Richard Madden: Being bullied at school made my childhood ‘constant humiliation’

The Bodyguard star was attacked by his peers for being overweight.
The Bodyguard star was attacked by his peers for being overweight.

Richard Madden has said being bullied at school “f*****” him up and continues to be a “hangover” in his life today.

The Bodyguard star, 32, said growing up in his “rough” hometown of Elderslie in west Scotland was “constant humiliation” and that his peers bullied him for being overweight.

He told British GQ he had moved to a youth theatre school to improve his confidence but found he was also bullied there.

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition Preview Party – London
Richard Madden has spoken of how he was bullied at school for being overweight (Matt Crossick/PA)

He said: “It was a difficult place to be.

“There’s not a huge industry in that town anymore. It was rough.

“My high school was really rough. Growing up was just constant humiliation really.

“I went to youth theatre to try and get a bit more confidence in myself.

“In hindsight maybe not the best move to try and fit into a rough, very masculine school to say: ‘Now I do song and dance! Yeah, exactly. I got bullied’.”

Asked whether he was still affected today, he replied: “Every day, yeah. You’ve got people f****** looking at you. I think that did f*** me up as a kid and is still a huge hangover around me today.”

Madden’s first film role came when he was cast in an adaption of author Iain Banks’ Complicity, in which he played a victim of rape.

His peers used this to attack him.

He said: “I get raped in it by a big, mid-50s ginger Scotsman.

“Now, when you’re 11 or 12 years old, kids don’t differentiate that that’s not real.

Madden starred alongside Keeley Hawes in BBC One’s Bodyguard (BBC/PA)

“So going into high school, here’s this big fat gay actor guy who got raped.

“That’s how you start off high school.

“So humiliation came from that really, and it rolled on from that too.”

He also spoke of being overweight as a child actor and developing a 38-inch waist.

He said: “I was just eating too much.

“(On sets) you’re constantly given f***ing food all day. Three meals a day, stacked.

“When you’re 12 you’re like, yeah! And I didn’t have many friends as I was on set working with adults.

“I had a 38-inch waist. I mean, Christ alive.

“I didn’t wear denim until I was 19 because my mum couldn’t take jeans up.

“It was hard to take denim up, when you’re sewing. So I wore f****** chinos.”