Born in Paisley, Scotland, to Margaret and Edward Butler, Gerard Butler was raised along with his older brother and sister in his hometown of Paisley, Scotland. He also spent some of his youth in Canada. His parents divorced when he was a child, and he and his siblings were raised primarily by their mother, who later remarried. He had no contact with his father between the ages of two and 16 years old, after which time they became close. His father passed away when Gerard was in his early 20s. Butler went on to attend Glasgow University, where he studied to be a lawyer/solicitor. He was president of the school's law society thanks to his outgoing personality and great social skills.
His acting career began when he was approached in a London coffee shop by actor Steven Berkoff, who later appeared alongside Butler in Attila (2001/I) (TV), who gave him a role in a stage production of Coriolanus. After that Butler decided to give up law for acting. He was cast as Ewan McGregor's character Renton in the stage adaptation of [i]Trainspotting[/i]. His film debut was as Billy Connolly's younger brother in _Mrs. Brown (1997)_. While filming the movie in Scotland, he was enjoying a picnic with his mother, near the River Tay, when they heard the shouts of a young boy who had been swimming with a friend who was in some trouble. Butler jumped in and saved the young boy from drowning. He received a Certificate of Bravery from the Royal Humane Society. He felt he only did what anyone in the situation would have done.
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