As Diana and the Egyptian billionaire's relationship is shown on screen in The Crown season 5, audiences want to know who was Dodi Fayed's girlfriend before Diana?
Netflix's top performing royal series has returned to screens for another season and unsurprisingly smashed streaming figures. Following on from the drama that unfolded in season 4, the current series sees the continued decline in Diana and Charles' relationship. And of course season 5 brings with it the moment that Dodi Al Fayed meets Diana (opens in new tab) - a pivotal one setting off the real-life events that led to their relationship and the death of Princess Diana (opens in new tab).
Alongside interest in the actress playing Diana in The Crown (opens in new tab) is questions around Dodi Fayed's girlfriend before Diana - who makes an appearance in the very last episode. The lady in question caused quite a media frenzy at the time for suggesting that her late boyfriend was getting cosy with Diana whilst the two were still together. We share who she is, plus which actress portrays her in The Crown.
Who was Dodi Fayed's girlfriend before Diana?
Dodi Fayed was dating American model Kelly Fisher before his relationship with Diana. According to Fisher, the two were engaged and had been together for two years, having bought a home together in Malibu, California.
Kelly claims that she learnt of Dodi and Diana's romance whilst holidaying on one of his family's yachts in St Tropez, France. She additionally alleges he dumped her via phone call on the same day that Dodi and the royal's relationship was reported by the press. This phone call was recorded by Fisher and later played at a 2007 inquest into Diana's death.
The model went on to accuse Fayed of two-timing her and Diana at the same time in an interview with the now defunct News of the World - for which she was paid around £200,000. She told the newspaper how he allegedly juggled seeing both at the same time: "He'd reappear more than four or five hours later without explanation - other than that his father needed him. I now know that it was at that time he was romancing Diana."
A heartbroken Kelly was set to sue Dodi for the end of their relationship in 1997, but dropped the lawsuit following Dodi and Diana's death.
"Kelly suffered greatly because of the break up with Mr Fayed," said Fisher's attorney Gloria Allred. "She was engaged to him, and they had planned to marry August 9th 1997. Kelly loved Dodi very much, and she is devastated by his loss, and that of Princess Diana. Nothing is more important than the life of a human being. In the light of this enormous tragedy, Kelly forgives Dodi for all of his past injustices against her."
According to AP (opens in new tab), Fisher claimed Fayed had offered her half a million dollars to reduce her work commitments so that she could spend more time with him - but only received $60,000. The lawsuit was suing for breach of contract, asking for a sum of $440,000.
Of course, it's worth noting that we only know one side to the story due to the tragic deaths of Dodi and Diana in August 1997. Nevertheless, in the transcript from the phone call recording (opens in new tab) between Dodi and Fisher - played in court in 2007 - the Egyptian billionare was noted saying: "Will you stop it? We broke up, Kelly".
A Fayed family spokesman at the time also denied that Fayed ever promised to marry Fisher. Whilst Dodi Al Fayed’s ex-wife Suzanne Gregard has also questioned Fisher's account. In an interview with the Irish Times (opens in new tab) after his death, she said: "Kelly told me, 'I’ve broken up with him, I’ve had enough'".
Like Diana, Dodi was a one-time divorcee. He wed model Suzanne Gregard in 1986, but the couple divorced just eight months after their nuptials.
Where is Kelly Fisher now?
According to the Express, Kelly Fisher is now married to Russian pilot Mikhail Movshina and resides in Aiken, South Carolina. The couple welcomed a daughter together in 2011 called Alexandra Grace.
Fisher met Movshina met in 2007 while the two were on safari in the Central African Republic. They spent the early years of their relationship in Paris and the French Alps, and only moved to America when Fisher learnt she was expecting.
In a 2014 interview with Aiken Woman (opens in new tab), Fisher revealed that the US move was to prioritise being close to her parents.
"After traveling so much, being close to family is important," she said. "In 2005, my parents retired here [to Aiken] for the beautiful weather and great golf. I had visited them often at Woodside Plantation and loved the small town charm of Aiken. In 2008 I bought a house here as a vacation home. After learning I was pregnant in 2010 we decided to move here."
The family also owns a 1976 octagonal-shaped treehouse-style home on Hilton Head island - according to Hilton Head Monthly (opens in new tab).
The model was 30 when she gave her interview to the News of The World in 1997, which makes her around 55-years-old today.
Who plays Dodi Fayed's girlfriend Kelly Fisher in The Crown?
Kelly Fisher is played by British actress Erin Richards in The Crown. The 36-year-old appears as the American model in the last episode of season 5 titled Decommissioned. She is also expected to return as Fisher in season 6.
In The Crown, she's introduced as Kelly and referred to as a swimwear model. But it's suggested she's an actress too, with one scene showing Kelly rehearse lines with Dodi.
The Welsh actress is best known for appearing in the shows Gotham as Barbara Kean and Breaking In as Molly Hughes. She also had a role in the BBC series Merlin in 2012.
Aside from acting, Richards also co-hosts the podcast Not Not Trying (opens in new tab) with Tara Bethan which is described as navigating "the weird and wonderful world of baby making in your late 30’s". Erin confirmed she is expecting her first child whilst walking the red carpet at The Crown season 5 premiere in London.
Dodi Fayed: Relationship history
Prior to Diana and Fisher, Dodi Fayed was linked to other famous and beautiful women. The Guardian reports that Dodi was linked to "Brooke Shields, Julia Roberts, Marie Helvin, Koo Stark, Britt Ekland, Winona Ryder, Daryl Hannah, Joanne Whalley, Tina Sinatra, Tanya Brier, even Susannah Constantine."
The paper (opens in new tab) interviewed former model Denise Lewis, now based in Los Angeles, who dated Dodi on and off for five years. She explained what it was that made him so popular:
"You have a ton of money, there are a bevy of beauties, you just point your finger like that and these girls are like ... There are a lot of girls in this town that are like vultures, I tell you; they go after some men, and Dodi would be a definite catch for many of them."
Reflecting on their time together, Denise added: "It was fun. We went to great places, but I loved going to their country home and going horse riding most. We would go to the south of France and go out on the boat. It was a fairy-tale lifestyle."
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