A fine actress, successful businesswoman and a fitness influencer – Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty turned 43 on Friday.
Shilpa has been a star of the 90s and this year she will be completing 25 years in the Bollywood industry and the journey was not an easy one. “At 17, I was going from one agency to another to earn pocket money, as a model. I only got into that because someone suggested that since I am tall, I should try my hand at modelling”, said Shilpa in her earlier interview.
Shilpa grabbed attention many a times even controversies roiled her. Today, we take a look at 5 incidents around her that made headlines.
The Name game
Shilpa was the first Indian girl to go on the international show Big Brother (2002) and win it. She made it to the news when her co-contestant Jade Goody was embroiled in a race row with her. Jade claimed that she didn't know Shilpa's surname and referred to the actress as 'Shilpa Fuckawallah', 'Shilpa Durupa', and 'Shilpa Poppadom'.
The Khiladi in her life
Shilpa and actor Akshay Kumar dated after the duo worked together in 'Main Khiladi Tu Anari' (1994). But Shilpa was left agonising over her fate and broken trust when Akshay dumped her and married Twinkle Khanna instead. Her interview with a magazine back then created a huge buzz in the industry. She said, "Akshay Kumar used me and conveniently dropped me after he found someone else. The only person, I was upset with, was him. But I'm sure he'll get it all back. It's not easy to forget the past so soon, but I'm glad I've had the strength to move on. Today, he's a forgotten chapter as far as I'm concerned. I will never work with him again. Professionally, things have never looked better."
A nationwide furore erupted when Hollywood actor Richard Gere kissed Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty when both appeared at an AIDS-awareness function in New Delhi on 15 April, 2007. The event was supposed to highlight the risky sexual behavior of truck drivers, who have some of the highest rates of HIV infection in India but the event took a turn when Gere landed a long kiss on Shilpa on stage in front of the entire world. This didn't go down well with many, including Shiv Sena, whose activists thrashed and burnt effigies of Gere. The protests took place in many cities.
Love and spat
Shilpa and Raj Kundra's marriage (2009) was nothing less than a scene from of a Bollywood film, filled with controversies and speculations. The two initially met at business meetings where Raj was helping her out for the promotion of her perfume brand. Kundra was very much married, even before he met Shilpa. His marital status proved to be an ugly twist for Shilpa. Kundra’s ex-wife Kavita, reportedly accused Shilpa of being a marriage-breaker. She said that it was because of Shilpa that Raj left her and their newborn daughter. After all the drama surrounding the ex-wife, Shilpa and Raj married on November 22, 2009. The couple were blessed with a son Viaan in 2012.
Shilpa and husband Raj had a stake in IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals. Her team had won the first season of IPL back then. But cops alleged that the couple fixed and placed illegal bets on IPL matches in 2013. However, Shilpa denied any such involvement.