Five Things You Don't Know About Russell Brand

Five Things You Don't Know About Russell Brand
Russell Brand
BAUER-GRIFFIN

09/08/2008 AT 05:10 PM EDT

Not everything Russell Brand said at Sunday's Video Music Awards was met with approval, but that's in keeping with the comic style of the controversial host of the show.

So, just who is this guy with the shaggy hair and the gall to call Britney the second Christ?

Here are five things you may not know about him:

He's 33 and born in Essex, east of London – just like David Beckham. And like Beckham, he's soccer-mad. He pens a column on the game for a national newspaper and supports West Ham. Raised by his mother, Barbara, after his father left home when he was 16, he has confessed to having eating disorder around age 12. "It was really unusual in boys, quite embarrassing. But I found it euphoric," he told the Observer in 2006.

He was a standup comedian who made his name presenting youthful late-night talk shows in the U.K. and companion programs to Big Brother. His working life hasn't been without drama: MYV Europe fired him two days after arriving at work – "with typical restraint" – dressed as Osama Bin Laden. He blamed the episode on heroin (he was using the drug at the time), and has cleaned up since. Last year PETA voted him Europe's sexiest vegetarian.

He has completed therapy, in Philadelphia, for sex addiction. "Sex is recreational for me," he wrote last year.

He a reformed chauvinist. He says he "hasn't always treated women well" and has claimed to have had a "harem"of 10 women." Nowadays, however, he is a one-woman man. He is dating Australian actress Teresa Palmer, 22. She joined him Sunday at the VMAs.

His career ranges from movies to books. Recent screen credits include 2007's St. Trinian's and this year's Forgetting Sarah Marshall. His autobiography, drawing on his experiences, has been a big hit, selling a phenomenal 600,000 hardback copies in the U.K. – the equivalent, per capita, of selling 3 million in the U.S., where it is set to be released this spring.

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