It’s been a while since we’ve seen actor Brendan Fraser in the public eye and now, he’s revealed the tragic reasons why.
Throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s Fraser starred in various hit films including George of the Jungle, The Mummy trilogy, Bedazzled and Crash.
Yet since then, we haven’t really seen much of Fraser – either on the big screen or in public – and he’s now opened up about the reasons for this.
In a recent interview with GQ, Fraser has come forward with his own story of sexual abuse, allegedly at the hands of Philip Berk – the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – who organise the Golden Globe Awards.
Speaking about the incident which is said to have taken place in 2003 at a HFPA luncheon, Fraser described what he alleges happened as he shook hands with Berk.
His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek and one of his fingers touches me in the taint – and he starts moving it around.
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Overcome with both fear and panic, Fraser says he immediately rushed home, adding:
I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.
I became depressed. I was blaming myself and I was miserable—because I was saying, ‘this is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel’.
It made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.
I don’t know if this curried disfavour with the group, with the HFPA, but the silence was deafening.
Deciding at the time not to make the incident public, Fraser received a written apology but felt himself shut out from the HFPA and Golden Globes, wondering if he’d been blacklisted.
Berk, who’s still a HFPA member, has disputed Fraser’s account in a statement given to GQ:
Mr. Fraser’s version is a total fabrication. My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologise.
His career declined through no fault of ours.
Even now with the Time’s Up movement in full swing, Fraser admits he was scared to share this secret:
Am I still frightened? Absolutely. Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely.
Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely.
However, this wasn’t the only personal struggle Fraser has overcome in the past decade.
In 2016 his mother passed away, just days before he gave an awkward interview on AOL‘s YouTube channel which went viral and was mocked on the internet becoming the ‘sad Brendan Fraser’ meme.
Little did people know his mother had just died following a battle with cancer:
I buried my mom. I think I was in mourning and I didn’t know what that meant.
Adding to this, for almost seven years, Fraser has been continually in and out of hospital, undergoing several surgeries.
These included a laminectomy, a couple of lumbar surgeries, a partial knee replacement and repairs on his vocal cords.
For someone who’s known for starring in action films, this of course posed a problem when it came to what acting jobs he could take on.
By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China, which was 2008, I was put together with tape and ice—just, like, really nerdy and fetishy about ice packs.
Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads, ’cause they’re small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily.
I don’t know if I’ve been sent to the glue factory, but I’ve felt like I’ve had to rebuild sh*t that I’ve built that got knocked down and do it again for the good of everyone. Whether it hurts you or not.
Eventually his body couldn’t take any more and Fraser was forced to retire from stunt work.
During this period Fraser also changed houses on several occasions and went through a divorce.
He decided it was important to spend more time with his family and so, put his energy into this.
His eldest son, 15-year-old Griffin, was then diagnosed with autism:
Griffin’s rated on the autism spectrum and so he needs extra love in the world, and he gets it – and his brothers, (Holden, 13, Leland, 11).
Ever since they were small, one was always the spokesperson and the other was the enforcer.
Despite everything he’s been through, Fraser ended his interview on a hopeful note by saying: ‘I feel a lot better now’.
Making the move into television, he’s next set to star in an upcoming series called Trust, which focuses on the 1973 abduction of John Paul Getty III – the heir to the Getty Oil company.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.