I’m a bloke from Essex with a good job and a terrific haircut who’s been given a Wonka ticket to a lovely sex
Unashamed. Unapologetic. The words of Russell Brand that summed up his approach to life... and women
By ALISON BOSHOFF and MARK HOOKHAM
dmg media (UK)
AN INVETERATE show-off who both friends and enemies conceded was ‘self-obsessed’, Russell Brand built his career on telling and re-telling stories of his sexual exploits. An only child from Gray, Essex, he became famous thanks to his one-man stand-up shows. For a brief time, he was the toast of London, sleeping first with supermodel Kate Moss (who regretted her choice) and then allegedly with her friend Sadie Frost. His fame was cemented by his tome, My Booky Wook, published in 2007, in which he told of his heroin addiction and numerous sordid sexual encounters including sex with prostitutes and joyless orgies. The following year he lost his slot on a BBC Radio 2 show after calling up Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs to boast about having slept with his granddaughter, Georgina Baillie. He soon brushed off this controversy and in 2010, after a brief courtship, married pop star Katy Perry. They had met at the MTV VMA awards when Perry threw a water bottle at his head. Fourteen months later he texted her to tell her that he wanted a divorce. She later said he had not liked her being the ‘boss’ on her tour and described his behaviour as ‘really hurtful, and… very controlling’. She was far from the only woman to rue crossing his path. One conquest, Hannah Gregory Soskin, said he had to wear a gum shield at night to stop him grinding his teeth and snored ‘like an elephant.’ Another ex said he spent most of their night together preening in front of the many mirrors he positioned around his bed. Brand’s fascination with the opposite sex started when he was too young to read. His parents Ron and Barbara split up when he was six. Although Brand adored his mother, and was bound ever closer to her when she suffered cancer when he was a child, he has clearly been greatly influenced by his father, a charismatic man with a string of girlfriends whom he has always longed to impress. He talks about watching porn videos at his dad’s house when he was in primary school. He was precociously interested in women’s breasts, and even before he was a teenager would attempt to guess women’s cup sizes. HE SAYS that as a small child he contrived to watch his Auntie Josie, a friend of his mother, washing her ‘glorious breasts’ in the bath – she had reasoned that he was too young to notice. ‘That’s it, I thought. Keep washing, after all I’m only a little boy…. I really was quite manipulative, even at that early age.’ When he was 16, he was accepted at the Italia Conti theatre school and was delighted to find it was full of beautiful girls. At one time, he says Louise Nurding and Kelle Bryan, who later found fame in the group Eternal, both fancied him. He went out with Kelle, who dumped him when she discovered that he wanted to go out with her because she was black. In his teens, he and his father went on a trip to the Far East. Brand was hugely excited by chatting to bar girls in Hong Kong, and could not believe his luck when Ron hired three of them to go back to their hotel. ‘My dad set about unwrapping his two prostitutes,’ he writes. He attempted to impress the remaining one, although he found the ‘bedlam’ from the neighbouring bed unsettling. He adds that ‘during the rest of that holiday I f **** d loads more prostitutes and never wore a condom… it had hardened me… my sexuality had morphed for ever from bewildered innocence into something more complex and rapacious.’ In the years that followed, Brand tried to build his career as a standup comic and developed a serious heroin habit. He was habitually unfaithful to his girlfriend of six years, Amanda. He was taken on by MTV, who fired him after he came into work dressed as Osama Bin Laden shortly after 9/11. He also introduced his drug dealer to Kylie Minogue on air. He also visited a dominatrix while filming a pilot programme, and she performed a series of vile acts on him. The resulting show was, unsurprisingly, judged not fit for transmission. He went to an orgy in a tower block in West London but was disappointed, adding: ‘There was too much pathos at the orgy, this was like an orgy directed by Mike Leigh.’ Brand was fired by talent agents at ICM after a series of incidents on board a ship in Istanbul while making a film with David Walliams and Rob Brydon. He picked up a prostitute in Istanbul, made her cry when he broke her phone while they were having sex, and then demanded a refund of his money. ‘Frankly, this girl was a sorry fairweather excuse for a prostitute,’ he said. He got clean of drugs after his agent John Noel insisted he go to rehab, and on his return became more successful, landing a job on a Big Brother spin- off show. It was at this point that his pursuit of meaningless sexual encounters became so extreme that it threatened his success. He said: ‘It’s the scale of my sexual endeavours that causes all the problems. I’m a bloke from Grays with a good job and a terrific haircut who’s been given a Wonka ticket to a lovely sex factory cos of the ol’ fame.’ Noel packed him off to a clinic again, in 2005, this time for sex addiction, and he spent several weeks contemplating the excess that had landed him in there. In the book, Brand very much plays it for laughs. When he is asked during therapy to name all of the women he has hurt, he explains that he felt ‘like Saddam Hussein, trying to pick out individual Kurds’. It’s a cheap laugh, and indicates a complete failure on his part to truly engage with another human being. He says he went into the clinic ‘just to shut everyone up really and for the same reason that I finally gave up drink and drugs, because my ambition is the most powerful force within me’. ‘So once people convinced me that my sexual behaviour might become damaging to my career I found it easier to think of it as a flaw that needed to be remedied.’ It was not, then, because he felt any remorse for the pain that his behaviour had caused. He blithely says after his sex rehab he ‘did continue to have sex with adult human females, but I made sure it didn’t interfere with my work’. The following year he joked about an alleged date rape at a flat he was renting in Edinburgh. Brand’s friend and fellow comedian Trevor Lock was charged with rape after a 20-year-old woman claimed she was sexually assaulted during a party at the flat. Brand made light of the police investigation, telling an audience at London’s Royal Opera House that ‘at the time the alleged sex attack was occurring I was having consensual sex with witnesses’, adding: ‘Lovely night it turned out to be.’ All charges against Lock were later dropped by police. At the same event Brand was publicly admonished by Rod Stewart after claiming that he had slept with the rock star’s daughter Kimberly. His wedding to Katy Perry in 2010 – a £2.5million, seven-day extravaganza at the Rambagh Palace hotel in Jaipur – took place just three months after they met. The singer Rihanna was the maid of honour and guests included David Walliams and Jonathan Ross. The event included a tiger-spotting safari and desert festival, with Brand arriving for the Hindu ceremony on a white horse, attended by camels and elephants. They announced their separation just over a year later, with Brand reportedly ending the relationship via text moments before Perry went on stage to perform in front of a huge crowd. In an interview with Vogue magazine she said: ‘I felt a lot of responsibility for it ending, but then I found out the real truth, which I can’t necessarily disclose because I keep it locked in my safe for a rainy day.’ In 2013, according to a newspaper report, Brand boasted during a radio show on XFM about flings with ‘competition winners’ in the disabled toilets at BBC studios. ‘It wasn’t always the disabled toilets. Sometimes I’d take ’em home.’ He went on to joke about the Jimmy Savile paedophile scandal, adding: ‘Given recent events at Auntie, a presenter who has sex with adults is something to be prized!’ Despite such offensive comments, Brand won hero status among many on the Left. Would-be Labour leader Ed Miliband appeared on Brand’s YouTube show, the Trews, during the 2015 election. In a desperate attempt to woo young voters, Miliband agreed to be filmed at Brand’s £2million home in trendy Hoxton, East London, even though the comedian had previously urged his millions of Twitter followers not to ‘bother’ voting. After the collapse of his marriage to Perry, Brand had a romance with socialite Jemima Khan. In 2014 they sued a Hungarian-born masseuse who had accused them of assault. Szilvia Berki had claimed she was treated ‘like a prostitute’ after Khan arranged for her to give Brand a massage as a birthday present in 2014. Police told Brand and Khan that there was no case to answer and a high court judge ordered Ms Berki not to harass the pair. Brand married Laura Gallacher, the sister of ex-Sky Sports presenter Kirsty and daughter of Scottish professional golfer Bernard, in 2017. They have two children and share a £3.3 million home in Henleyon-Thames. Brand, 48, has said that being a father has ‘taught me there is a lot more important in this world than me’. But while his family life appears settled – and somewhat conventional – Brand has reinvented himself once again as an online polemicist, posting social media videos in which he spouts wild conspiracy theories. Recent episodes include: ‘The FBI Have been Harvesting Your DNA?!’’, and ‘Real Alien Encounter in Peru?’. Even before last night’s story broke, Brand was already refuting the allegations and railing against the mainstream media.