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About Russell Brand
He is an English comedian, actor, columnist, author and presenter of radio and television.
Brand achieved fame in the UK for presenting a Big Brother spin-off, Big Brother's Big Mouth, and for his radio show, among other television series and award ceremonies. He has also appeared in a number of films, including the romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bedtime Stories, St Trinian's, Get Him to the Greek, and most recently, Despicable Me. He is noted for various controversies that have surrounded him in the British media, such as the 2008 prank calls that led to his resignation from the BBC. He is engaged to Katy Perry.
Brand was born in Orsett Hospital, Grays, Essex, England, the only child of Barbara Elizabeth (née Nichols) and Ronald Henry Brand, a photographer, who married six years earlier. Brand's parents separated when he was six months old. His mother raised him on her own; he had a somewhat isolated and lonely childhood. When Brand was seven, he was sexually abused by a tutor. When Brand was eight, his mother had uterine cancer; a year later she had breast cancer. Brand stayed with relatives whilst his mother underwent treatment. When Brand was 14, he became bulimic. He left school and home at 16, at which time his mother had lymphoma and he did not get on with her live-in partner. He then began taking drugs, including: cannabis, amphetamines, LSD, Ecstasy, cocaine, crack and heroin. Brand stated during an interview on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Saturday that he had "a strange relationship with his father, whom he saw sporadically and who took him to visit prostitutes during a trip to the Far East". After Brand's parents divorced, his father remarried twice.
Brand attended Grays School, a comprehensive. He made his theatrical debut at the age of 15 playing "Fat Sam" in a school production of Bugsy Malone, which prompted him to become an actor. He began working as an extra, and applied to study at the Italia Conti Academy. He was accepted, and Essex council funded his tuition for an introductory year, with potential funding for three additional years. Brand joined the Academy in 1991, but was using drugs and expelled during his introductory year for his behaviour. Afterward, Brand had small acting roles in the children's show Mud and in The Bill.
In 1995, Brand applied for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Drama Centre London and was accepted to Drama Centre. By this point he was a heroin addict and an alcoholic. He was expelled in the final term of his last year for smashing a glass over his head and then stabbing himself in the chest and arms because of poor reactions to one of his performances. After leaving Drama Centre, Brand decided to focus on comedy, and began writing material with Karl Theobald, whom he met at Drama Centre. They formed a short-lived double act, Theobald and Brand on Ice.
Brand lives in Hampstead, London, with his cat, which he named after the singer Morrissey, of whom Brand is a big fan. He has been a vegetarian since the age of 14, and is a fan of football and a supporter of West Ham United; Brand says that his love of football is "intrinsically about my relationship with my father". He dresses in a flamboyant bohemian fashion, describing himself as looking like an "S&M Willy Wonka". He has bipolar disorder, and he has suffered from bulimia,and went through a period of self-harm. Brand has shown interest in the Hare Krishna Movement and chants the Hare Krishna mantra for drug rehabilitation.
Brand is a former heroin and sex addict and a recovering alcoholic. He has had numerous run-ins with the police, having been arrested 11 times. During the time of his addiction, he was known for his debauchery. Brand was ejected from The Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh, and he infamously introduced his drug dealer to Kylie Minogue during his time at MTV. He has abstained from drug use since 2002 and is now a patron of the addiction charity Focus 12. His abandonment of drugs and alcohol was instigated by his agent, John Noel, after Brand was caught taking heroin in a bathroom during his Christmas party. Brand regularly attends AA and NA meetings.
After a string of high-profile relationships, Brand developed a reputation in the media as a ladies' man. His dating life won him The Sun's Shagger Of The Year award in 2006, 2007,and 2008. The award has been renamed "The Russell Brand Shagger Of The Year Award" in honour of Brand having won three years in a row. In January 2009, Brand and several other celebrities wrote to The Independent (as supporters of the Hoping Foundation) to condemn Israel's assault on Gaza, and the "cruel and massive loss of life of the citizens of Gaza". In February 2009, Brand and several other entertainers wrote to The Times defending Bahá'í leaders then on trial in Iran. In April 2009, he attended the 2009 G-20 London summit protests and spoke to the press. In September 2009, Brand was reported to be dating American singer/songwriter Katy Perry. On 6 January 2010, the couple announced their engagement.