He's a quiet one, and no mistake. We've all been watching Hugh Grant represent the little (A-list) guy, standing up to the behemoth of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, turning the tables on the hackers by secretly recording a journalist reveal his dodgy work-practices, and turning up in Parliament to demand the law protect ex-actors who just want to go about their simple business of playing golf and... stuff.
But Hugh Grant is today having the last laugh, with confirmation that he has become a father for the first time at 51. And the media only got wind of it a good month after the baby girl was born in a London hospital, to her Chinese mother, Tinglan Hong, with whom Grant had a fleeting relationship earlier in the year.
Last night his spokesman stated: "I can confirm that Hugh Grant is the delighted father of a baby girl. He and the mother had a fleeting affair and while this was not planned, Hugh could not be happier or more supportive."
Grant has had plenty of practice in such a hands-on, supportive role. He is a doting godfather to his former girlfriend Liz Hurley’s son Damian. When Hurley was left holding the baby by Damian's father Steve Bing, it was Grant who stepped in and took on many of the duties.
Grant and Hurley have been each other's linchpins for the best part of 20 years. Hurley's red carpet appearance on her then-boyfriend's arm at the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere - her modesty held together only by safety pins - sealed their place in the nation's affections as one of our most glamorous couples.
Such romance was tested by revelations in 1995 that Grant had been caught cavorting with a slightly less feminine creature by the name of Divine Brown in one of LA's dimly-lit backstreets.
The Grant-Hurley union changed shape to a platonic one soon after, but has endured and withstood the catalogue of loves in each other's lives.
When Hurley married entrepreneur Arun Nayar, Grant could often be seen in the holiday shots, very much one of the family. Her new partner Shane Warne shares the same passion as Grant for golf - indeed, Grant reportedly spent the day after his daughter's birth at the tournament in St. Andrews where Warne proposed to Hurley in the restaurant.
In recent years, Grant has also had an on-off relationship with Jemima Khan, often seen in the company of the Goldsmith heiress and her two sons by her ex-husband, Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan.
Although they too separated, they have remained friends and shared a common cause in taking on the media in recent months - Khan using Twitter to voice her disgust at being dragged into super injunction rumours, as well as contributing to the bail payment to ensure Julian Assange's freedom pending his extradition application being heard.
Meanwhile, it is testament to Grant's good manners and general civility that he has managed to stay on such good terms with his fomer high-profile partners, despite being labelled a "notorious commit-phobe", purely because he has never actually walked down the aisle.
Now he has made it clear that, for his baby daughter at least, he is "fully committed and supportive". It is not entirely clear how Hugh Grant spends the bulk of his time these days - his acting years as Britain's bright young thing in such hits as Four Weddings and Notting Hill are well and truly behind him - so he may have the time and energy to contribute to his child's upbringing, between golf tournaments at least.
Could it be that, at the age of 51, this endearingly flighty character will finally have his heart captured by one little lady? At least if he's on nappy duty and needs safety pins in a hurry, he knows who to call.
Check out Hugh's love history in our dedicated Slideshow, and pause to enjoy again the big floppy haircut that helped him find fame...
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