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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.

The British star was publicly shamed when he was arrested in Los Angeles with Hollywood hooker Divine Brown and she went on to land a series of lucrative publicity deals to talk about her experience with the actor.

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Brown, whose real name is Stella Thompson, quit prostitution after the news broke and now lives comfortably in Atlanta, thanks to the estimated $1 million earnings that set her up financially.

The 41-year-old admits she will always be grateful to Grant for giving her a second chance at life, insisting she felt like Julia Roberts' character in 1990 film "Pretty Woman."

She tells Britain's Daily Mail, "That was the trick that changed my life. The event that earned me a million dollars ... the fuss afterwards scared me right there and took me off the game ... I have the most wonderful life now. I've got a nice new home ... there's no pool but there is a picket fence. I thank the Lord everyday..."

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"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."

Brown also believes the embarrassing incident actually worked in Grant's favor.

She adds, "I know he helped to upgrade my future and my family, but I upgraded his, too. He got more recognized and more movies after that night."