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.
Brand, an only child from Grays in Essex, became famous thanks to his one-man stand-up shows. For a brief time was the toast of London, sleeping first with supermodel Kate Moss (who regretted her choice) and then allegedly with Moss’ friend Sadie Frost, too.
His fame was cemented by the 2008 tome ‘My Booky Wook’ soon afterwards, 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 had sex with his granddaughter, Georgina Baillie.
At that time it seemed there was nobody he couldn’t charm. In 2010, after a brief courtship, he married dazzling pop star Katy Perry in a seven day ceremony in India. They had met at the MTV VMA awards when Perry had thrown a plastic water bottle at his head.
Russell Brand is seen posing with Burlesque dancers Vanessa and Valeria at The Brit Awards 2007 Valentine’s Day photocall, Earls Court, London, on 13 Feb 2007
Russell Brand with Jemima Khan in downtown Manhattan on September 15, 2013. After Katy Perry, Brand had a long romance with the British socialite and film maker. In 2014 they sued a masseuse who had accused them of assault
Former spouse Katy Perry and Russell Brand attend the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in LA on March 7, 2010
Russell Brand and wife Laura Gallacher are seen on January 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California
Russell Brand leaving his home in London, Britain on 29 Oct 2008. Russell Brand built his career on telling and re-telling stories of his sexual exploits, writes ALISON BOSHOFF
Fourteen months later he texted her to tell her that it wasn’t working out and he wanted a divorce. She later said that 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 that 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 the many mirrors he has positioned around his bed – for Brand was nothing if not the most immense egotist.
Sometimes he likes to dress up in nothing but a top hat and cane, and clown around.
Student Amy Blackburn said that there were sex toys under the bed of his bachelor flat in Hampstead when he was at the height of his fame – but it was repulsively clear that they were used.
‘The thing about Russell is that you are never quite sure where he has been,’ she told a newspaper, archly.
Brand’s fascination with the opposite sex started when he was too young to read but was permitted to flick through his father’s collection of porn magazines.
Born in Grays, Essex, 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 two bouts of cancer when he was a child, he has clearly been greatly influenced by his father, a charismatic man who had a string of girlfriends, and whom he has always longed to impress.
He talks about watching hardcore porn videos at his father’s house when he was in primary school, and of looking through his pornographic magazines. He was precociously interested in women’s breasts, and even in primary school would attempt to guess the cup size of women he met.
He says that as a small child he contrived to watch his Auntie Josie, a friend of his mother’s 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.’
On a holiday in Pontins he says that a girl asked him if he wanted to come and look in their chalet, as his father was in bed with her mother. ‘A woman leaped up naked, all knockers and skin everywhere,’ he writes. ‘I pressed record on the old brain box.’
In 2010, after a brief courtship, Brand (R) married dazzling pop star Katy Perry (L) in a seven day ceremony in India. Pictured at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards in LA, February 13, 2011
Russell Brand pictured on set, filming Arthur, in New York, July 28, 2010
When he was 16, he was accepted at the Italia Conti theatre school and was delighted to find that it was full of beautiful girls. At one time, he says both Both Louise Nurding and Kelle Bryan, later in the group Eternal, fancied him. He went out with Kelle, who chucked 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 Hong Kong. Brand was hugely excited by chatting to bar girls, 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 attempts to impress Mary Lou, the remaining one, although he found the ‘bedlam’ from the neighbouring bed unsettling (‘Yeah come on! Phwooar you’re juicy!’ his father shouted.)
The entire episode is very unsettling and neither Brand nor his father seem to be able to frame any kind of normal moral response to what has happened.
And, he says ‘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 forever from bewildered innocence into something more complex and rapacious.’
In the years that followed, Brand tried to build his career as a stand up and developed a serious heroin habit. He was habitually unfaithful to his girlfriend of six years, called Amanda.
‘I was meeting loads of women when we were out in those clubs and getting a lot of b******s in toilets. Amanda had come back into my life so I was seeing her as well,’ he says.
He was taken on by MTV, who fired him after he came into work dressed as Osama Bin Laden shortly after September 11th. He also introduced his drug dealer to Kylie Minogue, on air. He lived increasingly on the edge of ordinary human experience, masturbating a man in a gay pub for a TV show.
Jemima Khan and Russell Brand attend a documentary screening of ‘Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars’ in London, Britain, on November 6, 2013
Brand poses on the ‘The Today Show Concert Series’ TV programme in New York, June 3, 2010
He also visited a dominatrix while filming a pilot programme, and she performed a series of vile acts on him. ‘I d never before seen the attraction in sadomasochism but after that woman had administered her painful medicine I had to diddle her just to set the record straight,’ he writes. The resulting show was, unsurprisingly, judged not fit for transmission.
Michaela, a lap dancer, smacked him in the face as he smoked heroin, at around this time. As he escorted her out of the door, he spat in her face.
He also went to an orgy, in a tower block in West London. ‘People who looked like they were made out of Ready Brek, swathed in clingfilm were waddling back and forth with towels about their waists. The thing is, I went to that orgy to escape from humanity and mundanity… There was too much pathos at the orgy, this was like an orgy directed by Mike Leigh.’
He was fired by his talent agents at ICM after a series of disgraceful incidents on board a ship in Istanbul while making a film with David Walliams and Rob Brydon.
He picked up a young prostitute in Istanbul, made her cry when he broke her mobile phone against a wall while they were having sex, and then demanded a refund of his money. ‘Frankly this girl was a sorry fair-weather excuse for a prostitute. Eventually she agreed to have sex but it was a kind of weary half hearted semi erect bored disappointing but of sex for which I’d paid a lot of money.’ After he broke her phone he said: ‘This is not looking good. I’m going to have to walk past reception in a minute, five paces behind a crying prostitute.’
He also visited a lap dancing club, and had sex with a dancer who he met on the boat. ‘One minute she was on stage, the next minute I was talking to her and then we were having sex. She was one of those rare women who recognised that life is finite and saw orgasms as a wonderful distraction.’
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 fledgling success. ‘I started to have loads of encounters after gigs. As my sexual appetite grew, I found myself engaged in an increasingly desperate quest to satisfy it.’
He added: ‘There’s nothing especially peculiar or odd about my erotic predilections. 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 once again, in 2005, this time for sex addiction, and he spent several weeks contemplating the excess which had landed him in there. In the book, Brand very much plays it for laughs, describing his time in Keystone as a ‘stretch in the winky nick’ and talking about his ‘poor famished dinkle.’
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 seems to indicate a complete failure on his part to truly engage with another human being.
Brand poses with a mannequin outside of Trashy Lingerie in West Hollywood, August 21, 2008
Russell Brand on set in American Romantic Comedy ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ (2008)
He says that he went into the clinic in America ‘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 which his behaviour had caused. Indeed, his responses have always been utterly immature, and his lack of self- knowledge is staggering. He blithely says: ‘After Keystone I did continue to have sex with adult human females, but I made sure it didn’t interfere with my work.’
Faint hope of that – soon after the book was published he lost his Radio Two job after boasting on air that he had slept with Andrew Sachs’ granddaughter in a disgraceful voice message to the elderly actor.
His wedding to Katie Perry in 2010 was a£2.5 million seven day extravaganza at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, 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, and Brand arriving for the Hindu ceremony on a white horse, attended by camels and elephant. They announced their separation 14 months later, with Brand reportedly texting Perry on New Year’s Eve to tell her that it wasn’t working out.
In an interview with Vogue magazine soon afterwards 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.’
After Perry he had a long romance with British socialite and film maker Jemima Khan. In 2014 they sued a masseuse who had accused them of assault.
Szilvia Berki, 31, had claimed that she was treated ‘like a prostitute’ after Khan arranged for her to give Brand a massage as a birthday present in June 2014.
Mrs Justice Carr said Berki had told police that Brand had assaulted her. But police had told Brand and Khan that there was no case to answer, and said the investigation was closed. The judge said Berki had subsequently contacted newspapers and tried to contact an MP and the prime minister.
The couple took legal action and Carr made an ‘anti-harassment’ order. Another judge had made an similar order on an ‘urgent basis’ in August.