- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 2, 2001

It's not quite right to call the following a morality tale. Besides the fact that extracting a moral at this point in the story would be a dicey enterprise, it's unclear that the players would know exactly what to do with it. So, here goes.
This story, still a-hatching, could end up going one of two ways: Either an unmarried girl is "in trouble" and her man is a cad, or a wily female has "entrapped" an unwitting male worm who, much to her consternation, has turned. Either way, the New York Post's headline humanitarians recently got the gist of the matter across with "Pregnant Hurley's ex-lover: Prove it." That indelicate command is reportedly the challenge American billionaire and movie producer Stephen Bing put to Elizabeth Hurley after the British model-actress and movie producer announced she was expecting a child in April with her ex-boyfriend, Mr. Bing.
At this point in the 21st century, the unwed status of either "partner" is not at issue. Despite prevailing attitudes of enlightenment on wedlock, however, there are implications to the case that don't just hinge on the clinical outcome of an all-but-inevitable paternity test. The fact is, Mr. Bing's reported skepticism is being written up by the tabloids as a gross humiliation for the woman in question a "sudden slap," says the New York Post, a "shattering insult," says London's News of the World, which broke the story. Such reactions, natural enough from within a traditional framework, would seem to defy postmodern conventions of, well, unconventionality.
Anyway, actor Hugh Grant, Miss Hurley's former squeeze and no stranger to embarrassing publicity himself, has ridden in to play Galahad. According to "a friend of Liz" quoted in the London tabloid, Mr. Grant has pledged "his unconditional support during her pregnancy." And more. "Basically," the friend added, "Hugh would marry her at the drop of a hat if she wanted."
Miss Hurley, it seems, could do worse than "unconditional" support during a pregnancy. Then again, maybe she could do better than marriage "at the drop of a hat." As for Mr. Bing, it's sounds as if it's a good thing that he and Miss Hurley now communicate only through their lawyers. Too bad they didn't think of that sooner. Meanwhile, the moral of this story will just have to wait until the lady makes up her mind.

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