Bear Grylls helped to baptise Russell Brand in the River Thames

‘Friendships when we go through tough times are worth so much,’ the TV survivalist said

Lydia Spencer-Elliott
Wednesday 08 May 2024 07:10 BST
Russell Brand reveals Bear Grylls helped baptise him in River Thames

Bear Grylls has confirmed he stood by Russell Brand’s side when the comedian was baptised in the River Thames last week.

Brand shared a video to social media detailing how Grylls was one of two men who “flanked him” during the ceremony where he lives in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

The 48-year-old comedian had previously called baptism an “opportunity to leave the past behind”, less than a year after a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary exposed allegations of sexual assault against him.

“Week one as a Christian has been amazing,” Brand said in the video.

“The ceremony itself was incredible. I want to thank Bear Grylls and my mate Joe, the two men that stood either side of me and flanked me for the baptism itself.”

Grylls confirmed his attendance to the Daily Mail and described assisting in Brand’s baptism as a “privilege” after the comedian’s “tough time”.

“Faith and spiritual moments in our lives are really personal,” he told the publication. “But it is a privilege to stand beside anyone when they express a humble need for forgiveness and strength from above.

“Friendships when we go through tough times are worth so much,” he added.

Russell Brand revealed on social media Bear Grylls helped to baptise him in the River Thames last week
Russell Brand revealed on social media Bear Grylls helped to baptise him in the River Thames last week (Russell Brand)

In a previous Instagram video, Brand told his followers he felt “incredibly blessed” after his baptism in the River Thames. “I got baptised and it was an incredible, profound experience,” he said. “I’m so grateful to be surrendered in Christ.”

In September last year, a Channel 4 Dispatches and Sunday Times investigation revealed accusations by four women of rape, sexual assault and abuse at the height of Brand’s fame between 2006 and 2013.

Brand, who the Metropolitan Police have questioned, has strongly denied all accusations and recently told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a YouTube video that the claims were “very, very hurtful”.

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Channel 4 has since been forced to question how much its bosses were aware of as the presenter worked on the broadcaster’s programmes Big Brother’s Big Mouth and Kings Of Comedy between 2004 and 2007.

Publishing its findings from an internal investigation in March, the channel found “no evidence” that its bosses knew about the allegations against Brand.

According to the Dispatches investigation published in September, Brand allegedly entered a relationship with one of the women when he was 31 and she was aged 16. On their first date, she claims he asked her to confirm if she was 16 and said: “I don’t give a f*** if you’re 12 ... I need to know where I stand legally.”

She claims that he sexually assaulted her at his home just before their relationship ended.

In his interview with Carlson, Brand said his infant son was undergoing heart surgery at the time the allegations were exposed.

Grylls confirmed his attendance at Brand’s ceremony and said it was a ‘privilege’ to attend
Grylls confirmed his attendance at Brand’s ceremony and said it was a ‘privilege’ to attend (Getty Images)

“I suppose what that did is it revealed that what we were experiencing was a public concoction,” said the Get Him To The Greek actor. “I am aware that I put myself in an extremely vulnerable position by being very, very promiscuous. That is not the kind of conduct that I endorse, and it’s certainly not how I would live now.

“I’ve been shown a good many things, as a result of these events – the value of my family, the value of friendship, the value of being able to speak publicly.

“I mentioned my son because throughout it I was able to maintain what is really important in life ... hurtful as it is to be accused of what I consider to be the most appalling crimes, to be accused of this is very, very painful, and very hurtful.”

He added: “But I am being shown that there are consequences for the rather foolish way that I lived in the past – although of course again to reiterate, due to the nature of the world we live, of course I deny any allegations of the kind that have been advanced.”

Brand and Grylls previously spent time together in 2023 when the comedian appeared on Running Wild with Bear Grylls and the pair hiked across the Hebrides together.

The TV survivalist is an advocate for Christianity and has appeared in promotional videos for the Alpha course, which claims to have recruited 29 million people to the faith.

Alpha course was created by the Anglican priest Nicky Gumbel at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in Knightsbridge in 1991.

Brand and Grylls previously spent time together in 2023 when the comedian appeared on ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls’
Brand and Grylls previously spent time together in 2023 when the comedian appeared on ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls’ (Apple TV+)

As well as Grylls, former cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair and Spice Girl Geri Halliwell have all attended the organisation’s gatherings.

Writing for GQ in 2017, Grylls said he believes there’s a difference between “faith” and “religion” and described Jesus as a party lover.

“I meet so many people who don’t want ‘religion’ as such,” the Chief Scout said. “I get it. I feel the same. And, in fact, so did Jesus, the heart of all Christian faith. Faith and religion are not the same thing.

“The Jesus I read about in the Bible was fun, free and wild,” he continued.

“He loved a party and he always hung out with the non-religious folk. The only people he ever got angry with were the overly religious types.”

Grylls has been contacted by The Independent for comment.

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