Gerard James Butler was born in Paisley, Scotland on November 13, 1969, the youngest of three children. When he was a toddler, his parents moved to Montreal, Canada but the marriage broke up and his mother returned to Scotland, settling in Glasgow.

Butler grew up in a single-parent home and did not see his father again for fourteen years.

Gerard ("Gerry to his friends) attended the University of Glasgow Law School.

He told Esquire Magazine:

"I wasn't going to be an actor. I was going to be a lawyer. I came from a family just above working class, just below middle class, a great family of wonderful values.

"The idea of me having a chance for a law degree was enticing. Enticing to me but also very enticing to my family.

"Wow! One of our own is studying law at university!"

At law school, he sang in a rock band (Speed) and held the position of president of the student law society.

But he was unceremoniously removed from this elected position for reasons still unknown and left Glasgow for California when he lived at Venice Beach, California until he spent a night in jail in Los Angeles.

Gerard ButlerAfter that scare, he returned to the U. of G. law school and obtained his LL.B. in 1992. He is still listed by the law school as a "notable alumni", albeit described as an "actor".

Butler then entered his articling period which, in Scotland, is a two-year commitment. All the better jobs had been taken by his classmates previously graduated. Still, he was offered a job and started work but says he was done-in by the suit, shirt-and-tie stuffiness.

"When I put on a suit and a tie, I became desperately unhappy. There was something else at work, something I didn't have control of. If I hadn't (messed) up that job, I wouldn't be sitting here right now. I might be a very mediocre lawyer in some small town in the middle of Scotland.

"I became quite infamous in Scottish legal circles. It's very difficult to be fired as a trainee lawyer — they just don't qualify you at the end of two years. But they actually fired me one week before I was due to qualify."1

Another version of his alleged notoriety in "Scottish legal circles":

"His partying was out of control. 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. It was, he remembers, one of the lowest days of his life."2

His own words, a career in law as a solicitor was not him:

"I hated every minute of it. It just wasn't me. I never felt fulfilled. I partied a lot and abused the privileges of my firm."

Gerard Butler was drawn to another branch of the performing arts, theatre, and in spite of a complete absence of any formal training as an actor. He pursued an acting career which paid dividends when he was hired for a small part in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

In 2000, he moved to Hollywood and has never looked back as his career since has been phenomenal. For a complete list of his impressive acting credits, see the Internet Movie Database.

Butler is now a self-professed teetotaler and a disciple of Depak Chopra but struggles with substance abuse.3

He supports and has been a public spokesperson for Artists for Peace and Justice which builds schools in Haiti. He is also a public spokesperson for Kids Kicking Cancer, a program that connects very sick children with karate.