Steve Bing’s tennis star ex-girlfriend has broken her silence to pay tribute to the father of her child, as she revealed she spoke to Liz Hurley hours after his tragic death and they vowed to unite to support his two children.
Lisa Bonder, 54, praised Bing as ‘a kind person, a good man’ who was ‘misunderstood in many ways’ and said it was a ‘devastating time’ for her and her 21-year-old daughter Kira Kerkorian who she shared with the multimillionaire.
Bing, 55, took his own life Monday having become depressed amid a lack of human contact during lockdown, sources told TMZ.
Bonder said she and Hurley had spoken just hours after his death and were ‘as one’ in focusing on providing support for Kira and Damian – Hurley and Bing’s 18-year-old son – who are both set to inherit their real estate heir father’s fortune.
Lisa Bonder, 54, (left with Bing and their daughter Kira Kerkorian) praised Bing as ‘a kind person, a good man’ who was ‘misunderstood in many ways’ and said it was a ‘devastating time’ for her and their 21-year-old daughter
Bonder (right with Kira) has broken her silence to pay tribute to the father of her child, as she revealed she spoke to Liz Hurley hours after his tragic death and they vowed to unite to support his two children
‘I spoke to Elizabeth last night and we are going to address this tragedy for Steve’s two children and try to protect them in any way possible, we will do everything in our power and make sure they are supported,’ Bonder told The Sun.
‘It is a tough time for them. Liz and and I are as one on that.’
She added: ‘It is never easy for a child to lose a parent in such a tragic manner.
‘Kira is a student in Los Angeles, at UCLA. I broke the news to her of Steve’s death on the phone.’
Bonder said she and Kira had forged stronger bonds with Bing in the two years leading up to his suspected suicide Monday night.
‘We decided to come together for the sake of our daughter,’ she told The Sun.
‘I have gratitude for the time that we had with Steve. There were many pivotal moments for our daughter.
‘I believe that is true with Elizabeth also, although I cannot really comment on her contact with Steve.’
This comes after Bing’s relationship with Kira got off to a fraught start when he and Bonder became embroiled in a paternity fight when she was born.
Liz Hurley posted a tribute to Bing on Instagram as news of his suicide spread, saying she was ‘saddened beyond belief’ while describing him as ‘a sweet, kind man’
The British actress also revealed that the pair had reconnected over the last year, and had last spoke on son Damian’s 18th birthday on April 4 (pictured left and right, the pair during their relationship which she posted online)
She said that she last spoke to her ex a couple of months ago but that she was not aware of his mental state at the time.
‘I last spoke to Steve two months ago. I can’t really comment on his mental or medical state. But we talked,’ she told The Sun.
‘I think we all have moments of reflection in our lives. And I am certain that he spent a lot of time coming to grips with his choices.’
The tribute from the retired tennis professional comes after Hurley, 55, said she was ‘saddened beyond belief’ at the news of Bing’s suicide, at the luxurious Ten Thousand Building at 1pm on Monday, calling it a ‘terrible end’.
Hurley dated Bing for 18 months between 2000 and 2002 before they split amid a bitter paternity row when he initially refused to have anything to do with his son, but revealed on Tuesday that they had recently reconnected.
Paying tribute to her ex on Instagram this morning, she wrote: ‘Although we went through some tough times, it’s the good, wonderful memories of a sweet, kind man that matter.
‘In the past year we had become close again. We last spoke on our son’s 18th birthday. This is devastating news and I thank everyone for their lovely messages.’
The pair began dating in 2000 as Hurley split from Hugh Grant and were involved in an on-off romance until splitting in 2002 when she fell pregnant, sparking a bitter paternity row (pictured left and right, in images she uploaded to Instagram)
Their feud was eventually settled when a court-ordered DNA test proved Bing (left) was the father of Hurley’s son Damian, after which he agreed to set up a trust fund for the boy
Police outside the building where Steve Bing lived. He is believed to have jumped to his death
Damian Hurley, Bing’s son, uploaded his own Instagram post – describing the news as ‘devastating’ and adding: ‘This is a very strange and confusing time and I’m immensely grateful to be surrounded by my phenomenal friends and family’
Liz and son Damian are pictured in 2018 at the opening of the Dinosaurs in the Wild attraction in Greenwich, London
Damian also uploaded his own Instagram post, calling news of his father’s death ‘devastating’ and adding: ‘This is a very strange and confusing time and I’m immensely grateful to be surrounded by my phenomenal friends and family.’
A one-time Vegas high-roller and strip-club aficionado who was ‘dedicated in equal parts to philanthropy, politics and women’, Bing used his wealth to immerse himself in the glamour of Hollywood, producing films such as Get Carter, starring Sylvester Stallone, and Polar Express, with Tom Hanks.
He was also known for his scandalous private life, including fathering Damian and Kira.
Both children had to undergo paternity tests to prove he was their father – with Bonder’s ex-husband, MGM billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, even hiring a private detective to acquire a sample of Bing’s DNA as evidence.
Bing and Hurley were also involved in a bitter paternity fight, with a court-ordered DNA test eventually proving he was the father. He is not thought to have been close with either child, though supported them financially – paying £100,000-a-year into a trust fund for him to access when he turned 18.
During a subsequent inheritance fight with father Peter in which he tried to cut both children out of his will, it was claimed that Steve had never even met Damian. He and Hurley hit back, and ultimately won the case.
Former president Bill Clinton, a friend of Bing and recipient of his donations via the Clinton Foundation, also paid tribute to him, tweeting: ‘I loved Steve Bing very much.
‘He had a big heart, and he was willing to do anything he could for the people and causes he believed in. I will miss him and his enthusiasm more than I can say, and I hope he’s finally found peace.’
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger said: ‘It’s so sad to hear of Steve Bing’s passing. He was such a kind and generous friend and supported so many good and just causes. I will miss him very much.’
Publicist Michelle Bega told Sky News that she was ‘overwhelmed trying to process this unbelievable and sad event’.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Olson added: ‘Steve Bing was my friend and my partner. He was a good man who loved movies and music and cared passionately about fairness. Simple but important concept. I loved him. Depression is f***ing horrible. Hold your friends close.’
The Century City building where Bing lived, with a police tent to the right showing where he fell to his death
Iconic songwriter Diane Warren said : ‘Here’s the thing, everyone has to deal with pain. U might thing they have everything, money success, fancy cars fancy friends. NONE OF THAT S**T MATTERS. Steve Bing U were such a good man and so loved. So very sorry no one could take away your pain.’
Actress Rosanna Arquette tweeted: ‘This is very sad and disturbing news… Rest In Peace steve.’
Bing was a well-known donor to liberal causes, having signed up to the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett ‘Giving Pledge’ to give away the majority of his wealth in his lifetime.
Most recently, he supported Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, donating some $2,800, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
He also made headlines in 2009 when he paid for the flight that Clinton used to bring two journalists from North Korea to the US after they were locked up on charges of spying.
Bing’s fortune originated from his grandfather Leo, one of the founding members of New York real estate developer Bing & Bing, who built some of the city’s most iconic apartment buildings in the 1920s and 30s.
Bing was a friend of Clinton and thought to be a donor to his causes, with the former President leading tributes to him
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger also paid tribute
Working with architect Emery Roth, they built luxury Art Deco-inspired red-brick buildings on both the Upper West and East sides of Manhattan.
Steve’s father, Peter Bing, is a respected doctor who worked on public health issues for the Johnson administration and had close links to Stanford University, where he served as a Chair and Trustee having donated $50million to the college.
In 1985, Peter sold most of the New York buildings he had inherited and subsequently relocated to Los Angeles where the family has ties, including with the Leo S. Bing Theater at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which was built in 1965.
Peter also helped fund the Bing Center for Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia at Harvard, which was dedicated to him in 2005.
The family has appeared on the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans.
Stephen Bing was born in 1965 and attended high school at Harvard-Westlake School where he wrote his first screenplay ‘Missing in Action’ with veteran sitcom writer Arthur Silver, that was later made into a film starring Chuck Norris and spawned a sequel.
He inherited his fortune on his 18th birthday – March 31, 1983 – prompting him to drop out of Stanford in his junior year to pursue filmmaking.
Bing lived in the Hotel Bel-Air throughout the 1990s – having reportedly checked in for one night before staying for nine years – but managed to maintain a low profile until his relationship with Hurley saw him hit the headlines.
The pair had an on-off relationship that began in 2000 as she was splitting from Hugh Grant and lasted until 2002 when Hurley fell pregnant, sparking a furious paternity row.
Bing initially claimed the child had nothing to do with him because their relationship had not been exclusive, something she fervently denied.
Hurley and her son Damian, 18, who was born after an 18-month fling with Bing in the early 2000s. Bing initially denied being the father, and court papers released in 2018 claimed he and Damian had never met
Liz Hurley and son Damian pictured left in 2008 at a charity event in London, and right at a film premiere in 2011
Elizabeth Hurley is pictured with Steve Bing at a Los Angeles Lakers game in 2001, during their 18-month relationship. The pair split in 2002 after she fell pregnant, sparking a bitter paternity battle
Mary, Bing’s sister, claimed in a Vanity Fair article that he had been ‘snookered’ into becoming a father after wooing Hurley with private jets, Rolex watches, sapphire and diamond rings and all-expenses paid trips to New York and Europe.
The same article quoted friends of his who claimed that Hurley had been on the pill while they were sleeping together, and that antibiotics had stopped it from working.
The magazine reported that Bing had urged her to get an abortion followed by therapy, which she declined.
He was subsequently dubbed ‘Bing Laden’ and a ‘spermicidal maniac’ by the British tabloids, which led to a series of libel lawsuits.
He later said he would be ‘involved and responsible’ in the child’s life if it turned out he was the father, which was proved by a court-ordered paternity test.
Bing also announced he would pay £100,000-a-year into a trust fund for Damian, which he could access when he turned 18.
In 2002, the same year that Damian was born, Bing was embroiled in a second paternity suit – this time involving Kirk Kerkorian and his ex-wife Lisa Bonder, to whom he was married for just 28 days in 1999.
After the pair split Bonder revealed she was pregnant and Kerkorian was ordered to pay $100,000-a-month in child support, as well as setting up a $7million trust for her.
But he long suspected that Bing – Bonder’s ex-boyfriend – was in fact the father, in paid notorious private detective Anthony Pellicano to investigate.
After reportedly swiping a piece of dental floss from Bing’s trash, a subsequent DNA test proved that he was indeed Kira’s father.
Pellicano also wiretapped Bonder’s phone calls and was subsequently convicted on various charges, including wiretapping, and received a 15-year prison sentence.
Amid the sudden controversy surrounding Bing, the LA Times wrote that ‘the press-shy 37-year-old scion is fast acquiring a Gatsby-esque allure and notoriety.’
‘Now unmistakably on the map as a high-profile Hollywood libertine, he is a man dedicated apparently in equal measures to philanthropy, politics and women,’ the paper added.
Friends of Bing said that the 6’4′ producer was famed for his easy-going sense of fun and his intellect.
Bing and Hurley pictured at the polo in the Hamptons in 2001, during their on-off relationship
Bing and Hurley at Elton John’s 2001 post-Oscar party in Los Angeles
He drove around town in a 1997 Lincoln, wearing jeans and scruffy t-shirts or Hawaiian shirts, and giving no hint of his wealth.
‘He’s a fan of strip clubs, has been a high roller in Las Vegas for years, and yet he can discuss the dense Robert Caro biography of Lyndon Johnson,’ the paper claimed.
He was said to count Warren Beatty, James Caan, Hugh Hefner and Mick Jagger among his friends.
Bing was best known professionally for writing the 2003 film Kangaroo Jack.
As an investor, Bing was integral in bringing Tom Hanks’ Polar Express to life, contributing $100 million to the computer animated feature.
Bing and Hurley attend an Elton John concert at Madison Square Gardens in October 2000
He also produced the Rolling Stones film directed by Martin Scorcese, Shine A Light.
In April 2012, Bing joined the Giving Pledge – a program established by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to commit multi-millionaires and billionaires to donate most of their wealth to charity during their lifetimes.
Dr Peter Bing, Damian’s grandfather, attempted in 2018 to cut his ‘born out of wedlock’ grandson from a sizeable inheritance from his will.
Peter Bing, who donated $50 million to Stanford University in 2006, established his trust in 1980 to ‘benefit [his] future grandchildren’, who were born or adopted at a young age by Steve or Mary, Steve’s sister, according to court papers.
However, Peter sought to redefine the definition of ‘grandchild’ to exclude children born out of wedlock or who had not lived with either Steve or Mary for a significant portion of time as a child.
If allowed to stand, the new definition would have cut Damian and Kira out of the trust – a move that would also have increased the amount due to be received by Mary’s own children.
Steve and Liz joined forces in order to hit back, with his lawyers claiming that Peter and Mary were conspiring to ‘orchestrate a massive money-grab to deprive’ Kira and Damian of their rightful inheritance and ‘thereby increasing—perhaps even doubling—her own children’s share of the available fund’.
Separately, lawyers for Hurley accused Peter of having ‘misdirected anger’ towards Steve which had ‘nothing to do with Damian’.
As the feud turned bitter, Steve went so far as to demand Mary be ‘penalized’ for attempting to secure more money for her two children, Lucy and Anton, aged 19 and 16, whom she shares with her ex husband Doug Ellis.
If had been enforced, the penalty would have cost her children their entire inheritance.
Bing is pictured with Martin Scorcese, who directed the Rolling Stones film Shine a Light, which Bing financed
Bing was also said to have been in a relationship with Sharon Stone
Philanthropist Steve Bing and Bill Clinton in 2010, at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative
Judge Daniel Juarez shot down Peter’s attempt to redefine the term ‘grandchild’ in July last year, saying the term of the trust were unambiguous. However, he also refused to punish Mary’s grandchildren in the process.
Juarez wrote in his judgement: ‘Although wills are to be construed in accordance with the testator’s intent, it is the intent expressed by the words of the will itself which must be given effect rather than some undisclosed purpose or intent that may have existed in the mind of the testator.’
Peter Bing, Steve’s father, attempted to cut Damian and Kira out of a trust he established to benefit his grandchildren – but ultimately lost the case
‘There is no ambiguity in the Trusts’ use of the term ”grandchild”.
The exact value of the trust is secret, but thought to be worth several millions of dollars to each grandchild.
Bing has also been romantically connected to Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman and Naomi Campbell.
His philanthropy was less well known, but impressive.
In 2002 Bing was the largest donor to the Natural Resources Defense Council, contributing $10 million.
He had contributed $3.5 million to support and defend the 1998 initiative that imposed a 50-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund child-care and anti-tobacco programs for preschoolers, and was generous to Democratic candidates.
On the night of the 2000 general election, Bing immediately committed $200,000 to the recount effort.
He also pledged $25 million to Stanford University.
At the time of his death, Bing was living in the 40-story Ten Thousand Building in Los Angeles’ Century City neighborhood, where rents start at $10,000-a-month.
Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented Stormy Daniels in her suit against President Trump, also lives in the building along with Magic Johnson’s son E.J., according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Other residents are thought to include Saudi billionaires and Russian oligarchs.
- For confidential support call National Suicide Prevention Line, 1-800-273-8255
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details
- In Australia, call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on: 13 11 14