The Woman Dodi Fayed Was Engaged To Before Meeting Princess Diana

Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed, aka "Dodi," was the son of wealthy businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, and was perhaps best-known for being the romantic partner of Princess Diana before their untimely deaths in 1997. He was deemed as a "playboy" who was briefly married in the 1980s, and he was frequently photographed with famous women. While his relationship with Diana was undoubtedly his most famous one, Fayed was reportedly set to wed another woman at the time.

Meet Kelly Fisher, the woman Fayed was engaged to before meeting Diana. As if being in a love triangle was not messy enough, she had to grapple with a legal battle, heartbreak, and unbelievable grief in the harsh glare of the international spotlight. As she once told The Sun, "You go in the course of three weeks from being engaged to Dodi to being left for the most famous, gorgeous woman in the world, to them all dying."

Read on to learn the key facts about Fisher, including the details surrounding her romance with Fayed, her complicated relationship with his family, and how she moved on after his death.

Kelly Fisher began her modeling career as a kid in North America

Kelly Fisher was born in 1967 in Louisville, Kentucky, and she spent her childhood in the United States and Canada. When she was still in high school, she did some modeling for a local business in Toronto. This gig was the spark that set her modeling career in motion. "I then joined an agency in Toronto that sent my photos to an agency in Paris," she told Aiken Woman magazine in 2014. "Fortunately, they liked me, so I got to go there for three months in the summer." 

Though her career as a model was taking off, Fisher did not drop out of school. "I continued high school and modeling in the summers, and went to two semesters of college," she said to Aiken Woman. In addition to gracing the covers of popular fashion magazines, she also did work for popular brands like Calvin Klein and Victoria's Secret.

Kelly Fisher met Dodi Fayed in 1996

While living in the City of Lights was certainly a major step in Kelly Fisher's modeling career — it is one of the fashion capitals of the world, after all — this was also the same city where she met Dodi Fayed. Fisher met Fayed in the summer of 1996 in Paris, and the two began dating that July. At the time, Fayed had his hand in various business pursuits, including producing movies, owning a car dealership, and serving as a board member of Harrods department store. He perhaps had the most success as a film producer, and is best known for the Oscar-winning film "Chariots of Fire." As busy as he was with all of these endeavors, he still took an allowance from his family, which Vanity Fair reported was $100,000 per month. On top of that, his spending habits reportedly landed him in hot water with creditors.

And, of course, there was his social life. Fayed's rumored relationship history list includes A-listers like Daryl Hannah, Julia Roberts, and Winona Ryder. He was previously married to model Susanne Gregard, but the marriage only lasted for eight months before their divorce in 1987. His relationship with Fisher was considered the first serious coupling in almost a decade. As Sara Blackiston, a friend of Fayed's, told the Daily Mail in 2006, "Dodi was very shy, very quietly-spoken." She added, "He had been out with a lot of women, and he was very much a slow burner where romance was concerned."

Kelly Fisher's engagement to Dodi Fayed was in jeopardy by the summer of 1997

Despite his aforementioned "slow burner" reputation, Dodi Fayed was ready to settle down when he met Kelly Fisher — or so it seemed. He reportedly proposed to Fisher in November 1996, which was about half a year after the couple first got together. The pair also bought a home together in Malibu shortly after. 

Despite how well their relationship may have felt at first, things between Fisher and Fayed really started to fall apart by the summer of 1997. As noted in The Guardian, Fayed developed a connection with Princess Diana around that time. According to Town & Country, Diana and Fayed first met back in the '80s at a polo match, and about a decade or so later, they both ended up in the South of France. Fayed's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, was friends with the late princess, and he had invited her to visit his vacation home in St. Tropez. Fayed was also on this trip, and evidently, that's when the sparks flew.

The trouble is, Fisher did not learn about the affair for weeks. As Fayed's friend Sara Blackiston recalled to the Daily Mail, "[Fayed and Diana] clicked almost immediately and she started seeing him when they got back to London. ... We were all sworn to secrecy and no one else knew for a month." 

Kelly Fisher attempted to confront Dodi Fayed

On August 10, 1997, Kelly Fisher reportedly received confirmation, along with the public, that Dodi Fayed was having an affair with Princess Diana. As Elle recounted, the truth came out when a photograph of the pair kissing was printed in the Sunday Mirror newspaper. Fisher and Fayed were said to have planned on marrying on August 9, but thankfully, they had already called the engagement off days before the photo was released.

Before it all hit the fan, Fayed was seeing both Fisher and Diana in St. Tropez. As Sara Blackiston told the Daily Mail, "Dodi had Diana in the boat and Kelly in the villa, or vice versa. For someone who was renowned for daydreaming, it was some feat, flitting back and forth, with neither woman knowing." 

Fisher attempted to call Fayed after she suspected his affair with Princess Diana, though he ignored her in return. When they finally did connect on the phone, the two seemed to be on entirely different pages regarding where their relationship stood. According to the transcript obtained by ABC News, Fisher was quoted as telling Fayed, "I don't understand how one day we're in love and then ... why are you doing this to me?" In return, Fayed later said during the call, "Will you stop it? We broke up, Kelly." He also accused Fisher of being "hysterical." 

Dodi Fayed's family said he was never engaged to Kelly Fisher

Dodi Fayed's father, billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, maintained that Fayed was never engaged to Fisher. This likely had to do with the fact that Al-Fayed was in favor of his son having a relationship with Princess Diana, a former member of the royal family. As Fayed's friend Sara Blackiston explained the situation to the Daily Mail in 2006, "[Al-Fayed] had not taken much interest in Dodi's girlfriends and he also kept a tight leash on his son financially. Before, Dodi had to keep running to his father for money because he was never given enough to make him truly independent. But when it came to Diana, that all changed." According to the account Blackiston provided to the Daily Mail, Al-Fayed apparently gave his son money to ensure that Diana received extravagant gifts. 

It was all as if Fayed really wasn't in a relationship with Fisher. Except, according to Fisher, the two had been very much engaged, and she had a giant sapphire and diamond ring to prove it. And according to People, the relationship had gotten so serious at one point that Fayed had reportedly asked Fisher to scale back on her career in order to be with him, even offering her $500,000 in compensation. In her view, she was still together with Fayed through much of the summer of 1997 after buying their home and vacationing in St. Tropez — the same place Fayed was said to have connected with Diana. 

Kelly Fisher sued Dodi Fayed after they broke off their engagement

The combination of the Sunday Mirror photograph and Dodi Fayed's standoffish attitude prompted Kelly Fisher to take legal action against her ex-fiancé. She famously hired celebrity attorney Gloria Allred and had a highly publicized press conference over the whole ordeal. According to Harper's Bazaar, Fisher filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Fayed in California, the same state where they had also bought their home. At the press conference, Allred stated that Fayed "threw [Fisher's] love away in a callous way with no regard for her whatsoever."

As for the breach of contract, Fisher claimed Fayed still owed her the majority of the money he said he'd give her if she quit modeling. "To compound matters, Miss Fisher learnt about Mr. Fayed's betrayal, not from Mr. Fayed but instead from the 'kiss photo' that was published and circulated around the world to Miss Fisher's utter dismay, shock and shame," Allred elaborated at the press conference, per the Independent.

However, the lawsuit never fully materialized, as Fayed and Princess Diana were killed in a car crash just a couple of weeks later. During the early morning hours of August 31, 1997, Fayed and Diana were desperately trying to get away from aggressive paparazzi after leaving the Ritz hotel in Paris. Their driver, Henri Paul, was also speeding and later deemed to be intoxicated at the time. This resulted in the infamous and tragic crash inside the Pont de L'Alma tunnel. 

Dodi Fayed's death 'devastated' Kelly Fisher

After the car crash, Princess Diana died at a Parisian hospital. Her death shocked the world and instantly became one of the decade's biggest and most tragic stories. Dodi Fayed died at the scene of the car crash along with the driver, Henri Paul. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the only passenger who survived the accident.

Understandably, it was a difficult time for Kelly Fisher, who had to now process the sudden death of her ex-fiancé, while she was still in the middle of grappling with the aftermath of their broken engagement. In her mourning, she found forgiveness. In a statement at the time, Gloria Allred said, "Kelly loved Dodi very much, and she is devastated by his loss, and that of Princess Diana. Nothing is more important than the life of a human being. In the light of this enormous tragedy, Kelly forgives Dodi for all of his past injustices against her."

Years later, Fisher told The Sun, "I was heartbroken to see the pictures of Diana and Dodi together. But the most heartbroken I ever, ever was – ever — was when he died. That was too much for me. It was incredibly difficult."

After Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana were killed, Kelly Fisher dropped her lawsuit

After Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana died, Kelly Fisher quickly dropped the breach of contract lawsuit. Per People, her lawyer, Gloria Allred, said in a statement, "Out of respect for the tragedy, and tremendous loss the Fayed family has suffered, she [Fisher] has authorized me as her attorney, to dismiss her lawsuit against Mr. Fayed. Although she does have the legal right to pursue the lawsuit against his estate after his death, she has voluntarily chosen not to exercise that right." According to The Seattle Times, Fisher also kept her engagement ring from Fayed, which was estimated to be valued at $233,000.

Fayed's funeral was held just one day after he was killed alongside Princess Diana. Fisher didn't attend the funeral, as she was unable to make it from California to London on such short notice. Diana's funeral was held just a few days later, on September 6, 1997. 

Kelly Fisher briefly re-emerged in the public spotlight in 2008

In 2008, an investigation nicknamed the "Diana inquest" wrapped up in court. It looked into the cause of death of both Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. It was determined that a combination of paparazzi actions as well as the speed and intoxication of their driver Henri Paul were ultimately to blame. According to The Guardian, the jury heard testimony from 278 people. This included Kelly Fisher.

At this point, Mohamed Al-Fayed was still disrespectful toward Fisher, with Vanity Fair previously reporting that he referred to her as a "gold digger" during his testimony. Fisher was also able to convey her side of the story during her own testimony. According to The Guardian, she said she spoke to Al-Fayed about Fayed and Diana before she got a chance to talk to Fayed. She claimed that the interaction with Fayed's father "was horrible because of the things he said to me and called me." What's more, she claimed that Fayed insisted they hadn't been together for months, which made her feel "crazy." She continued, "He told me, if I wanted, he would get me a psychiatrist, which was really nice."

When the court asked Fisher about her engagement to Fayed, she grew emotional and said, "It's just quite humiliating to sit here and try to prove to people that someone wanted to marry you, you know."

Today, Kelly Fisher is married and has kept a low profile

While the trauma of a very public broken engagement and subsequent inquest likely still stays with Kelly Fisher, she has largely moved on and kept a low profile. She pivoted to working in property development and married a pilot named Mikhail Movshina. Movshina is originally from Russia, and the two first met in Central Republic of Africa in 2007. He and Fisher eventually relocated to Aiken, South Carolina. "We have truly fallen in love with the small town life," she told the Aiken Woman. "I have never felt the sense of community in all my travels that is as strong as it is right here in Aiken."

In 2011, Fisher became a mother when she and Movshina welcomed their daughter, Alexandra Grace. In addition to her previous public statements about her sorrow surrounding the 1997 deaths of her former fiancé Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana, Fisher has also opened up about the empathy she has for Diana's children. "I have a daughter now and cannot imagine what would have happened if I was suddenly gone," she told The Sun. "I can't imagine what those boys must have felt." 

Kelly Fisher has received recent attention thanks to The Crown

While Kelly Fisher has flown under the radar the last several years, renewed interest in her life — as well as her relationship with Princess Diana's love interest, Dodi Fayed — has increased thanks to the hit Netflix show "The Crown." In Season 5 and Season 6, the series focuses on royal family events that took place during the 1990s and early 2000s, which inevitably includes the story of Diana, her divorce from Prince Charles, and her brief romance with Fayed.

"The Crown" also features Fisher. She's portrayed on the show by Welsh actor Erin Richards, who is known for roles in other television series such as "Breaking In" and "Gotham." While "The Crown" is inspired by actual events, the series certainly takes creative liberties. In one Season 5 scene, for example, the fictional version of Mohamed Al-Fayed (played Salim Daw) chides his son (played by Khalid Abdalla) about dating Fisher. "The one area where I think, 'He might still hit the jackpot,'" he says. "And you bring home a swimwear model, expecting it to make me happy!" Of course, we'll never know what was actually said between the father and son behind closed doors. However, given the way the real Al-Fayed supposedly treated Fisher, this fictional scene doesn't seen like much of a stretch.

Thankfully, it would seem that Fisher may have hit her own "jackpot" in her new suburban life in South Carolina with her husband and daughter.