RUPERT Everett has played some of Hollywood's most interesting characters – but his real life story makes him one too.
The 61-year-old actor has always been extremely honest about his life before superstardom – which included sex work, drugs, and getting kicked out of an acting school.
He's now set to open up about his rollercoaster career once again on Piers Morgan's Life Stories.
His lovers have included the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Paula Yates, and he had a high-profile friendship with Madonna – and even more notorious fallout with her.
And he's also attracted a reputation for controversy, once sending a cutting of his pubic hair to a critic who'd not enjoyed one of his performances.
But despite his explosive past, he says he now leads a much quieter life.
"My brain is slightly shattered and it’s the only thing that I really like, apart from my eyesight," he told The Times last year.
"So I think all the drug-taking was a waste of time, looking back. I adored it at the time.”
Heroin to Hollywood
Everett was left his privileged education at 16 and was a movie star by 22 – and had been a sex worker with a heroin habit in between.
The son of an army major, he left his Catholic boarding school as soon as he could to enrol in a drama school in London.
There, he worked as a rent boy to make cash before his insubordinate behaviour got him kicked out of the acting school.
Everett says he "sort of fell into" sex work when he was approached outside a London tube station.
"I didn't set out to hustle, but this guy offered me such a massive amount of money, well, it was like a year-and-a-half's pocket money," The Independent reports.
At 18, his parents were worried for their son's future.
"My parents thought I was going off the rails, so they thought the best thing to do would be to send me to a good French family so I could learn French and straighten myself up," Everett told MailOnline.
But on his first day in the French capital, he went out for a walk – and quickly went down a road his upstanding family probably wouldn't have approved of.
"In the Bois de Boulogne I found a truck with a transsexual sex worker living in it," he says.
"I made friends with her and I kind of lived in her world."
He was also taking heroin – but his drug use never got in the way of his insatiable ambition.
His big break came at 22 when he played Colin Firth's character's lover in Another Country.
Soon he was considered the next big thing in Hollywood, scooping roles in classic films like Dance With a Stranger and playing Julia Roberts' gay best friend in My Best Friend's Wedding.
He had Hollywood at his feet – even Orson Welles was so impressed with him that he invited Everett to Hollywood to play a young Welles in his film Cradle Will Rock, but Welles died before the film was made.
When Everett came back to London, he starred in a production of Noel Coward's play The Vortex, which is about drug abuse in Britain after the First World War.
When a couple wrote to complain about Everett's performance, he replied by sending them a cutting of his pubic hair in the post.
'Sex was freedom'
They were by no means the only people Everett rubbed up the wrong way over the course of his explosive career.
He famously had a 20-year feud with his Another Country co-star Colin Firth, who Everett called boring.
In return, Firth described Everett as a "monster" and it wasn't until they worked together on The Importance of Being Earnest in 2002 that they reconciled.
Arguably even worse than his feud with Firth was his fallout with Madonna, who was upset about what Everett wrote about her in his 2006 memoir, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins.
In it, he accused her of secretly touching her then-husband Sean Penn in a sexual way during the first meal Everett had with Madonna.
He also wrote that she smells "vaguely of sweat" and likened her to a "whiny barmaid".
But the book's most explosive revelation was an account of a six-year affair he had with TV presenter Paula Yates while she was married to Bob Geldof.
Yates and Geldof came to see Everett on stage and, when she went to interview Everett for a magazine the next day, the affair started.
"Her skirts and petticoats were like an overflowing bubble bath, snapping with electricity, and at some point the interview ended and a strange love affair of utter misfits began," Everett wrote.
"She was married. I was gay. These constraints operated like a kind of safety net and there were no obstacles between us."
Everett has since said that he does not regret having the affair.
Yates died of a heroin overdose in 2000.
"It didn't matter to me who I was having sex with," Everett recently told MailOnline of the affair.
"Sex was freedom, or it felt like it.
"Sex was the bottle you could throw through the window to smash everything up."
Clash with 'killer' Piers Morgan
Everett now leads a more settled life living with his mum and partner Henrique – but he's still attracted controversy in recent years.
He was accused of transphobia when he called Caitlyn Jenner a "cross-dressing man", though he later said on a Loose Women appearance that his comments had been taken out of context and insisted that he "adored" Jenner.
He's a killer
Everett also said he felt that “the gay movement has been completely overshadowed by the trans movement” and said if he was 15 now, he'd be transitioning, because he wanted to be a girl until leaving school, he told The Times.
Everett is now due to appear on Piers Morgan's Life Stories – which caused raised eyebrows among those who've been following his feud with Morgan.
It began when they appeared on the Comic Relief edition of the Apprentice back in 2007.
Everett fled the production after having a panic attack, later describing Morgan as reminding him of the people he was terrified of at school.
In an interview with The Guardian, Everett also described Morgan as "a killer", "slobby and elephantine", and added that he imagined Morgan was "hung like a budgie".
Morgan later revealed that he began their Life Stories interview by confronting Everett with the unkind comments.
"He paused for several awkward seconds, staring at my faux-outraged face in intense contemplative silence, doubtless fearing he may have stumbled into a ghastly revenge trap, and then he burst out laughing and exclaimed: ‘I’m sorry!’" Morgan wrote of the encounter in his Daily Mail column.
"This made me burst out laughing too."
"‘To be fair, you weren’t entirely wrong in your assessment,’ I admitted. ‘Apart from the budgie bit, obviously.’"
Piers Morgan's Life Stories is on at 9pm on Thursday, 4 March, on ITV
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