Russell Brand’s parenting style is under fire from moms and fellow dads. The comedian ruffled feathers with an interview over the weekend in which he admitted he leaves most day-to-day parenting tasks to his wife — basically, because she’s better at it.
Brand married lifestyle blogger Laura Gallacher in 2017 and they have two daughters: Mabel, 2, and Peggy, six months. During his sit-down with the U.K.’s The Sunday Times Magazine, the Forgetting Sarah Marshall star makes it clear his family has changed his life for the better. He dedicated his new book, Mentors, two his two girls; however, interviewer Decca Aitkenhead noted she was “perturbed” by the chapter about fatherhood, “where it sounds rather as if he’s transferred his idealized fantasies of feminine perfection onto his daughters.”
Apparently, the entertainer is neurotic about anyone touching them and is horrified by playdates. “There is nothing playful about a playdate,” he explained. “It’s an unrestrained, unmanaged, dangerous experiment that places my precious, perfect little girl in the company of anonymous, unvetted, potential arseholes.”
The conversation shifted to the length of time he’s looked after his girls. “That’s a good question, isn’t it? Well, OK. The two of them? Well, not long, not long… Um, I’ve done like, a night. But they’re asleep then,” he revealed, affirming it certainly hasn’t been longer than 24 hours.
“She wouldn’t go away for 24 hours, Laura,” he noted. “She respects and cares for their safety too much. Yes, I’m very, very focused on the mystical connotations of Mabel’s beauty and grace. Not so good on the [diapers] and making sure that they eat food. When I looked after Mabel on her own, she dropped two social classes in an hour. In no time at all we’re in a coffee shop, she’s just got a nappy on, she’s covered in stuff because I’m not willing to fight any of the battles. I’m like, f*** it, it doesn’t matter whether she wears trousers, no, I suppose it doesn’t matter if she does that. So it looks a bit Shameless within a couple of hours. Laura’s able to sustain and maintain domesticity in a way that’s astonishing. I didn’t have much experience of how to organize domesticity. I do whatever I’m told.”
After seeing a likely horrified expression on the interviewer’s face, he added: “I feel like I’m doing a f***ing probation interview.”
When asked why he doesn’t do more of the practical parenting, Brand explained he’s “still of a romantic and reflective and, possibly, to give it its proper name, a religious disposition. That’s my world view. That’s not necessarily what you want [organizing] pragmatic, bureaucratic, managerial stuff.”
The managerial stuff means remembering to pack diapers or snacks for the kids. “Oh totally, Laura does all of it,” he confirmed. “It turns out that she is extremely well versed in the nuances and complexities of child-rearing. Me, I am dedicated to it, devoted to it, but I am still surprised when it’s like, ‘Oh my God, this is f***ing really hard and it’s so exhausting.’ The younger one, I just feel inept so quickly, like with the crying.”
Looking worried, Brand added, “I would hate for you to leave with the impression that I’m sort of sat watching television, peering over the armchair at what’s going on. I’m not. Yesterday, like, I drove Mabel to the playschool and I drop her at the playschool. But I’m sensitive and awake and aware, so I have to dial a lot of s*** down to go through normal life.”
Naturally, parents and non-parents alike had a lot of thoughts after reading the interview — and they weren’t great.
Brand had a few people defending him, too.
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