Comedian and actor-turned-mental health activist, Russell Brand, 45, dropped his new book Revelation: Connecting with the Sacred in Every Day Life today on Audible.
“Revelation, the process of uncovering and unfolding and discovering …,” the author said today, seated cross-legged and wrapped in a blanket in an Instagram video to promote the book. “I talk about the process of awakening, of lingo, of material connections and the challenges that comes with that as a person that still lives in the world, still feels fear, anxiety, desire, in all his forms.”
The audio book spans over 5 hours of Brand’s musings on life, and how his depression helped him emerge into a better version of himself; he has now been in recovery for alcohol and drug addiction for 18 years. The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star was also intensely affected by cancer throughout his life; his mother is a six-time survivor.
Brand also had to give up a more recent addiction to Hollywood. He rose to fame very quickly in 2008 and headlined huge comedy shows, starring in films such as Get Me to the Greek, about an out-of-control rock star who couldn’t make his gigs, basically playing a version of himself. Brand has always been spiritual within his intense process of recovery, but it evolved into a full-time career path once he broke out of the Hollywood bubble.
“It’s a difficult thing to let go of,” he recently told Men’s Health in an interview. “There’s some things that I look at [and think], That looks so cool! I see me in the tight clothes or the crazy hair or the eye makeup and I think, Well, that in a way must have been simpler. But a lot of those clothes were a bit tight! And I don’t think those high-heeled shoes were good for my lower back!”
Brand married singer Katy Perry, 36, in 2010 at the height of his fame and the couple split just over a year later.
“You go through little deaths,” Brand said of giving up the Hollywood-focused fame. “The little deaths of the phases of your life. And perhaps our progression as individuals is contingent upon if we are able to accept that.”
The English star is now living back on the other side of the pond with his wife, Laura Gallacher, 34, and two young children, Mabel and Peggy. He has a podcast called Under the Skin, where he talks about revolutionary politics and spiritual awakening.
“I’m looking for what is sacred in my relationship with my wife, with my children, with my work,” Brand shared. “Otherwise, because I’m a drug addict and selfish, I drift toward not caring. Since I’ve become spiritual, I have found that it’s easier to be alive.”
Brand’s mother Barbara, 74, is a six-time cancer survivor and has even recovered from a car crash with life-threatening injuries, according to the outspoken author. He praised the National Health Service for saving his mother, who had just finished chemotherapy three weeks before her tragic accident, breaking her back and neck.
“Is the invisible force that keeps my Mum, not just alive but positive and loving distinct in any meaningful way from the love and devotion of these beautiful people?’ The only child wrote on his old website, according to the Daily Mail. “The spirit of this beautiful institution? The NHS is the best of us, it is our shared declaration that love is real. The National Health Service, it does so much and yet it means much more.”
Barbara was first diagnosed with uterine cancer when Russell was just 8 years old. One year later, she went through her first bout with breast cancer. Russell had to stay with relatives while she was undergoing treatment. His mother raised him alone after his father left when he was a baby, then suffered from bulimia and other mental issues while growing up.
Brand cancelled some of his shows in 2014 when his mother’s breast cancer came back once again. “Sorry to eff you around with gigs,” Brand had tweeted. “My mum ain’t well. Tix will be honoured or refunded.”
In 2017, his mother went through it yet again.
“She’s got cancer again right now; she’s having chemotherapy at the moment,” he said on Today with Megyn Kelly. “She’s had cancer six times, but the woman is very resilient. She likes it here on this planet, clearly.”
Brand has grown up with cancer and has an obvious love for his mother and her strength. He has been affected by cancer his entire life, and throughout the last decade, has made improvements with his own health that will in turn be a stronger support for the people who need him.
“I always say that caregivers are survivors. Caregivers are living with cancer. Caregivers are on the journey, but it’s different experiences,” Julie Bulger, manager of the Patient and Family-Centered Care at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, tells SurvivorNet. “And so I feel like that caregivers I try to give them some attention and validating those feelings.”
Bulger acknowledges that it is harder being the one living with cancer, but thinks it’s very important to also give validation to caregivers. “It’s equally hard loving somebody and caring for somebody with cancer,” she says.
Brand has praised his mother’s strength and will to live, but his own love for his mother should not go unnoticed. He has clearly put his mother’s health above his career when she needed him most.
“There’s so much evidence and that outcomes are better when somebody has an incredible caregiver by their side. So you are helping your loved one in more ways than you know.”
Caregivers Can’t Provide Optimal Care for Their Loved Ones with Cancer If They Don’t Care for Themselves
Like Brand, comedian Jesus Trejo, also an only child, juggled comedy shows with his parents’ cancer. But laughter ultimately helped him through, and urges others to not forget about the power of laughter while going through cancer or taking care of someone with the disease.