Scottish actor Gerard Butler spent seven miserable years studying law before trying his hand at acting on the London stage. Half a decade later, a much happier Butler had over a dozen theater, movie, and television credits under his belt, including starring roles in the stage version of Trainspotting (1996) and the award-winning film Mrs. Brown (1997).
Born on November 13, 1969, in Glasgow, Butler is the youngest of Margaret and Edward Butler's three children; he has a sister and a brother. When Butler was barely six months old, his family relocated to Montréal, Canada, where his father undertook several failed business ventures. A year and a half later, Butler's parents divorced, and his mother took the children back to Scotland. He saw his father once more when he was four years old, and then not again until he was 16. In the meantime, Butler grew up in his mother's hometown of Paisley, where he frequented a nearby movie theater. Enamored with acting, he convinced his mother to take him to auditions, eventually joining the Scottish Youth Theatre and playing a street urchin in Oliver! at the Kings Theatre in Glasgow. An exceptional student, Butler graduated at the top of his class. Hoping to please his family and his teachers, who felt acting was an unrealistic career choice, Butler enrolled in Glasgow University's law program. He served as the president of the school's law society and earned an honor's degree.