Six-foot tall with long, honey-brown hair and legs that go on into next week, Elle Macpherson is not called 'The Body' for nothing. She turns heads wherever she goes.
Born Eleanor Nancy Gow in Sydney on March 29, 1964 she changed her name to Macpherson when her mother remarried soon after Elle's 14th birthday the young Australian was, by her own confession, a tomboy who preferred climbing trees to playing with dolls.
She gained a place at Sydney University to study pre-law but left after a year when she was spotted by a modelling scout while on holiday in Aspen. It was to be the start of an extremely lucrative career, which led to her fortune being valued at an estimated £21 million in 1999.
Elle was the covergirl for the prestigious swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated
three years in a row, and her magazine namesake was so taken with her statuesque beauty that she was featured in its pages every month for six years. For her part, the ubermodel was so enamoured of the publication's creative director, Gilles Bensimon, 20 years her senior, that she married him when she was just 21. The couple broke up in 1989.
Not just a pretty face, Elle also has a reputation as a shrewd businesswoman. Her Australian lingerie business, Elle Macpherson Intimates, is worth around $10 million and she is on record as saying that she prefers the marketing and business side of fashion to its fluffy, frock-tastic face.
In 1990 she branched out into acting, first appearing on the silver screen in Woody Allen's Alice
. Perhaps her most famous role was that of Sheela in the Australian film Sirens,
for which she put on 20lb to play the part of a nude artist's model. Since then she has appeared in the TV series Friends
, and starred opposite George Clooney
in Batman And Robin.
She has also released her own fitness video.
On February 14, 1998, Elle gave birth to Flynn, her son by French banker Arki Busson. Once, when asked whether she and her boyfriend would tie the knot, Elle laughed and said: "You'll have to ask Arki. I'm quite old-fashioned I still believe it's up to the man to propose." And he did pop the question in 2002 during a romantic trip to the Bahamas. Their second child, Aurelius Cy was born on February 5 the following year. Elle and Arki never did take that walk down the aisle, however; in 2005, they decided to call it quits after nine years together.