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On returning to Scotland, Butler – who had been head of the law society at university – took up his post as a trainee civil lawyer in an Edinburgh law firm. Stories of excess abound – from smashing bottles over his own head to hanging from the railings of a cruise ship singing Rod Stewart’s Sailing.
The week before he was due to qualify, he was fired.
Now I’m over that hill, my career seems to have its own momentum.’ On the back of 300, Guy Ritchie cast Butler as one of the leads in Rockn Rolla (2008).
The film had mixed reviews, but it served as a showcase for Butler’s strain of self-effacing humour that, around the same time, was making its appearance in PS I Love You, a weepy romantic comedy with Hilary Swank.
A bookie who at one time had five betting shops in Glasgow, he used to entertain his family with stories of how he had beaten Roger Bannister in the mile.
As unreliable as he was entertaining, he disappeared from his children’s lives for 14 years.
One day, when he was 16, Gerard Butler came home from school (St Mirin’s and St Margaret’s High School in Paisley where he excelled and rose to the position of head boy) to be told that his father was waiting for him in a nearby restaurant.