I came back to London for love and Nando's, says Page 3 legend Keeley Hazell

SHE became a star in The Sun – and now Keeley Hazell continues to shine in Hollywood.

The former Page 3 girl has been living her dreams as an actress in the States, starring alongside A-listers Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis.


Acting in movies including Like Crazy and Horrible Bosses 2, Keeley has most recently starred in hit Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso.

Now back in the UK after breaking up with her American boyfriend of four years, Keeley, 34, says the ­memories of her glamour modelling days still make her smile.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, she says: “I absolutely loved working for The Sun on Page 3.

“It was an amazing job and a ­catalyst for future opportunities.

“While a lot of my friends were working in Sainsbury’s, I was travelling the world and appearing in newspapers, magazines and attending glamorous photoshoots.

“It was so surreal and I loved that part of my life — it still makes me smile now.”

Keeley first appeared in the paper in 2004 after winning our model-search competition Page 3 Idol.

Growing up in South East London with her mum Amber, a dinner lady, and dad Roy, a window fitter, her life quickly changed beyond recognition.

She says: “We once went to Ibiza on a photoshoot and it was like living the teenage dream.

“I built friendships with the other Page 3 girls too, so I was working alongside my mates all the time.”

But once she left glamour modelling to move into acting, she faced snobbery and judgment.

She says: “People look at you ­differently or don’t take you seriously because you were once a topless model.

‘I DIDN'T SEE MYSELF RIDING A HORSE TO THE SHOPS’

“At 18 years old, you don’t think about the impact the job will have on the future.

“You’re not completely switched on to how society views women, so while it was such a great experience there is still a snobbery about Page 3, which is a huge shame.

“But doing it allowed me to pay for acting school and have opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to grab.”

In 2009, Keeley achieved her childhood ambition of moving to the US to take acting classes at the renowned Lee Strasberg Theater And Film Institute, where former students include Lady Gaga, Angelina Jolie and Marilyn Monroe.

Five years later, she was starring alongside Friends actress Jennifer Aniston in movie comedy Horrible Bosses 2 before taking on the role of Violet, a palace maid, in Liz Hurley’s drama series The Royals, which was screened on Channel 5.

Keeley also gained dual citizenship in the States. But it was not easy being the new girl from London arriving in Hollywood.

She says: “A lot of people in the acting industry come from wealth and don’t have a former career for others to consider. So potentially they are given more roles.

“My ability to model does not have an effect on my ability to be an actress. But casting directors and agents in the UK wouldn’t give me the time of day.

“Some doors were closed in my face because of my modelling.

“I’m sure a male underwear model wouldn’t lose opportunities because he was photographed in his pants.”

Keeley, who has previously been linked to TV funnyman David Walliams and presenter Steve Jones, is single after her relationship in the States came to an end.

She has since tried dating apps for the first time and is now temporarily back in London.

Keeley says: “I was in a long-term relationship for three-and-a-half years while living in LA. It finished early last year. We decided we wanted different things.

“He was American and I realised I would want to live back in ­London when I was ready to settle down.

“Our relationship got to a point where we were deciding if we wanted to get married and have kids, but his idea of a future was to live on a ranch and be a cowboy.

“I just didn’t see myself riding a horse to the local shop on a Sunday morning to buy a pint of milk.

“We parted ways amicably and it was a mutual decision, so there’s no bad blood between us.

“Since being single, I joined a dating app for the first time and had a few lockdown Facetime dates, but that’s all.”

Only months into single life, Keeley was cast in the hit comedy series Ted Lasso, ­developed by and starring Hollywood actor Jason Sudeikis.

The show was filmed in South West London last year.

Keeley explains: “I originally auditioned for one role and got offered a different part playing Bex, a woman who sees all of the good side of a man who has been terrible to his ex-wife.

“I was ecstatic for the opportunity. The show is based in ­Richmond upon Thames, which was great as I got to fly from Los Angeles to London to film throughout summer last year.

“The show is currently No1 on Apple at the moment. It has really taken off in the US which is incredible.”

Now, due to coronavirus, Keeley has swapped celebrity parties in Tinseltown and walking red carpets at movie premieres for a more relaxed lifestyle here in the UK.

‘I COULD SEE MYSELF AS THE NEW 007’

At the moment, she is spending extra time with family and friends — and finally getting to eat at her favourite restaurant chain.

She says: “They don’t have Nando’s in LA so it’s one of the things I love about being back home.

“I normally order a hot spiced chicken in pitta bread with a side order of peas. They are ­welcome to give me a black card if they like.”

Keeley was on holiday in Mexico when lockdown began and flew to the UK as she could not get back to Los Angeles.

She is currently living between LA and London but plans to relocate to her home city permanently.

Keeley says: “During lockdown I did a lot of self- reflection and writing. I’ve started writing a book. It’s a memoir.

“This year has really given me time to reflect on what exactly I want from my life.” So what does the future hold for the model-turned-actress?

Keeley jokes: “Maybe playing Bond — I could see myself as the new 007. But I’d love to work on some British movies.

“I would also like children in the near future.

“I’m content right now — although I do miss living in England and have fallen in love with London all over again.

“A permanent move back is definitely on the cards.”

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