This father, who was a war veteran suffered from PTSD and had been influencing many of his life and career choices even after passing away.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of domestic abuse that may be disturbing to readers.
The stellar actor and the charming personality that is Sir Patrick Stewart oozes confidence and poise. But behind the smile that has charmed many, hides a painful past. According to the Independent, the actor has opened up about his childhood where he had to protect his mother from his abusive father when he was just a 6-year-old boy. Stewart recalls how his life changed when Alfred, his dad, came back from war. “We barely knew him,” he recalled. “He was a stranger to us. He’d drink at the weekends, get angry, and hit my mother. I would put my body between them to protect her.
“Sometimes we’d have to call an ambulance or the police. We asked her to leave him, but she wouldn’t – she adored him.”
Our #MondayMotivation actor Sir Patrick Stewart OBE witnessed his father's attacks on his mother as a child. This led him to become an activist and #SpeakOut against domestic violence. Find out how you can help us end violence against women and girls: https://t.co/jh4tapGZx6 pic.twitter.com/t0FqYFRjVc— Avon Worldwide (@avonworldwide) August 3, 2020
In a 2009 article for The Guardian, Sir Patrick wrote: “As a child, I witnessed his repeated violence against my mother, and the terror and misery he caused were such that, if I felt I could have succeeded, I would have killed him. If my mother had attempted it, I would have held him down. For those who struggle to comprehend these feelings in a child, imagine living in an environment of emotional unpredictability, danger, and humiliation week after week, year after year, from the age of seven."
“My childish instinct was to protect my mother, but the man hurting her was my father, whom I respected, admired, and feared.”
At first, Stewart couldn't understand why his father was always angry. His past led him to support a bunch of anti-domestic violence campaigns over the years, but along with that, he also got to understand what exactly was wrong with his father.
In 2012, while filming for an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? he discovered that while his father had been an excellent soldier and a war hero, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, most commonly seen in veterans. During the same episode, he revealed how his father—who died in 1980— had indirectly influenced his choice of roles throughout his career. “I had been in denial about the impact my father had on my acting until I played Macbeth,” he said. “[The director] Rupert Goold set it in Stalinist Russia."I grew a mustache. And in the first dress rehearsal, I was in battle fatigues and my wonderful dresser handed me my AK47, I put it on my shoulder, turned, and looked in the mirror. My father was looking straight back at me. And that’s when the penny dropped.
“This man had been influencing my life for years and years and years. There is a great deal of Alfred Stewart in [Star Trek character] Jean-Luc Picard.” The actor will ring in his 81st birthday in July, and hopefully, he has a great time then!
Cover image source: Getty Images