When Liz Hurley was dogged by rumours of an affair with American actor and comedian Denis Leary, the co-stars were quick to insist they were ‘just good friends’.
Now, a novel written by Leary’s wife has revived the rumours, with one character appearing to be a thinly-disguised version of the Estee Lauder model.
Ann Leary’s book Out-Takes From A Marriage features a glamorous actress who wears skimpy see-through dresses to parties, dates only billionaires and flirts outrageously with her co-star.
Co-stars: Denis Leary and Liz Hurley, pictured in 2001, were rumoured to have been having an affair
Ms Hurley famously wore a revealing Versace safety-pin dress to the premiere of Four Weddings And A Funeral and later had a son with billionaire Steve Bing.
There were reports of an ‘intimate dinner’ she had with Leary in 2001 after her break-up with Bing. Now she is married to Indian businessman Arun Nayar - worth a comparatively modest £13million.
Mrs Leary, who remains happily married to her husband of 19 years, insists that any similarity between her novel’s character and her ‘good friend Elizabeth’ is entirely coincidental.
Married: Denis Leary with his author wife Ann, whose new book 'is a thinly disguised stab' at man-eater Hurley
But she has admitted using her experiences as the wife of a celebrity in her novel - Leary has even accompanied her to book signings.
In the story, Julia Ferraro accidentally finds a suggestive voicemail message from a woman left for her husband Joe, a TV actor. Julia stalks Joe to discover who the woman is and finds several candidates including Susanna Mercer, an Australian actress.
At first, Julia rules out Susanna but then the actress invites the couple to a party at her home. Mrs Leary writes how Susanna wears a see-through dress showing off her ‘flawless’ body and ‘firmly uplifted breasts’.
Revealing: Liz shows off her figure in a plunging dress. The actress in Ann Leary's new book also likes to wear skimpy frocks
When the wife visits the two actors filming in Mexico, she discovers Susanna has persuaded her husband to go on a carb-free diet. Ms Hurley, 43, went on a similar diet before her wedding last year to Nayar.
Leary, 50, is one of Ms Hurley’s closest friends and is godfather to her six-year-old son Damian. He helped her get roles in two films they starred in together – Bad Boy and Double Whammy.
He has spoken fondly of their long nights chatting in Manhattan bars. He said: ‘Mutual friends kept saying, “You guys should hook up, you’d get on really well”. The truth is, she’s got a lot of Irish blood in her, like a lot of the girls I grew up with, and the first time we met, we ended up in one of my favourite Irish bars in New York, talking music trivia.’
Mrs Leary, 46, said in a recent interview that the fictional couple were not based on her and her husband.
However the actor, Joe, is nominated for a TV award, just like her husband who has been up for two Emmys. And Susanna runs her own film production company – just like Ms Hurley’s Simian Films.
Mrs Leary told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I can see how people would think I was talking about our dear friend Elizabeth. But in fact Susanna was a small character I created, who was not based on Elizabeth Hurley at all.’
Neither Mr Leary nor Ms Hurley had any comment to make.
Liz Hurley has been married to Indian businessman Arun Nayar since March 2007
How the book describes the glamorous movie star who's not Liz Hurley...
'Her flimsy gown was eyecatching. A body that appeared flawless and was plainly visible to all.'
'Her breasts managed to stay uplifted without the benefit of a bra.'
'She will only date billionaires... She has her own film company.'
Liz Hurley and my husband... by wife of the co-star she got close to | Mail Online