Russell Brand's controversial career

Russell Brand has never been one for a quiet life.

The self-confessed former heroin addict has courted controversy since launching a media career on the back of his success as a stand-up comedian.

The day after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, he turned up for work at MTV dressed as Osama bin Laden. The Select presenter was sacked two days later.

The following year he was sacked by radio station Xfm after he read pornographic material on air during a Sunday afternoon show.

Brand, 33, a vegetarian who grew up in Grays, Essex cared for by his mother Barbara, left the Italia Conti theatre school after he was found high on drugs.

He said his habit worsened when success gave him more money to buy drugs.

Clean since 2003, Brand is now a patron of the rehab charity Focus 12.

In 2004 Brand joined the Big Brother team, presenting a sister show on E4 for three years. Afterwards he thanked the producers for "taking the risk of employing an ex-junkie twerp".

Brand presented the 2006 NME Awards where he clashed with Bob Geldof who insulted him as he collected the best DVD award for Live 8.

"It's no wonder Bob Geldof knows so much about famine - he's been dining out on I Don't Like Mondays for 30 years," Brand quickly replied.

He later said Geldof's criticism had stung.

The same year, Brand fell out with Rod Stewart at the GQ Man of the Year awards when he claimed he had slept with Stewart's daughter Kimberly.

He admitted the claim was false after Stewart confronted him on stage.

Brand was named best stand-up comedian in 2006 by Time Out and in 2007 published his well received autobiography My Booky Wook.

The on-off actor had successful film roles in last year's St Trinian's and Forgetting Sarah Marshall which was released this summer.

But he sparked controversy again during a performance at the Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton in July when he made a hoax call to police.

During the call, Brand claimed he had spotted a man responsible for a series of assaults.

He later apologised and Northamptonshire Police decided not to bring charges.

He made headlines again in September when he presented the MTV Video Music Awards and described US president George Bush as "that retard and cowboy fella".

He added: "It was nice of you to let him have a go, because, in England, he wouldn't be trusted with a pair of scissors."

The awards also sparked rumours about a fling with Britney Spears.

During the ceremony, Brand spoke of the singer's "resurrection" and added: "If there was a female Christ, it's Britney."

Soon afterwards he split up with his girlfriend, Australian actress Teresa Palmer.

Brand, who has admitted to sleeping with prostitutes, being promiscuous and "obsessed by sex", has denied being a sex addict.

A regular in tabloid gossip columns, he has admitted struggling to maintain relationships and has been linked to celebrities including Kate Moss.

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