‘Why I am still single’
Gerard Butler is Scotland’s hottest export, but he is also Hollywood’s most renowned ladies’ man! Here he tells No.1 why he is single and why his latest movie reveals the ugly truth!
Gerard Butler is one of Scotland’s most successful exports. The Paisley heartthrob is rumoured to be a ladies’ man and has been linked to A-list beauties including Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston.
You are a renowned heartthrob – were you concerned the film would change how women perceived you?
I don’t think I’m pushing my luck. There’s a lot of me in this character. That’s what is so great about this movie. It’s so ridiculous, shocking, and surprising the way I talk about sex, but at the end of the day women get it.
I think it’s right that we see Mike my character let his guard down. It’s a sex comedy; it’s kind of a romantic comedy, and kind of a love story.
Did you need dance lessons for the film?
I took a few lessons because I had no idea what I was doing. I actually had a lesson from Julianne Hough from Dancing with the Stars and that took me a long way. Although I had months to prepare and I still sucked!
Do you think the film is indicative of men and women today?
I have to say that Katie [Katherine Heigl] is deeply flawed in her misunderstanding of the truth of what was on a lot of men’s minds. We never know, as guys, what the hell women talk about when they go to the restroom. They always go to the restroom together.
Likewise, women never really know and this is the first movie that really brings it up, how guys think. I swear, I know I’m going out on a limb here in my career, but it’s almost impossible for a guy to go, “You know what? There are times when I just turn around and look at an ass.” We do that stuff. The guys are like, ‘Oh, thank God somebody said that’ and the women are like, ‘You know what? I knew it! I bloody well knew it!’
What have you discovered that might actually help people on the dating scene?
I hate this question, because it’s okay for Katherine. She’s married. Everybody is like, “Alright, Gerry. You’re so like Mike, aren’t you?” I’m like, “No.” They are all, “Yes, you are.’
So should a woman call if the man doesn’t
call us back?
No. Geez! That’s why I’m single! Yeah, I’m busy. “I’m so busy! Call me six times and maybe I’ll get back to you.” Listen, this is why it’s called ‘The Ugly Truth’. There is an element of truth in that the second you think the girl is maybe not quite as keen; there is a little more ‘Okay...’ Sometimes when it’s there right in front of you it’s not as interesting. Is that right? I’m sorry it’s true.
What are the differences between the way a guy thinks the way girls think?
I thought it was interesting the difference between the ways a guy thinks and a girl thinks at times. When she said, “I waited till three o’clock to call him back.” I thought she was going to say, “I waited until three o’clock before I got out of bed with him.” That’s ‘The Ugly Truth’.
What is the secret to happiness?
One of those vibrators she uses in the movie. [Laughs hysterically.] I find it funny as actors when you play a role, not just you but everyone asks, “What is your secret to a relationship and happiness?” I want to go, “I don’t f**king know. I’m not Dr. Ruth. I have no idea.”
Was it difficult being the Scottish guy?
One of the main reasons I ended up doing this movie was because before it I was doing another action movie where I was very dark and brooding. There’s nothing worse than being a Scots guy with an American accent. I remember going back to Scotland after spending a summer in the States. I was speaking to this guy and he was like, “You’re a f**king Yankee. What the f**k is that?” That’s very much the Scots attitude. I was home recently and I said soccer instead of football. I kid you not. I was flush red for a day after. ‘I said soccer. They are going to kill me.’
Have you always worked out?
No. In fact, it was when I did 300 I was in really bad shape both stamina wise and body wise – trust me. I have this kind of stomach that if it’s relaxed that I can do an alien impersonation for you.
How come you are single?
Well, this is news – I’m gay. No, I’m joking. Actually, I keep my personal life personal. I’m pretty good about being open and talking. I was actually in quite a long relationship up until very recently.
Anyone we know?
Oh, I wouldn’t say.
Would you say you are a romantic?
I think so. At times I’m amazed at my lack of sensitivity. But at times I think I can be very considerate and romantic and generous and then at other times I think that I can be very – how do you say – far too introspective and far too selfish. It might not be deliberately so, but I’m just caught up in my own stuff and I don't think enough about others around me or I’m just a dick – I don’t know [laughs].
How do you manage to stay out the limelight?
Because I haven’t turned out to be the kind of actor that I worried I would, out there eating up all the attention. I mean, I see that around me and it makes me want to vomit. I can’t abide by that. For me, this sums up everything that I hate. I find it very funny. Once there was a girl standing on the press line and everyone is going, “Over here! Over here!” Thousands of pictures going on and then all I heard was one of the photographers go, “Who the f**k are you anyway?” I was like, ‘That’s perfect.’ There is a lot of that in this town.
What about female fans? Have you any crazy ones that try and grab you?
The thing is that I’m a nice guy. I’m not so good at going, ‘I don’t give a f**k about your reaction.’ Then the next minute I'm stuck in a 10-minute conversation with someone who's crying.
Where is home?
Right now I’d say that it’s between L.A. and New York I will probably settle back in Scotland. Although I love Iceland too.
Tell us your life story?
I was born in Glasgow and actually moved to Montreal when I was about six months old. I lived there until I was two and then, my mum and my older brother and sister, we all moved back to Scotland. My mum and dad divorced. I grew up next to Paisley and I come from a huge family. My gran was one of nine, and I had an amazing family. We’re all Irish Catholic.
Your mum and dad split while you were young?
At two and a half years old, my mum left my father because that wasn’t going very well and brought us back to Scotland. So I had the best mother on the planet. So I was never abandoned, but of course you have certain issues because you grew up without a father. When she came back to Scotland she had three kids – she had nothing. She ended up going and taking night classes and became a lecturer in business studies. She then went on to become a senior lecturer at college in business studies which is big, and brought up three kids on her own.
How did you get into acting?
I was bumming around in school, getting into a lot of trouble and then, I remember making a decision that really if I got my head down I may do alright, and suddenly, I was tops of my school and everyone was saying, “Oh, you could be a lawyer”.
So, I went into law because at the time, it seemed like I had a life ahead of me, I became the president of the law society at Glasgow University, and I basically had a ball until I started working because I was five years at university, and then, I was training for two years. I never quite got that far in my career. The first time that I walked into court, I got it all wrong. I banged my leg against the banister and I’ll never forget trying to get my plea right, and I got the plea all wrong. I lost the case.
So what did you do next?
I just became very unhappy with my life and where it was going, and I was one week away from qualifying. I had worked for The Queen Solicitors of Scotland and Andrew Carnegie estate. They were old school, a well-established firm that had been around for like a hundred and fifty years, but I always felt that I was pretending that I was something that I wasn’t.
These people were really lovely and it broke their heart when they had to let me go with a week to go. I became the first trainee lawyer ever to be fired in Scotland.
So then the Attenborough festival came along and Trainspotting the play came to town. I went to watch it and I sat watching this guy onstage playing Renton and it broke my heart. I thought, ‘I just so don’t want to be doing this,’ but the way that my life was going, it was a hopeless feeling, it was a hopeless, sad, bittersweet feeling. A week later, I was fired. The next day, I packed my stuff, I moved down to London and I said, ‘You know what, I’ve screwed my whole life up, I might as well just aim for the stars.’
I got a few commercials and then I got into an audition with a director called Steven Berkoff who was doing a play. So, a year later, I was back on that stage where I’d seen that guy playing his part, I ended up back in Attenborough doing that original play. I suppose it was just meant to be. It’s the way life is sometimes. There are truly things in your life that are meant to be.
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