley had transformed the porky charmer with dodgy highlights, whose nickname was Hornie Warne, into a highly buffed tailor’s dummy — the perfect Ken to her Barbie. His eyebrows were plucked; his skin slathered in her Estee Lauder and he was put on the diet of his life, losing 22lb under her encouraging direction.
Her Cotswolds friends say that 48-year-old Hurley initially relished dating a younger, world-famous man, but it has been suggested that they shared insufficient interests and she has occasionally found his behaviour to be unsophisticated.
A friend says: ‘Shane would prefer having a “tear-up” in the pub than hanging about the countryside with Liz. She has become fed up with him behaving like a child.’
For her part, Hurley can be difficult, too. Hugh Grant, her boyfriend for more than a decade, once observed that she was a high-maintenance consort who has a ‘terrible temper’.
Hurley and Warne were first linked after they were seen chatting at the Glorious Goodwood Festival. Over the next few months, they exchanged a number of flirty text messages on Twitter. They were then photographed kissing in a London hotel, before Hurley announced on Twitter (of course) that her marriage was over.
After getting engaged two years ago, the unlikely PR-hungry couple made plans to marry last winter in Scotland. But the wedding never took place.
Then they agreed to have two weddings this year — one in England and another in Australia. But the idea was shelved.
Liz’s closest confidantes, the designer Patrick Cox and Elton John’s film-maker partner David Furnish, have heard her complain that Warne was resisting commitment.
There were whispers, too, that the ex-cricketer isn’t quite as wealthy as she would like — there weren’t the private jets that she’d enjoyed while dating Steve Bing.
Despite his string of flash cars and a big house in Melbourne, she often ends up having to pay their bills.
But what has caused this reported sudden rift?
Unsurprisingly, given Warne’s track record, there are rumours that he has been unfaithful. Although there is no evidence, he was accused of sending saucy messages to a porn star (with whom he had allegedly had sex before he met Hurley). The woman, Kimberly Conrad, said that she had suffered carpet burns after some enthusiastic love-making with him.
The 26-year-old said: ‘If Liz thinks he has changed, she is sorely mistaken.’ Such embarrassments continued when, three months after Hurley and Warne began dating, he was reported to have sent saucy texts to a glamorous Melbourne woman, Adele Angeleri.
It has to be said that this would be par for the course for Warne, who was caught cheating by his long-suffering then wife, Simone, after he sent a sexy text intended for a girlfriend to her by mistake in 2007.
His biographer, Paul Barry, reckons that Warne bedded up to 1,000 women during his 15-year marriage, which ended in 2010. These include a British nurse, who received X-rated texts and voicemails, and a secretary who allegedly had a four-month affair with him.
Most unsavourily, Warne was also videoed enjoying himself with two models and a large inflatable phallus.
Certainly, any hint of a repetition of such antics would explain a sudden change of heart by Hurley.
To be fair to the couple, they confounded many cynics by falling deeply in love — when, at first, it was widely assumed that what was going on was merely a fling.
Both endured gruelling 23-hour flights to meet up, but neither has been willing to relocate to the other’s country full time because of their respective children.
Nevertheless, Warne made an effort to charm Hurley’s 11-year-old son, Damian, while she grew close to Shane’s children, Brooke, 15, Summer, 13, and Jackson, ten — even calling herself ‘Mummy 2’.
They took ‘Brady Bunch’-style holidays with all the children. It was quite an undertaking, and not what Hurley was used to.
When the Basingstoke-born actress bought a £6 million home in Herefordshire last year, she set about restoring the property and enlisted her lover’s advice on how to manage the 200 acres, 13 bedrooms and 12 stables.
But he preferred a different lifestyle of cricket and games of poker — and was not much bothered about the flock of sheep and alpacas.
Hurley may have succeeded in turning Warne into a metrosexual piece of arm candy, with perfectly dyed strawberry-blond hair, but it seems she just couldn’t manage to get him to the altar. - Daily Mail