Parents' marriage made Wilson 'avoid relationships' - 4 minutes read

Parents' marriage made Wilson 'avoid relationships'

1 June 2024

By Michael Sheils McNamee, BBC News

Watching the issues in her parents' marriage pushed Rebel Wilson to avoid "any kind of romantic relationship", she has said in a new interview.

The Australian actor and comedian told BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs that she thought being in a relationship "might chain me to a situation I didn’t want to be in".

Speaking to host Lauren Laverne, she touched on her childhood, weight loss and the controversy following the recent publication of her biography.

In her book Rebel Rising: A Memoir, released earlier this year, Wilson wrote about her father's anger issues and having a lengthy estrangement from him.

Wilson's father Warwick died aged 62 in 2013 from a heart attack.

"[Wilson's mother Sue Bownds] never actually divorced him but she kicked him out of the house when I was 16 and so she should have," Wilson told Desert Island Discs host Laverne.

"I was very proud of her for doing that, it must have taken every piece of strength that she had after years of being like emotionally abused."

Wilson said her mother was "really so encouraging" and pushed her "to go out into the world and just chase your dreams", and that she reconciled with her father prior to his death.

"The anger just turned to pity because I saw a man that had nobody really in his life," she said.

“He was very proud of me becoming an actress… he loved Monty Python, Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers all those classics.

“I feel really proud that he did get to see that I was a success and I think he was very sorry for a lot of his actions even though he never expressed that.”

Wilson said binge eating, something she has struggled with in the past, could also be traced back to her childhood - and her relationship with her father.

"My father would say stuff like 'you know your mum doesn't love you, she loves the dogs' and would plant these things in my head," she said.

"When I became about 11 or so I realised he's not telling the truth about that… As a little girl the way of coping would be, which I learned from my mother, was to eat sweets. That numbed any kind of feelings of pain or emotions running."

Rebel Wilson says Bridesmaids co-star Matt Lucas helped her dealing with fame. He was “like an older brother. He’d been through it all in the UK and he just would give me advice about how to handle stuff, so he was he was a great help”

In her book, the Pitch Perfect star revealed that she lost her virginity at the age of 35, calling herself a "late bloomer".

In 2022, she confirmed she was in a relationship with fashion designer Ramona Agruma - after being given a two-day deadline by a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald to respond to a request for comment on a story about her relationship.

The paper later apologised, and said there had been issues with its reporting.

"I wasn’t hiding my relationship with Ramona but it was something we were slowly telling people in our lives," she said.

Wilson said there were people in their respective families who did not know about the relationship, but she decided to go public because "I wasn't going to let some journalists do it".

“I put it on Instagram, a nice picture of one of our first dates and I just thought all this time I thought I was looking for a Disney prince but maybe what I really needed was a Disney princess.”

She added Agruma's father was still not speaking to her, but they hoped that would change.

"It was just stressful that we were forced to do something before we were quite ready to announce that to the world," Wilson said.

“The first time I got laughs I very quickly computed there's something about me that people find funny so I'm going to lean into it,” the Pitch Perfect star told Desert Island Discs

Rebel Rising: A Memoir received intense scrutiny ahead of its publication, largely due to allegations about Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen, who Wilson starred alongside in the 2016 film Grimsby - with the eventual UK text appearing with the section blacked out.

Wilson described the film as one of her "worst professional experiences".

She said it "crossed the line" and created an experience where she felt "humiliated and degraded for being an overweight woman".

In an earlier statement given to the BBC, Baron Cohen's spokesperson said "while we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence".

Source: BBC News

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