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Divine Brown, the former prostitute who made headlines for her famous 1995 encounter with Hugh Grant has publicly thanked the actor for “changing” her life – because she was able to carve out a “wonderful” new existence after the scandal.

‘That was the trick that changed my life, honey,’ she tells the UK Daily Mirror. ‘The event that earned me a million dollars.’

‘I was just trying to pay a few bills that night. ‘Lo and behold I got a celebrity. I’d agreed to go with him for $50, but ended up with more than ten thousand times that. God has a path for us all.’

Divine, now 41, earned more than $1.5 million from media interviews and guest-show appearances. In the days following Grant’s arrest, Divine appeared on almost every show, including Jerry Springer, Judge Judy and The Howard Stern Show.

Everybody, it seemed, wanted a piece of the real-life “Pretty Woman” and lucrative branding deals followed, including a lingerie and lipstick line. She managed a house in Beverly Hills, a Rolls-Royce and designer clothes.

‘I was able to buy amazing things, beautiful gowns and dresses,’ she says. ‘I was always attracted to the glamorous life and that half an hour with Hugh Grant made me able to buy all the things I’d dreamt of having.

‘That film Pretty Woman seemed to be what my life was about. Hugh Grant was my Richard Gere. But I began to change, too. I began to grow. I began to realise I was nothing more than a one-night trick, not a celebrity.’

Most of her money was spent on showy cars and a flashy lifestyle, but enough was invested wisely in property to allow her to put her two older daughters, Cheyenne, 21, and Brianna, 20, through college.

She remains adamant that she turned her back on prostitution for good only days after the Grant episode: ‘The fuss afterwards scared me right there and took me off the game.’

“I know he helped to upgrade my future and my family, but I upgraded his, too. He got more recognised and more movies after that night.”

Today, she goes by her birth name, Stella Thompson, and runs a music production company in Atlanta with her fiancé Richie Fediccinni.

‘I have the most wonderful life now,’ she says. ‘I’ve got a nice new home with three bedrooms and four bathrooms. It’s very pretty and I have a beautiful garden with flowers. There’s no pool, but I do have a picket fence. I thank the Lord every day.’

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