BRITISH model Neelam Gill is rumoured to be the latest beauty to steal the heart of Hollywood Lothario Leonardo DiCaprio.
The pair first sparked dating rumours when they met at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
Since then they have become inseparable and have been snapped at the same celebrity hotspots in London, Paris and the Amalfi Coast.
Last month Neelam, 28, attended Vogue’s summer party in a sizzling, sheer gown which was sure to set 48-year-old attendee Leo’s pulse racing.
This week the pair were seen sneaking onto the same swanky yacht in St Tropez – prompting her people to deny they’re an item.
But unlike the long list of young models the star has been linked to in the past, Neelam is not just a pretty face.
Her life has had more twists and turns than a Hollywood blockbuster.
In May she bravely spoke out about finding the courage to leave her abusive ex-boyfriend, rumoured to be American rapper J Stash, who she dated in 2017.
“To put it bluntly, I nearly died in my relationship. I really didn’t think I’d make it out alive,” she told Hello! magazine.
She recalled her horror at finding out he’d gone on to kill a subsequent girlfriend, Jeanette Gallegos, by reportedly shooting her in front of her three children, before turning the gun on himself.
“It was only in that instance that I had an outpouring of support,” she continued.
“People didn’t believe me at the time — I don’t know if it’s because of my job that people couldn’t fathom it.
“It was strange. They’d say, ‘You must feel so much relief because that could have been you.’
“And I was like, ‘An innocent woman has still died’.
“I felt sorrow for her and also guilt, even though I didn’t know her and I’d never spoken to her.”
Neelam’s jet-setting lifestyle today is a far-cry from her humble beginnings in Coventry.
She describes herself as “the rose that grew from concrete” on her Instagram bio.
Growing up she lived in a flat above a family-run shop and was raised by her Sikh parents – who had an arranged marriage when her mum was just 20.
Her parents split when she was eight years old, and she said of their divorce: “I thought I would never get over the pain… I was numb for years and years.”
She became estranged from her dad, and her mum later remarried; Neelam now uses her stepfather’s surname, Gill.
The stunner suffered horrible racism during her childhood which she says she wouldn’t “stand for” now.
“I remember walking to school and someone shouting ‘P***’ out of the window,” she recalled.
“That was normal. I’d get comments like, ‘Does your dad own the corner shop?’ or ‘Is he a taxi driver?’ It makes me angry.”
Despite her mesmerising looks, she admits she had no confidence in her teens and wanted to be a fashion journalist.
“I didn’t think I could be a model, I had glasses and braces,” she continued.
“I wasn’t one of the hot girls in school.”
The teenager was contacted by model scouts several times before she agreed to a meeting with Models 1, a major modelling agency who used to have huge stars such as Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Yasmin Le Bon on their books.
“I didn’t even tell people in school that I was interested in modelling or that I’d been scouted, because when people found out, they were like, ‘What? Her?!'” she admitted.
I wasn’t one of the hot girls in school
Neelam achieved four A*s while juggling her A-levels and her blossoming modelling career.
At 18, she walked for Burberry at London Fashion Week’s 2013 show and became the brand’s first model of Indian descent to be featured in a campaign a year later.
The model practised walking in heels every day and had her mum record her on her phone so she could check for mistakes.
The rest was history as her LFW walk was followed by a campaign shoot with Mario Testino.
“They made my skin darker with spray tan,” Neelam recalled.
“They wanted to make me glowing because I was the first Indian to model for the brand and they were proud of that.”
The Wolf of Wall Street actor is not the first A-lister Neelam has been linked to.
Back in 2015 she was rumoured to be dating former One Direction star Zayn Malik – which prompted a tirade of racist abuse online from 1D fans.
“I don’t care if people call me ugly but when it is about your skin colour that is unacceptable,” she later said. “I see comments such as ‘she is black as f***’, or ‘like that refugee I saw on TV’, and then they find my family and troll them.”
Around the same time she was waking up from cold sweats and suffering from debilitating sickness. On a shoot she was ordered to rest after what she calls a “huge breakdown”.
Despite being snapped several times with the late rapper J Stash in 2017, not much is known about their relationship.
In 2021 she gave a TED Talk on the subject of domestic violence, recounting her experience of resilience and recovery.
“People thought I had it all but they had no idea I was struggling to even justify being on Earth,” she said in a video posted on Instagram.
She is now working on a documentary about domestic violence to help others ‘stuck’ in dangerous relationships.
Flirting with King Charles
These days Neelam’s Instagram is chock-full of glamorous posts – including racy pictures of her in bikinis.
She even caught the eye of King Charles back in 2018, when she attended a Prince’s Trust event in an eye popping Kristin Aadnevik dress.
At one point the 5′ 11′ model even touched his arm, and Charles was filmed complimenting her before remarking during their playful exchange: “You’ve got to keep the curves, you see.”
Neelam is now a familiar face in the fashion world, having walked for Kanye West’s Fashion Week Show, Dior, and became the face of L’Oreal.
She has opened up about the hardships she faced in the past to address issues including lack of diversity on the catwalk, depression and domestic abuse.
“I started modelling at 18 and my plan was to give it a year, so I could save some money to put towards my university fees,” she said:
“Back then it was incomprehensible that someone like me would ‘make it’ in the industry, so I didn’t even allow myself to entertain the idea.
“I didn’t fit in. I didn’t know anything about the fashion world. And I definitely didn’t feel good enough to be a model.
“I’m a normal working-class girl from Coventry and I felt completely awkward, shy and unattractive — which I sometimes still do, thanks to imposter syndrome!
“From the early stages of my career I recognised the importance of representation, so if I can make even ONE person feel proud or happy or represented, then I feel like I’m on the right path.
“I’ve seen diversity in the industry change for the better but there is still a long way to go.”
Despite her incredible achievements, her rumoured romance with Hollywood bad boy Leo is what has really put her on the map.
But she’s not the only high fashion model vying for his attention, as he is also rumoured to be enjoying a ‘no-strings’ fling with Gigi Hadid.
But with her undeniable beauty and brains, perhaps Neelam will be the one to tame him.