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Brendan Fraser: his devastating departure from Hollywood explained

The actor has been hugely praised for his role in The Whale

brendan fraser posing

Brendan Fraser has been a familiar face on our screens for decades. Beloved for his roles in blockbusters likeThe Mummy, George of the Jungle and Bedazzled, the actor was booked and busy before seemingly disappearing from Hollywood movies altogether.

The star appeared in TV shows like The Affair and Trust until landing the lead comeback role in The Whale – a role which earned him the ultimate accolade of Best Actor at the Academy Awards. So what happened to Brendan, and what were the circumstances surrounding his exit from Hollywood? 

WATCH: Brendan Fraser's changing looks through the years


Why did Brendan Fraser quit Hollywood?

Speaking to GQ back in 2018, Brendan gave a candid interview about stepping away from Hollywood, both willingly and unwillingly for a plethora of reasons, including accusations of a horrifying sexual assault by the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, which led to depression, a suspicion that he had been blacklisted from the HFPA as a result of his accusations.

brendan venice© Photo: Rex

Brendan at the Venice Film Festival

Speaking about the incident with Philip Berk, he explained: “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… I became depressed… It made me feel reclusive.”

He added: “I don't know if this curried disfavour with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening… The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why. There are many reasons, but was this one of them? I think it was.”

brendan fraser© Photo: Rex

Brendan in George of the Jungle

Brendan Fraser's health struggles

The star also struggled with difficulties surrounding his health, particularly while filming The Mummy 3. He revealed that he suffered years of injuries from the stunts he performed in his various starring roles. Speaking about his health during filming, he explained: "By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China I was put together with tape and ice—just, like, really nerdy and fetishy about ice packs." He needed multiple surgeries following the production including artial knee replacement and operations on his back. 

SEE: Brendan Fraser is unrecognizable after 600lb transformation

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Discussing his life on Twitter following The Whale’s standing ovation, one fan wrote: “If you know anything about Brendan Fraser’s personal life and what happened to his career, then you should be cheering for this man. What a beautiful moment that's well deserved. The beginning of something special.”

brendan fraser hair© Photo: Getty Images

Brendan opened up about being assaulted in 2003 

Speaking about casting Brendan in the role, the director Darren Aronofsky said: “Casting Charlie was a huge challenge for many different reasons. I considered everyone, all different types of actors. Every single movie star on the planet. But none of it ever really clicked, it just didn’t move me, it didn’t feel right. A couple of years ago I caught a trailer from a low-budget Brazilian movie, I saw Brendan in it and a lightbulb went off."

Brendan Fraser's marriage troubles 

Brendan and Afton Smith were married for nine years but calling things quits in 2007, with a publicist releasing a shared statement at the time saying that "they continue to maintain a close and caring friendship". The pair divorced in 2009 with Brendan initially paying $50,000 (£41,000) in spousal support.

brendan ex wife afton 6

The pair finalised their divorce in 2009

However, he sought to have this amended in 2013 citing that he wasn't earning enough for the payments. The divorce took an acrimonious turn as Afton claimed that Brendan was committing fraud and did have the income. However, they came to a modified spousal support agreement.

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