A few days earlier than his father took his personal life, the topic of suicide prevention was a lot on Damian Hurley’s thoughts.
The 18-year-old son of actress, mannequin and businesswoman Elizabeth Hurley got here along with others final weekend to recollect an in depth good friend who killed herself at her household’s West London residence a 12 months in the past.
Final Saturday, an 18km socially-distanced stroll was held in reminiscence of Katya Tsukanova, a 17-year-old violinist and Russian banker’s daughter, to boost cash for a psychological well being and suicide prevention charity.
However days after supporting the fundraiser through his social media pages got here the devastating information that Damian’s personal father, 55-year-old American tycoon and movie producer Steve Bing, had died after falling from the balcony his 27th-floor house in Los Angeles.
‘It’s a double tragedy for Damian,’ one among his circle advised me this week. ‘Simply as he was remembering his good friend Katya and selling psychological well being charities, his personal father takes his personal life. It’s so, so unhappy for him however he’s surrounded by individuals who love him and care about him.’
Posting on Instagram, Damian, an expert mannequin, additionally mirrored on what he described as ‘a really unusual and complicated time’. Definitely, it have to be very tough navigating your method by way of the dying of a father you’d had little or no reference to in life.
However what makes the state of affairs much more poignant is that, because the Mail can reveal, for the previous 12 months, Steve Bing had been mourning a tragic lack of his personal — that of his 28-year-old girlfriend, actress Allexanne Mitchum, great-granddaughter of legendary Hollywood actor Robert Mitchum. He killed himself days earlier than the primary anniversary of her dying on July 3.
The reason for Allexanne’s dying just isn’t identified, however she was Bing’s ‘real love’, in response to a Fb put up from his good friend Judith Coghlan Lewis, spouse of singer Jerry Lee Lewis.
Pictures present a proud, relaxed-looking Bing together with his arm protectively round petite brunette Allexanne, each of them beaming. Allexanne’s aunt Carrie Mitchum additionally posted a tribute to the pair this week with the phrases ‘Collectively once more. Relaxation simple angels.’
Alongside a photograph of the smart-looking couple, she commented that Allexanne was about the one one who might persuade Bing, an inveterate T-shirt wearer, to placed on a go well with.
After many years of playboy high-jinks, it appears Bing might have lastly discovered a girl he might calm down with, just for that relationship to be delivered to a tragically untimely finish.
Whereas Bing’s giant U.S. circle grieve for his or her good friend, for Damian, his dad’s premature dying on Monday is made extra difficult by the truth that proper from the beginning of his life — virtually from the second his well-known mom introduced that she was pregnant in 2001 — the connection between father and son has been mired in controversy.
Bing, who inherited a $600 million property empire on the age of 18, initially refused to simply accept that he was Damian’s father.
However in latest instances it seems that there was a sea-change in his perspective in the direction of his solely son. Two years in the past, he joined forces with 55-year-old Hurley to cease his personal father slicing Damian out of an enormous household belief fund, and in April this 12 months he telephoned Hurley on Damian’s 18th birthday.
In a press release this week, Hurley stated that ‘though there have been some robust instances, the recollections of a candy, type man are what matter. We turned shut once more within the final 12 months and final spoke on our son’s 18th. That is devastating information.’
This softening in the direction of his son, and the potential for the connection which may have opened up between them, undoubtedly provides one other layer of unhappiness to Bing’s suicide on Monday night time.
But when Damian Hurley’s relationship together with his father has been a fancy one, the fixed presence in his life has undoubtedly been his mom who, proper from the beginning, fought like a lioness for her longed-for baby.
Elizabeth Hurley was 36 when she fell pregnant — purportedly whereas staying with Bing at Elton John and David Furnish’s villa within the South of France in the summertime of 2001.
Up till that time, their 18-month romance had been considerably on and off. At its peak, Bing lavished Hurley with a gold Rolex watch and a sapphire and diamond ring whereas she was staying on the luxurious suite he stored on the Resort Bel-Air in Los Angeles.
However on the identical day, Hurley introduced she was anticipating their baby, Bing is claimed to have jumped on a airplane together with his good friend Mick Jagger for a weekend in Las Vegas. (Bing’s friendship with the Rolling Stones endured.
Carrie Mitchum this week posted an image on Fb of Bing and Allexanne with Ronnie Wooden and his spouse Sally after a Stones live performance final 12 months, including that Bing stated ‘he had by no means introduced a girl to fulfill these buddies they usually knew how severe it was’.)
His buddies later defended him by saying that he and Hurley hadn’t been in an ‘unique relationship’.
Bing, in the meantime, publicly introduced it was ‘her option to be a single mom’.
It was actor Hugh Grant, essentially the most well-known of Liz Hurley’s ex-boyfriends and nonetheless one among her closest buddies, who was current at her first ante-natal scan at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital in North-West London and went on to grow to be Damian’s godfather.
After his beginning on the personal Portland Hospital in April 2002, he and his mom went to remain on the Windsor mansion belonging to Elton John — one other of Damian’s godparents together with Elton’s husband David Furnish.
Whereas Bing might need initially denied paternity, a DNA check proved in any other case. He’s stated to have flown to London and supplied a swab on the tarmac at Heathrow earlier than re-boarding his airplane and returning to the U. S.
When the outcome was revealed, he was lastly compelled to simply accept the reality, though Hurley is claimed to have initially turned down gives of economic help.
However only a month after Damian’s beginning, Bing was caught up in one other paternity scandal — this time accused by 84-year-old Armenian-American billionaire Kirk Kerkorian of being the actual father of his four-year-daughter Kira with skilled tennis participant Lisa Bonder.
Kerkorian claimed to have gained DNA proof after his personal detective rummaged by way of Bing’s garbage bins and retrieved a chunk of dental floss. Whereas Bing efficiently sued for invasion of privateness, a court docket dominated he was her father.
This week, 54-year-old Lisa Bonder spoke of the tragedy inflicted on each her daughter Kira, now a college pupil at UCLA — and on Hurley’s son by the sudden dying of Steve Bing.
‘It’s by no means simple for a kid to lose a dad or mum in such a tragic method,’ she stated on Wednesday. ‘I spoke to Elizabeth final night time and we’re going to deal with this tragedy for Steve’s two kids and attempt to shield them in any method attainable.
‘We’ll do all the pieces in our energy and ensure they’re supported. It’s a tricky time for them. Liz and I are as one on that.’
Intriguingly, it seems that Bing had grown nearer to his illegitimate daughter in recent times.
‘I had a variety of contact with Steve and Kira did too,’ Lisa added. ‘We’ve been rising a lot nearer over the previous two years. I feel all of us develop up and mature and take duty for our personal lives and our personal selections and let bygones be bygones.
‘Steve was a very good individual, a form individual, a very good man. He was misunderstood in some ways. And we determined to come back collectively for the sake of our daughter. I’ve gratitude for the time that we had with Steve. There have been many pivotal moments for our daughter.’ It’s not identified whether or not the identical might be stated for Damian.
But it surely’s definitely the case that in 2019 he and Hurley joined forces to make sure that Damian — and his older half-sister — couldn’t be reduce out of a household belief.
Bing’s personal father — Dr Peter Bing — was attempting to make sure that his son’s two illegitimate kids might by no means profit from the household belief he arrange 40 years in the past to guard the fortune created within the 1920s by his personal father, New York actual property developer Leo Bing.
In 1980, Dr Bing had established six trusts for the advantage of his future grandchildren and, as a result of they have been but to be born, recognized them as ‘first-born grandchild’, ‘second-born grandchild’ — all the way in which to the ‘sixth-born grandchild’.
His daughter Mary went on to have two kids born in wedlock however Dr Bing claimed that as a result of his son’s kids have been illegitimate and hadn’t been raised by him, they have been excluded from inheriting any of the trusts.
‘I don’t take into account them my grandchildren,’ he declared in authorized paperwork offered at court docket.
In January this 12 months, nonetheless, a Californian choose backed Bing and Hurley, declaring that Dr Bing’s argument was ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unfounded’.
Whereas the precise worth of the trusts is unknown, each Damian and Kira are every stated to be in line to inherit a number of million kilos though, in response to paperwork, on the time of the authorized motion final 12 months, Bing and Damian had by no means met.
What then of Steve Bing’s personal private fortune? It’s too quickly to know if he has additionally favoured his son in any will however, throughout his lifetime, he’s believed to have paid £100,000 a 12 months into his personal belief fund for Damian.
As for the remainder of his fortune, Bing definitely squandered lots on a decadent life-style. In his youth, he loved nights out at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion and showered $100 payments on Las Vegas strippers.
For a number of years, he flew across the States on his privately-owned Boeing jet. In his 20s, he spent 9 years dwelling on the Resort Bel-Air in Los Angeles, clocking up a closing invoice which bumped into thousands and thousands.
In addition to investing large swathes of money within the movie trade — he invested $80 million within the 2004 Tom Hanks movie, The Polar Categorical — he gave away additional thousands and thousands to liberal causes, together with $49 million to an alternate fuels initiative.
There have been stories that his cash had run out however, regardless of some unsuccessful enterprise offers, all of the proof factors to him nonetheless being a really rich man.
He was additionally, in response to buddies who spoke to the Mail, a prolific drug taker. Added to that have been his psychological well being issues. Bing, an in depth singer good friend advised the Mail this week, had advised her he was affected by bipolar dysfunction.
‘In the event you’ve received a psychological sickness and also you add medicine to it, that’s a Molotov cocktail,’ she stated. ‘Lots of people knew he was damaged,’ she added, saying that not everybody was stunned by his suicide — though shocked by the horrifying method he selected to finish his life.
‘I feel Steve was looking for one thing and he was looking out within the mistaken route,’ she stated, referring to his drug use. ‘He was attempting to fill a gap in his life. In a method he was self-medicating, however medicine don’t remedy issues.’
Lockdown, she stated, might nicely have exacerbated his anguish.
‘I don’t assume Steve wished to face himself that a lot. I feel he was tormented and hadn’t discovered a method or an individual that might lead him out of it.’
Some children might need struggled to manage with no father of their life however, due to Hurley’s dedication as a mom, a military of godfathers and the help of her close-knit household, it’s clear that Damian has had essentially the most loving, and financially comfy, of upbringings.
Over the previous 30 years, Hurley has accrued a wholesome fortune of her personal. She turned the face of Estée Lauder in 1995 — and remains to be a spokesperson for the model. She ran a movie firm, Simian Movies with Hugh Grant, and, whereas her appearing profession by no means hit the heights, starred in movies akin to Austin Powers: Worldwide Man Of Thriller.
From 2015 to 2018, she appeared in 40 episodes of the U.S. comedy The Royals through which Damian additionally appeared.
She promotes her personal swimwear vary by exhibiting off her designs on her personal age-defying physique. House is a shocking £6 million Georgian property in Herefordshire the place she now lives with Damian. Her mom Angela and sister Kate reside in cottages on the property.
Damian loved a personal training, first at Wetherby Prep in West London — the place Princes William and Harry have been as soon as pupils — then Summer season Fields in Oxford and at last Wellington Faculty in Berkshire.
Now 6 ft 1 in, and having inherited his mom’s beautiful seems to be, he’s signed to his mom’s modelling company, and have become an in a single day sensation final July when his face was plastered throughout billboards for the launch of make-up artist Pat McGrath’s new basis line.
Reflecting at the start of 2020 on the earlier 12 months, he posted a cluster of pictures on Instagram, together with one among his modelling debut and one among his pricey good friend Katya who he’s believed to have met through the West London personal college social circuit.
‘The previous 12 months has been an odd mixture of occasions — each unbelievably unimaginable and indescribably difficult,’ he wrote.
‘While I’ve achieved a lot that I’m pleased with, my buddies and I’ve all additionally been by way of issues that I sincerely hope we’ll by no means must expertise once more.’
His father’s dying is yet one more bitter blow however, locked down together with his household within the wilds of Herefordshire, he’s undoubtedly in the suitable place to cope with his loss.
Further reporting: Barbara McMahon