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The actress and her "lionheart": Looking back on Shane Warne and Liz Hurley's three-year romance before his tragic death

''I believed it had a future – it wasn't just a bit of fun.''

By Faye Couros
When legendary cricketer Shane Warne suddenly died on March 4, 2022, and tributes began to flood in, all eyes turned to his former love Elizabeth Hurley.
The pair enjoyed a whirlwind love story that seemed to be a thing of Hollywood fairytales, starring an Australian sporting icon falling in love with a stunning British actress.
Though their romance didn't last, Liz's affection and respect for Wayne certainly did and it was more present than ever when she paid tribute to the late star in the days after his death.
"I feel like the sun has gone behind a cloud forever. RIP my beloved Lionheart @shanewarne23," she penned on Instagram alongside a series of tender photos together.

And a week later she returned to social media to send her love and condolences to Shane's two daughters, Brooke and Summer Warne.
Liz had grown close to the girls during her romance with their father, as Shane had grown close to her son Damian, and the actress dedicated International Women's Day 2022 to "brave, beautiful" daughters.
"I love you both so much and have the happiest memories of our times together. Your daddy loved you with all his heart," she wrote alongside photos with them and Shane.
The tributes continued to flow as Shane was laid to rest in a private funeral at home in Australia, and though Liz couldn't attend she made her heartache known.
Liz with Shane and his eldest daughter Brooke. (Image: Instagram)
Taking to Instagram with three photos from their engagement in Sri Lanka in 2011, captioning them: "My heart aches that I can't be in Australia tomorrow for Shane's funeral. I was filming last night and, with the time jump, physically can't get there.
"It still hasn't really sunk in that he's gone. It seems too cruel that all the people who loved him will never have another Lion hug, but our memories will live forever. RIP Lionheart, with love your Luna."
The unlikely pair met at the races in July 2010 and when pictures surfaced of them kissing in London soon after, their love became official to the world.
Fans of the actress and cricket star revelled in their flirty Twitter exchanges, including a particularly sweet one where Liz tweeted, "Oooh … you're such a caveman. My beautiful baby spaniel is undoubtedly better behaved than you."
The couple were together for three years. (Image: Getty)
Shane cheekily responded, "Excuse me Elizabeth I'm a very well behaved gentleman! Caveman?? What's that mean? We have TV here in Australia! Hahaha."
From there, the romance moved quickly as they embraced life together - including plenty of time with their respective children - and the pair eventually got engaged in 2011.
Unfortunately, Shane and Liz's romance came to an end in 2013 when they broke off their engagement, but their separation caused no animosity between the friendly exes.
In an interview with The Mirror, the sporting legend revealed his years with Liz "were the happiest of (his) life," and they simply grew apart.
"It wasn't something that she or I did wrong, it just fizzled out. We're still great friends, we still stay in touch, we're good for each other, and our kids get along great," he said.
They remained friends after their break up. (Image: Getty)
His son Jackson, 22, confirmed they "still kept in touch" with Liz, sharing, "Whether it'd be commenting on Instagram or messaging or congratulating, they're [the Hurleys] super supportive."
During Shane's show A Week With Warnie in 2020, the cricketer spoke highly of his ex-fiancée, revealing that he was "quite sad it's over" because Liz is a wonderful person he still "cares about deeply".
"I didn't introduce her to my children until it was real, and I believed it had a future – it wasn't just a bit of fun," Shane continued.
Sadly, their relationship affected by the media circus that surrounded it, which Shane commented on during the show.
"I suppose it was the sporting world meeting her world… It was one of those things where we just collided," he said.
WATCH: Shane Warne opens up on I'm A Celeb... Story continues after video.
The shocking news of Shane's death was announced through a statement from his management in early March 2022.
"Shane was found unresponsive in his villa and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he could not be revived," it read, asking for privacy for the late cricketer's family.
It was later confirmed that the 52-year-old had died from a heart attack while in Thailand with friends, and his body was returned to Australia for burial.
He was laid to rest in a private ceremony with family on March 20, with public memorials at the MCG and SCG following on March 30.
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