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Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant on how they stayed friends after their break-up

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Kayleigh Dray
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Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant are the rare exes that seem to have maintained a genuine friendship after a very public break-up – so how have they managed it?

Elizabeth Hurley dated Hugh Grant from 1987 to 2000 in what was easily one of the era’s most beloved celebrity romances.

However, the pair split eight years into their romance, after Grant was arrested in Los Angeles for lewd conduct with a prostitute. At the time, the Notting Hill star was quick to release a statement of regret, saying: “Last night I did something completely insane. I have hurt people I love and embarrassed people I work with. For both things I am more sorry than I can ever possibly say.”

Since then, though, he and Hurley have remained firm friends – so much so that Grant is the godfather of Hurley’s son, Damian.

Now, in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview, Grant has labelled himself an “idiot” for his past behaviour.

“I was just an idiot. I didn’t try to say, ‘I’ve got this psychological problem.’ I just said, ‘I did it,’” said the Paddington 2 star.

When asked how he and Hurley had managed to maintain such a genuine friendship in spite of their highly-publicised split, Grant said: “We’re like brother and sister.”

He continued: “I think it’s partly because we went from zero to somewhere together, and we went through terrible years at the beginning when neither of us had any work, living in a tiny flat.

“It was quite bonding.”

Hurley has since reacted to Grant’s comments, telling E! News: “I didn’t know he said that… although I mean he is, of course, an idiot.

“I’m very lucky that 31 years into our friendship, he’s still my best friend in the world. He’s a really great guy. Yeah, I see him a lot, I speak to him a lot. You know, he’s now a father of five, he has five kids and he’s a great dad.

“He’ll remain my best friend for life.”

The Gossip Girl star previously revealed the real reason she decided to end her relationship with Grant, explaining to Andy Cohen that it had nothing to do with the sex worker scandal.

“He used to really annoy me,” she said simply.

Explaining that she found his mood swings hard to deal with, Hurley added: “I love him, but he’s very annoying….

“My friends used to call him Grumpelstiltskin.”

While Hurley and Grant’s friendship clearly works for them, this is, of course, not the case for everyone. If you want to stay friends with an ex-partner, you should examine why you want that, says Lindsey Rodriguez, assistant professor of psychology at the University of South Florida and lead researcher on the study.

“Generally, this research shows that communication with former partners is not universally good or bad for current relationships. The important factor is why the person continues to communicate with the former partner,” Rodriguez told Broadly.

“It is possible to continue to stay friends with an ex for purely platonic reasons, and that can be inconsequential or positive for the current relationship.”

However, she adds that maintaining contact with an ex can make it difficult to truly move on. “Many people find themselves ‘stuck’ on former partners or unable to really break away from the idea of a relationship with them,” she says. “When this happens, they experience higher rates of depression and anxiety, and are less likely to find themselves in a healthy new relationship.”

“As our research and previous work shows,” Rodriguez concludes, “there are real consequences for those who do continue to communicate, both for themselves and their new relationship.”

Image: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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