IT was on the flight home from a bonding holiday with his dad Ron that 16-year-old Russell Brand got the ultimate seal of approval he had always hoped for.
During the tour of the Far East, Ron had paid for a prostitute to take his son’s virginity – while he had sex with two others nearby.
But as they reminisced about their trip, as well as the sexual adventures they enjoyed afterwards, Ron patted the teenager on the back and congratulated him with the words: “I went away with a boy. But I am coming back with a man.”
Yesterday Ron, now 80, defended his sexually "rapacious" son, asking: “Is this seriously the most important thing happening in this world?"
It's a telling reaction.
In my view, as the first biographer of Russell Brand, it seems clear that the key to the comic’s attitude to sex and women dates back to his unsettled childhood – and especially his complex relationship with his father.
Effeminate in manner and unskilled on the soccer pitch at school – certainly compared to Ron, a keen footballer who had once been eyed up by West Ham talent scouts – Russell was only too glad to have some other way of winning his dad’s approval.
Combined with a naturally high sex drive which surfaced at a young age, as we will hear, it was to lead Russell to a psychological sex addiction that would prove harder to break than his famed addiction to heroin.
As Russell, now 48, later admitted: "We got on that vibe together. That’s what we do. It’s something we can do effortlessly and without really compromising ourselves."
Russell was just six months old when his parents Ron, then 32, and Barbara, a secretary three years his junior, split.
11 Russell was six months old when his parents Ron and Barbara, pictured, split Credit: WENN
Ron would later say that the stress of long working hours on his photography business in Grays, Essex broke the marriage – and it was better to call it a day than for young Russell to see them bickering.
But when Barbara, known as Babs, divorced him three years later, she named not one, but two other women as co-respondents in the split.
And as his son's sexual appetite became famous, Ron would later proudly remark that Russell’s ‘success’ with women could be put down to his genes.
After the split Ron did not see Russell for another year until he was a walking and talking toddler, and throughout his childhood Ron's appearances were sporadic.
There were often times when Ron did not turn up on time as promised, and Russell was "set out in my little coat, waiting for a man who never came".
When Ron did arrive there were other times when he would shout through the letterbox at Babs: "Where's my f*****g son?"
But like many children of divorce, Russell believed that his dad had left
him, not his mother.
As an only child, he would recall how he spent long hours gazing in the mirror talking to himself.
'Traumatic and lonely'
When his mum got cancer when Russell was eight, the little boy became terrified he would lose her too. He later described his childhood as "traumatic and lonely and we didn’t have no money [sic]".
The fact that Ron would appear sometimes, when one of his business ventures was going well, and then disappear again made it even more confusing.
As he grew up Russell also hated school sports days, not just because he detested PE, but also because his dad wasn’t there to cheer him on.
Later Russell could observe that while his dad was a show-off on the football pitch, he was so uncoordinated he "would run the other way" whenever he saw a ball.
As he approached puberty Russell also became the target of bullies because of his weight.
Russell wasn’t obese by any means, but he got quite a hard time from the other kids. I think being funny was Russell’s defence mechanism
Too self-conscious to lose the extra weight on the football pitch, by his early teens Russell found he could eat and then vomit up all his food again to try to lose weight.
He later recalled the sense of control this gave him made him feel euphoric.
In fact he made himself sick so much that his mum’s new partner Colin had to stop him using the sink, as his regurgitated food was clogging up the plumbing.
Russell's English teacher Cheryl Benton at his secondary school, then known as Grays School, recalled: “It was all puppy fat.
"Russell wasn’t obese by any means, but he got quite a hard time from the other kids. I think being funny was Russell’s defence mechanism.
"His exuberance was a barrier so he could make a joke before anyone else could make one at his expense."
While he lagged behind in sports, Russell excelled at subjects like English, and teachers noted that by his teens he already had a flamboyant vocabulary.
However, Russell was soon using his sharp tongue on his classmates, with several girls remembering how cruel he could be.
“He would target whatever weakness you had and expand on it," recalled schoolmate Clare Sage.
“People found his personality so overpowering, often they had nothing to say back."
Fellow classmate Claire Honeywell, who was in the same class at Little Thurrock Primary, found herself at the vicious end of his humour.
She said: “Every day we had to wear white ankle socks to school.
"Russell would come up to me and say, ‘Oh, you’ve got the same socks on today, Claire?’
Russell would target whatever weakness you had and expand on it
"I would say, 'No, Russell. It’s a different pair.' But the next day he would come back and say exactly the same thing.
“It went on for six or seven months. I got so desperate I thought, 'Right, Russell Brand. I’ll have you.' So, I risked turning up one day for school with no socks on at all.
"It didn’t make any difference. He wasn’t satisfied until he got a rise out of me."
While Russell didn’t mind dishing it out, he didn’t enjoy getting it back, according to another fellow pupil, Theresa Cross.
"If you told him to shut up, he didn’t like it. He’d get a bit sulky. He could be Jekyll & Hyde," she said. "One minute he was all jokey and laughing.
"The next minute he could be moody. He liked people laughing with him, but he didn’t like it if you laughed at him."
'See you at the top'
And after winning his first dramatic role in the school production of Bugsy Malone, Russell was already telling classmates that stardom was beckoning.
His first serious girlfriend, Melanie Gillingham, who also appeared in the play, said: "He said that he would be a household name by the time he was 20."
In fact Russell was so confident he even wrote the prediction in their leaver’s yearbook, which read: "You might be as famous as me one day. If so, see you at the top."
But there were more signs of Russell’s cruel streak.
In his BBC Radio 6 programme he admitted to luring his pet dog Topsy upstairs, where she was not allowed, and then using it as an excuse to kick her back down again.
On the same show he would go on to name and humiliate classmates with learning difficulties in his classes at the school, saying they wasted his time and "wound him up", "smelt of milky bars" and they "would have been happier in a pen".
Sex fantasies aged six
As well as a precocious vocabulary which classmates said made him sound like he had "swallowed a thesaurus", Russell was also showing an early interest in sex.
He was just six when his mother asked a voluptuous neighbour who was having a problem with her plumbing if she wanted to take a bath at their house.
Russell set up his Star Wars toy figures in the bathroom to see her naked.
He recalled later: “I properly fancied her. Mum said I had to get out of the bathroom. But Josie goes, ‘I don’t mind – he’s only six. Leave him in here.'
"You fools, I thought. I know exactly what I am doing."
At the age of eight, Russell played an unpleasant trick on Babs to test her reaction.
He sprayed the toilet seat with Jif (now known as Cif), and then told his mother that his penis had gone hard, and said he had "made a mess".
On another occasion he turned up at secondary school with a huge love bite on his neck, claiming it was from an over-amorous girlfriend.
The story was only debunked when one of the other boys said he’d actually made it by placing the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner on his neck.
By the time he was at drama school, The Drama Centre in Kentish Town, North London, his fellow students noticed his sexually voracious appetite, which extended to the teachers.
A former staff member recalled: "He could be flirtatious and cheeky with staff, making inappropriate remarks."
Paying for sex
By the time Russell started landing broadcast work, the cash it brought allowed him to start paying for sex again, just as he had been shown by his dad.
On one his first TV jobs, filming a TV ad for a chewing gum commercial in Cuba, Russell took two prostitutes back to his rented villa, only to have to wake the rest of the crew up at 4am when he couldn’t afford the $200 fee they were demanding.
His colleagues noted it seemed odd that Russell didn't seem at all bothered by it the next day.
As the TV roles kept coming home, with MTV, Big Brother and Channel 4, he was soon spending as much in brothels as he did on drugs, often visiting massage parlours in Soho because it was quicker and more convenient.
By his mid 20s, Russell claimed he was speaking with around five women a day – “one in the morning, maybe two for lunch and three for tea," he told GQ.
Pensioner and veteran actress Wendy Danvers appeared in one episode of his own comedy show, Re:Brand in 2002, about sex and ageing, which he cruelly named My Old Tart.
She said: "It struck me that going to brothels was his way of getting the best value and being in control.
"With prostitutes, it was the easiest way for Russell to get his fantasies played out without having to coax or cajole."
With his star – and his reputation for outrageousness – rising, TV production bosses were prepared to pay him to be as scandalous as possible.
It also meant Russell now had the opportunity to indulge his sexual tastes openly.
For another episode of the series Re:Brand, for UK Play, he went to live with a prostitute, her partner, and her young daughter for a few days to test whether he would still want to have sex with her once he knew her personal circumstances.
At the end of the experiment he still offered her £50 to have sex, only changing his mind when her partner broke down in tears because Russell had got to know her family, but was still prepared to go ahead.
That wasn’t all. For another programme, he chose to explore the world of adults who like dressing up as babies for sexual thrills and bought an adult nappy from a costume shop.
He used the idea as a reason to be spanked and having clothes pegs placed on his genitals.
Looking back it now appears it was just one more perfect opportunity for Russell to use his outrageous persona to hide his sexual use of women in plain sight.
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After all, he had not only been given the green light to behave as indecently as possible by TV and radio bosses. Since his childhood, Russell's behaviour had also been endorsed by the father he looked up to.
Tanith Carey is the author of Russell Brand, published by Michael O Mara Books. Source: Read Full Article