Occasionally there are stars that shine so bright, you can’t escape them. In the 90s and early 2000s, their faces are everywhere: in one blockbuster film after another, billboards, magazines, and television. Then just as quickly as they gained luminance, they’re gone from the public eye without a trace. These days, celebrities can make a tweet or video crying for help when it comes to mental illness or physical ailments, but Brendan Fraser chose to keep his private life quiet, until now.
I myself have wondered where the star had gone in the past decade or so. Fraser peaked stardom in the late 90s in THE MUMMY movie series, and then had a few not so great roles after like GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE, and DUDLEY DO-RIGHT, but after that? Sure, he popped up here or there to star in another flop LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION, and then took us by surprise with his supporting role in 2004’s CRASH, only to go back under the public’s radar shortly after. Four years later he held a starring role in JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, then another two years after that in 2010 he emerges again to star in a Broadway comedy ELLING which flopped and fizzled out. Things in his career went from bumpy to downhill from there.
What was going on with him and between all of those gaps in his resume? I’ve seen the media speculate all kinds of things over the years about what is going on with Fraser from “getting too ugly to be on screen”, “taking on too many bad roles”, to “being too much of a real life spaz”. Media speculation can be pretty mean, sometimes.
Fraser opened up to GQ.com, telling the world that his health and life simply got in the way.
Some of the roles he took on, like THE MUMMY, were very physical and hard on his body. He was doing his stunts. At one point, he was in and out of the hospital for nearly seven years! By time of the third production of THE MUMMY, his body was a complete wreck.
“I was put together with tape and ice – just, like, really nerdy and fetishy about ice packs. Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads, ’cause they’re small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily. I needed a laminectomy. And the lumbar didn’t take, so they had to do it again a year later.”
The man’s body seemed to be falling apart. He’s had a partial knee replacement, the mentioned laminectomy (removal of one or more vertebrae to relieve pressure on the nerves in the spine), vocal cord repair, and bolts put in his spine.
Fraser began to suffer depression in 2003 after Philip Berk, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association grabbed him in "jest" (as Berk later described).
“His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around… I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.”
Something like this wouldn’t fly at all today in a social political climate where even Terry Crews can come out about being sexually harassed without taking flak. Fraser kept this to himself, as he feared that it would become a part of his narrative, and it wore on his mental health over time, along with misfortunes that came his way.
UPDATE: Brendan’s sexual assault is now under investigation since he came out with it.
His body was wrecked, his marriage fell apart in 2009, he was losing roles left and right.
In 2016 he sat down for his first interview in YEARS with AOL (that’s still a thing?). This is where the short lived “Sad Brendan Fraser” meme got started. In my opinion, he did a pretty good job of hiding the fact that his mother had just died of cancer days before the interview
These days he lives his life out on a dirt road outside of Bedford, New York with his horse and spirit animal named, Pecas, which means “freckles” in Spanish. He met the horse on the set of History Channel’s TEXAS RISING IN 2015. He projected onto/related to a look in the horse’s eye that said to him “Get me out of here, man.”
Fraser is actually in the midst of a comeback on television (CONDOR, TRUST) and in movies (THE FIELD, BEHIND THE CURTAIN OF THE NIGHT)!
Check out the full article here! Brendan Fraser's GQ Profile