Until now it had been thought that, for all her beauty, Meghan had been linked to only a handful of men. Picture: AP

London - For any girl on the eve of her wedding it would be a shattering blow, from which recovery would be painful.

For Meghan Markle, eight days before she marries Prince Harry in front of the Queen and the Royal Family and not forgetting a global TV audience of millions, the agony must be even more acute.

On Thursday she awoke to learn details had emerged of a gallery of men she is said to have dated - all of whose identities, until now, she had managed to keep hidden.

But for the presence of one individual, their identity might have barely caused a ripple - after all if a woman of 36 hadn’t had a boyfriend or two, people might have wondered what on earth was wrong with her.

Yet amid the chiselled ex-actors and sports stars who are reportedly former beaux, the figure of Simon Rex stands out.

Posing languidly stretched out naked on a bearskin rug, an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth and with only a puppy to hide his modesty, he seems an unlikely suitor in the life of the poised young woman who next week will become Her Royal Highness and daughter-in-law to the Prince of Wales.

While the photo alone must be embarrassing enough, it is the back story of the model-turned actor, who made his name in the Scary Movie franchise, that really adds to her humiliation.

READ: Meghan Markle's getting pre-wedding jitters - report

For Rex - born Simon Rex Cutright and now a 43-year-old comedian and rapper using the name Dirt Nasty - is a former star of "adult" films, the Hollywood euphemism for porn movies.

His first three films were "aimed" at the gay market. Indeed, he claims to have won an award for Best Gay Solo Video in 1997. Rex uses the reclining naked photograph on his Twitter home page where he also likes to post crude jokes. In a reference to engagement rings, he wrote the other day: "The bigger the diamond, the smaller the d***."

Simon Rex made his name in the Scary Movie franchise.

All in all, he seems the unlikeliest of romances for Ms Markle. But according to the Sun newspaper, the two enjoyed a date in 2004 when Meghan was 22 and taking her very first steps as a professional actress with walk-on parts in daytime television.

The disclosures have come from Ninaki Priddy, once an inseparable friend of Meghan to whom she had been "like a sister". But their relationship is long over. Since Meghan’s engagement to Harry she has spilled just about every intimate bean of their 30-year friendship.

Until now it had been thought that, for all her beauty, Meghan had been linked to only a handful of men, apart from her former husband, film producer Trevor Engelson and the Canadian chef who replaced him in her affections.

Shaun Zaken was an actor and screenwriter with whom she enjoyed a six-month romance in 2003. Both had attended Northwestern and had ambitions to act. Shaun, now 38 and who played a waiter in an episode of Sex And The City, would rehearse his audition lines with her.

According to the Sun they split up because he would not make the commitment she wanted.

After Zaken, Meghan is said to have dated another actor and writer called Brett Ryland. They were together for five months, but he was said not to possess the "kind of bravado or high profile she was looking for".