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Who is Russell Brand and why is he famous?

With serious allegations being made against him, the boy from Essex has been thrust further into the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

With serious allegations being made against him, the boy from Essex has been thrust further into the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
SUSANNAH IRELANDREUTERS

British comedian, actor and political activist Russell Brand has found himself at the center of controversy, not for the first time, and this time is certainly more serious. Four women have accused him of sexual assault, including rape, during a seven-year period when he was at the height of his fame. His life and career to date have been far from run of the mill.

Russell Brand: the highs and lows

Brand, now 48 years old, has had a colourful career in the world of entertainment, following a difficult upbringing. He first gained prominence as a comedian and actor in the 2000s, known for his flamboyant style and unconventional appearance. His witty and irreverent humour made him a regular on British television and radio, including various slots across BBC programming, with him even returning in recent years for political debate shows.

During this period, Brand also ventured into the world of film, starring in movies like ‘Get Him to the Greek.’ However, he was not just known for his talent. Provocative and controversial behaviour saw him disappear from the likes of the BBC and MTV, while his drug use and promiscuity filled column inches over the years. Then there were his high-profile relationships which also kept him in the public eye.

One of his most famous relationships was with American singer Katy Perry, whom he married in a lavish ceremony in India in 2010. However, the marriage was short-lived, as Brand filed for divorce just 14 months later, informing her by text message revealed Perry.

“This isn’t really working out... I was really, really in love with her, but it was difficult to see each other... it mostly didn’t work for practical reasons,” he candidly admitted during an interview with Howard Stern. “I don’t want anything to hurt her. She’s younger than me, she’s a young woman and she’s beautiful and she’s sensitive and I care about her deeply,” Brand added, later choosing not to claim half of the estimated $44 million she earned during their marriage.

In 2017 he married Laura Gallagher following a relationship of around two years. The couple have two daughters together.

In recent years, Brand has shifted his focus towards online projects. He has garnered a substantial following for his podcasts and social media shows, allowing him to maintain a significant presence in the entertainment world. He is known to younger fans as the voice of Dr. Nefario in the Minions movie series.

What is Russell Brand accused of?

Brand is now facing serious allegations that have the potential to cast a shadow over his career. According to a report in the Sunday Times -- on the back of an investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4 Dispatches -- four women have accused him of sexual assaults, with some of the incidents dating back to 2006 and continuing until 2013, including accusations of rape. It did not specify whether any of the accusers had filed complaints with the police.

Two of the accusers reported that the alleged incidents occurred in Los Angeles, while one woman claimed that Brand assaulted her when she was just 16 years old and still in school.

What has Russell Brand said about recent accusations?

In response to the serious allegations made against him, Brand issued a denial, categorising the accusations as “very serious criminal allegations.” He made this denial just hours before the Sunday Times published their report.

Brand released a video message on social media in which he addressed the allegations. In the video, he acknowledged his past promiscuity but vehemently refuted the accusations of non-consensual conduct. He stated, “These allegations pertain to the time when I was working 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. Now, during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual.”

Brand also described the accusations as a mixture of “extremely egregious and aggressive attacks” along with “some pretty stupid stuff.” He emphasised that he takes the allegations seriously and intends to defend himself vigorously against them.

While Brand denies any criminal wrongdoing and asserts that his past relationships were consensual, these allegations have put him in into the spotlight even further and continue to highlight questions about consent and accountability in the entertainment industry. The unfolding developments will continue to be closely watched by the public and media.