Once a tight-trousered self-confessed recovering sex addict, all kohl eyeliner, big hair and skinny jeans, in recent years Russell Brand has completely reinvented himself as a respectable yoga-loving Home Counties married man and father of two.
Now 48 years old, he is 20 years sober and has settled in Marlow, Bucks, which is probably the most respectable, affluent town on the Thames.
One of his new neighbours told me: ‘He’s a lovely guy, really’ – although that was a couple of years ago.
The old Russell, a toxic charmer who said he loved women but treated them appallingly, was an idiotic revolutionary who said he despised capitalism but enjoyed a millionaire lifestyle.
The new Russell was more enlightened – at least he said he was. In 2019 he published a book, Mentors, a self-help guide.
Once a tight-trousered self-confessed recovering sex addict, all kohl eyeliner, big hair and skinny jeans, in recent years Russell Brand (pictured with wife Laura Gallacher in Los Angeles in 2018) has completely reinvented himself as a respectable yoga-loving Home Counties married man and father of two
Laura Gallacher (pictured with Russell Brand), 35, the daughter of renowned professional golfer Bernard Gallacher and the sister of TV presenter Kirsty, was the woman for him
Keen on meditating, crystals and making her own beauty products, Laura and Russell (pictured) appear to be well-matched. Her Instagram revealed for instance, that they shared a crystal-enhanced meditation to greet the new moon
The book traced his journey from being a ‘damaged child’ and ‘bewildered and volatile vagabond’ to a ‘(mostly) present and (usually) focused husband and father.’
It drew ire after an interview to plug it saw him admitting that he had never looked after his daughters solo for more than a night, and left the nappies to his wife. ‘Laura does it all,’ he said shamefacedly.
With a brief failed marriage to pop star Katy Perry and doomed flings with beauties including Kate Moss, Geri Halliwell, Jemima Khan and a host of Z list glamour models and wannabes, it would surely be a brave woman to become the second Mrs Russell Brand.
He is said to have dumped first wife Katy Perry by text in 2012. In public all he says is that he unfairly expected her to be a goddess rather than a human being.
So who would take him on? Blonde Laura Gallacher, 35, the daughter of renowned professional golfer Bernard Gallacher and the sister of TV presenter Kirsty, was the woman for him.
She grew up on the Wentworth Estate in Surrey and in her twenties worked in restaurants and bars including the All Star Bowling Lanes in Notting Hill, and the Electric Diner, part of the Soho House Group.
She and Russell Brand dated when he was ‘lost in rudderless indulgence and illusion’ or, more plainly, sleeping with as many women as he could.
In the book Mentors he writes: ‘We had dated a decade before and had a beautiful time but we were not ready for commitment. I in particular was like an unmanned lawn-mower chewing through a jungle of possibility.’
On the second date of the rekindled romance he took her to meet with his therapist for ‘marriage guidance’ and they speedily worked through what they wanted from marriage and each other in a therapist’s room. Children? Yes, living in the country, also yes.
They still see the therapist ‘regularly’ both alone and together. (Russell has been in various forms of therapy for two decades).
You may intuit from the therapising that Laura is fairly alternative.
A ‘lifestyle blogger’ she has run a business called ‘The joy journal’ dyeing and embroidering dungarees at £75 a time. Its Instagram page had disappeared on Friday.
She also tweeted under the moniker ‘Daisypoppets’ although has not been active on Twitter, now X for some years. Friends include insta-influencer Scarlett Curtis, the daughter of filmmaker Richard.
Keen on meditating, crystals and making her own beauty products, she and Russell appear to be well-matched. Her Instagram revealed for instance, that they shared a crystal-enhanced meditation to greet the new moon.
Home for the couple is a Victorian Gothic seven bedroomed retreat (pictured) in Oxfordshire which was bought for £3.3 million in 2016. With a thatched roof and pink-painted walls, plus mooring on the river, it could hardly be more romantic
The old Russell (pictured in 2006), a toxic charmer who said he loved women but treated them appallingly, was an idiotic revolutionary who said he despised capitalism but enjoyed a millionaire lifestyle
Russell Brand plays with a mannequin in lingerie while doing a 2008 photoshoot in Hollywood
They were married in 2017, after the birth of Mabel. Daughter Peggy arrived two years later.
He admitted that, as a recovering sex addict, he is still tempted at times to stray.
Brand told an interviewer: ‘Nothing good could come from harming her. If I put something in the space between me and her, it would be very detrimental to me.
‘So when I think, ‘Oh, that person is attractive,’ the next thought is, ‘Yes, but if you ever did anything, you realise that would destroy your whole life.’ There’s that voice in my head now.’
Home for the couple is a Victorian Gothic seven bedroomed retreat in Oxfordshire which was bought for £3.3 million in 2016. With a thatched roof and pink-painted walls, plus mooring on the river, it could hardly be more romantic.
The bathrooms are Italian marble and there is a coach house. The 4 oven Aga in the kitchen has been ripped out as he and Laura found it tricky to work.
Russell bakes courgette bread and Laura makes play-doh scented with lavender for the girls. He said: ‘I get up, I meditate and I pray. I go and see Mabel and Peggy.
‘I go for a run with the dog around fields nearby. I do some writing, some recovery-related stuff. I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu quite a lot. I go to the gym.
‘It’s sort of like a luxury penitentiary — a really, really open prison, sort of, E or F category prison, quite nice accommodation, little bit of solitary, mealtimes. Quite calm. ‘I suppose, before, I prioritised excitement and glamour and pleasure, and now I prioritise serenity, calmness, usefulness, and it’s definitely a better system. I probably could have learnt it earlier.’
Of the firebrand who insisted that Windsor Castle should be handed over to poor families there is little trace.
And this anti-capitalist is apparently mulling over installing a swimming pool in his beautiful gardens. After their wedding, he and Laura and their guests puttered up the Thames in a hired paddleboat steamer back to his home.
Around the time of the release of his book Revolution in 2015 he was involved in an ugly row over property. It was reported that he lived in a £2 million rented home owned by a firm based in a tax haven – all rather embarrassing as at the time he was calling for more low-cost housing in London. He still claims that the capitalist system is broken, but now concedes that he knows how very ‘lucky’ he is.
In 2017 he was chosen to switch on the Marlow Christmas lights. He said: ‘Thank you for having me, I know it was a controversial decision, but I live here and I love it here and I’m so happy you’re all here.
‘Every time I come across the bridge to Marlow I feel like I’m coming back home, I love it here, I love these people, I love this town, I love this community.’
And they love him back. He is warmly welcome at the Little Buddha Co store on West Street, which he opened for the Clements family in October 2018. Chloe Clements said in 2019: ‘He’s quite a religious person as well and someone whose quite a big figure. I think it’s a lot about the presentation of Buddhism, the calmness of it.
‘He said some words about the shop, cut the ribbon, took some pictures and congratulated us for opening. We had a little chat, just about how the shop came around.’
‘He’s quite a normal person for someone who is quite big and out there. When he was younger, he was a bit everywhere. He’s different, not in a bad way, I think the changes are good changes.
‘He’s lovely. He’s a lovely guy really. A lot of people have judged him back from his past. Now he’s really nice.’
Russell Brand (right) was briefly married to American pop star Katy Perry (left)
Brand’s 2007 autobiography My Booky Wook, which recounted his addictions to crack, heroin, alcohol, and prostitutes, his participation in orgies and much else
He also has friends at the Genesis martial arts gym, indeed he cited one of the instructors as one of his mentors in his book. And he is a regular at Malik’s restaurant – which is also frequented by the former PM Boris Johnson.
Owner Malik Ahmed, 56, said in 2019: ‘The first time I met Russell was two years ago. He’s a fantastic guy. Obviously he’s a vegetarian and he loves curry. He comes to Marlow for takeaways but sometimes he comes to eat. He came to our New Year’s Eve party and he also came to the British Curry Awards in London with us. Our restaurant won the top award in 2018 for the fifth time and I invited him his wife and children to join us at the awards last November.’
He is, then, the acme of home counties respectability. It’s a long way from the jaw-dropping stories told in his 2007 autobiography My Booky Wook, which recounted his addictions to crack, heroin, alcohol, and prostitutes, his participation in orgies and much else.
In 2008 he lost his job at BBC Radio 2 after making prank calls on air to Andrew Sachs, the actor who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers, to boast about sleeping with his granddaughter.
Russell Brand is said to have made around £9 million from films, DVDs, ticket sales for his comedy gigs, and books. He now accepts though, that the ‘rootless gaseous gloss of fame is gone’. His days of private jets and appearing topless on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine are over.
With commendable honesty he writes: ‘Did I leave because of the emptiness, or did I leave because I failed to reach an invisible box-office target? The latter.’
The 2011 film Arthur, a remake of the Dudley Moore comedy, was a notable flop.
He still tours – there was a Re:birth show around the time of the birth of Mabel in 2016, but his days of striving to be as famous as possible are gone. ‘I was just surprised that it didn’t feel better to be that famous,’ he explains. ‘Fame seemed so important, and everyone else was telling me it was important, and so I think, perhaps, that for me that was something I only recognised retrospectively, because it’s very seductive.’
His stand-up show is now mostly rueful jokes about being middle class. He admits to arriving at an NHS hospital with his own private midwife: ‘like turning up at Kwik Fit with your own mechanic.’
He says that his days of selecting groupies from the audience are long gone. ‘If someone let me into their bed, I’d probably just sleep in it ‘cos I’m knackered.’
A critic wrote: ‘His comedy has matured, a bit’ which is faint praise. Mostly he does podcasts and YouTube shows, although he attracted some criticism for airing Covid conspiracy theories.
He’s not been on television much but is a big noise on YouTube where his videos have a devoted following. He was on Bear Grylls’ show Running Wild earlier this year and before that was last on television in 2019, in the Great British Bake Off For Stand Up To Cancer. He won his heat after creating a gingerbread biscuit version of wife Laura’s vagina.
He told judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith that he was ‘commemorating in the medium of biscuit the birth of my second daughter, where I actuated the role of father.’
That brought the house down, and helped to foster a new image of a grown-up Brand who had put the controversies of the past behind him.
His company, Pablo Diablo’s Legitimate Business Firm Limited seems to be doing well.
Most recent accounts, filed in September last year, show net assets of over £4 million.
Not bad for a man who rather recently was preaching an anti-capitalist revolution and calling profit a ‘filthy word’.
Russell Brand’s comments in full:
Hello there you awakening wonders. Now this is not the usual type of video we make on this channel where we critique, attack and undermine the news in all its corruption because in this story I am the news.
I have received two extremely disturbing letters – or a letter and an email – one from a mainstream media TV company, one from a newspaper listing a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks, as well as some pretty stupid stuff, like my community festival should be stopped and I shouldn’t be able to attack mainstream media narratives on this channel.
But amidst this litany of astonishing rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute. These allegations pertain to a time when I was in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies, and as I’ve written about extensively in my books I was very, very promiscuous.
During that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well.
And to see that transparency metastasized into something criminal that I absolutely deny makes me question is there another agenda at play.
Particularly when we have seen coordinated media attacks before, like Joe Rogan where he dared to take a medicine the mainstream media didn’t approve of and we saw a spate of headlines of media outlets around the world using the same language.
I am aware that you guys in the comments have been for a while saying “watch out Russell, they’re coming for you,” “you are getting too close to the truth”, “Russell Brand did not kill himself”.’
I know a year ago there was a spate of articles: Russell Brand is a conspiracy theorists; Russell Brand is right wing.
I am aware of newspapers making phone calls, sending letters to people I know. For ages and ages, it’s been clear to me or at least feels to be there’s a serious and consorted agenda to control these kinds of spaces and these kind of voices.
I need my voice along with your voice. I don’t mind them using my books and my stand up to talk about my promiscuous sexual conduct in the past. What I seriously refute are these very, very serious, criminal allegations.
Also its worth mentioning that there are witnesses whose evidence directly contradicts the narratives that these two mainstream media outlets are trying to construct, apparently in what seems to be to me a coordinated attack.
Now, I don’t want to get into this any further because of the serious nature of the allegations but I feel like I’m being attacked and plainly they are working very closely together.
We are obviously going to look into this matter because it is very, very serious.
In the meantime, I want you to stay close, stay awake but more importantly than any of that, if you can stay free.