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Arun Nayar - Biography

The businessman was married to actress Elizabeth Hurley

Arun Nayar smiling in a close up photo
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Who is Arun Nayar?

Arun Nayar is an international businessman and entrepreneur behind the technology company Direction Software Solutions. The CEO remains in the public eye for his involvement in celebrity social circles. He was previously married to actress Liz Hurley, Italian model Valentina Pedroni and model/personal trainer Kim Johnson.

Arun Nayar posing in a full length photo© David M. Benett
Arun is a celebrity businessman

 He holds a B.Sc. degree from Oxford University in Physics, as well as a Masters degree in Physics from Imperial College. He is estimated to have a net worth of around $200 million and can speak four languages fluently.

Childhood and education

Arun was not, as commonly believed, born into the Mumbai aristocracy, but rather spent his early years on a Leeds council estate. Born in December 1964 to Gunnar, his German-born mother, and Vinod, his Indian father - who was studying at the local university, the family moved to India shortly after the birth of Arun's younger brother Nikhil.

Following his parent's separation, both boys lived with their mother, who founded an enormously successful textiles firm in Mumbai that boomed in the 1970s. The family's new-found wealth enabled Gunnar to send her children to the exclusive Cathedral and John Connon School, where the cheeky young Arun was constantly playing practical jokes.

Arun's mischievous behavior in Mumbai resulted in the 16-year-old being sent back to England, to attend the prestigious Millfield boarding school. The strict education and emphasis on sports, at which Arun excelled, obviously set the teenager on the straight and narrow, and the naturally bright student earned a place to study physics at Oxford. Fluent in English, Hindi, German and Italian, Arun went on to gain a Masters degree in physics at Imperial College, London, before returning to India to work in the family textiles business.

Early career

The young, businessman certainly enjoyed his youth working in Mumbai, becoming a regular on the city's glamorous social scene and earning himself a jet-set reputation with holidays in St Tropez and St Moritz and houses in France, Germany and London.

Marriage to Valentina Pedroni

In 1991 Arun met an Italian model in St Moritz, Valentina Pedroni, who he married in 1997. "Arun was handsome and enchanting," she later recalled. "He knows how to speak to a woman, and how to be sweet. He was irresistible, and I fell in love straight away." The pair enjoyed a seemingly perfect relationship, with a glamorous life among Mumbai's glitterati, but they began leading increasingly separate lives with Valentina spending time abroad and Arun devoting much time to his computer business, Direction Software Solutions.

The couple separated in 2002 and soon after Arun found himself suddenly in the spotlight when he met and fell in love with Elizabeth Hurley. 

Marriage to Elizabeth Hurley

London-based financier Alessandro Tome introduced Arun and Elizabeth over dinner and they were seen in public for the first time in January 2003 at a Christian Dior fashion show in Paris.

Arun Nayar and Elizabeth Hurley© Niki Nikolova
Arun had a high-profile relationship with Elizabeth Hurley

Despite a difficult and lengthy divorce, Arun was declared free to remarry in November 2005, and he and Elizabeth began planning their extravagant nuptials. The couple held two lavish wedding ceremonies - one in England, one in India.

The pair lived between London and a country house in the Cotswolds, with Elizabeth's son Damian from a former relationship, where Arun admitted that rural life suits him. "I'll take Damian out on the tractor while Elizabeth cooks," he said. "It's a bit like the Waltons."

elizabeth hurley arun nayar with Damian Hurley© Photo: Instagram
Arun has a very special bond with Elizabeth's son Damian

Arun was said to be "devastated" by the breakdown of his marriage, which was exposed in a tabloid newspaper in December 2010. It was widely reported the couple were set to divorce, though the dignified tycoon refused to comment on the rumours surrounding their split.

Marriage to Kim Johnson

The following year, Arun was introduced to model and personal trainer Kim Johnson at a jewelry launch in September. Their whirlwind relationship led to marriage less than a year later. The happy couple hosted a star-studded wedding in the French Riviera on 29th July, followed by nuptials the next day. 

Arun and his wife Kim © David M. Benett
Arun and his wife Kim

Sadly for Arun, this marriage was not to last with the couple divorcing less than a year later. Speaking to the Daily Mail in August 2017, modelling agent Christophe Chalvet confirmed the sad news. "They separated three months ago. It is very sad. Kim had wanted to marry Arun for a long time."

Whilst only rumoured, it is said that Arun and Elizabeth Hurley's past relationship loomed over his marriage with Kim. The pair were pictured sharing dinner together in March 2019 at Annabel's in London, sparking speculation that perhaps the iconic duo might one day reunite.

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