Five Of The Most Surprising Revelations From Rose McGowan’s Memoir ‘Brave’

We recently got our hands on a copy of Rose McGowan‘s new memoir Brave and devoured it from cover to cover. While it contains a harrowing account of her abuse at the hands of a certain infamous film producer (she never refers to him by name, only calling him ‘The Monster‘), it contains a wealth of other revelations.

Brave covers Rose McGowan’s highly unconventional upbringing, her uncomfortable time in the spotlight, and her eventual decision to quit Hollywood, after a photo shoot pushed her to breaking point. Here are five of the most surprising things that we learned from the book.

She was raised in a religious cult in the Italian countryside

McGowan was born in a stone barn in the outside of Florence, and spent her formative years in the Children Of God cult. Her descriptions of the rolling hills and vineyards contrast with stories about the harsh physical punishments she received for refusing, as she says, to let God into her heart. She describes the cult as “a highly sexualised environment, run by men to benefit men”, and says that leader Moses David would routinely send out girls (that he called “hookers for Jesus”) to lure young men into the cult. She, her father and a number of siblings eventually fled the Children of God, but it left a mark on her, and she says that from the age of “three or four”, she was forced to learn lessons about surviving.

The Columbine massacre profoundly affected her then-boyfriend Marilyn Manson

Rose McGowan met Marilyn Manson – Manson, as she refers to him – in the mid-to-late 1990s, and the two quickly became inseparable. He comes across as a gentle soul in the book, and their relationship seems to have been a period of relative calm. On a typical day, she says, “Manson was painting watercolours of my Boston terriers while I was ordering glassware from Martha Stewart‘s online store.”

Things changed for the couple after the Columbine massacre in 1999, the first mass-shooting an American high school. Though the killers wrote about their dislike of Marilyn Manson in their manifesto, TV news coverage linked him to the killing, suggesting that his music had helped inspire it, and overnight, they began to receive death and bomb threats, and were forced to beef up their security.

The “enmity and hatred and rage” Manson experienced in this time took a toll on both, and they eventually broke up in 2001.

Robert Rodriguez would play “cruel power games” with her

In a chapter called ‘Destruction’, McGowan describes her relationship with her Planet Terror director Robert Rodriguez. She says he started out as a “gentleman” when they began dating, but began to play “increasingly cruel power games” with her, one of which involved the name Cherry Darling. When she told her him that she had always dreamed of having a little girl and calling her that, he said that this would be the name of her character in the script that he was writing. “That way you can’t have a child with another man and call it that,” he supposedly said. “This is our baby. It’ll last for all time. This is the child we’re making.”

She suffered a botched sinus surgery and didn’t tell anyone

After injuring her arm on the set of Planet Terror, McGowan decided to undergo a sinus surgery she had been putting off. A mistake left her with a puncture under her eye, and when the resulting reconstructive surgeries left her eyes on different levels, still more work was needed to correct that. “I told my publicists what happened and they said to say it was a car accident,” she explains in the book. “That became the party line.” A year of doctor’s appointments followed, and constant plastic surgery taunts and unflattering photos in the tabloids left her “scared, sad and broken.”

A Rolling Stone cover photo brought her to breaking point

When promoting Planet Terror, Rose McGowan appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with Rosario Dawson, but says that the photo shoot was the point where she snapped out of her “Hollywood brainwashing.” She arrived at the shoot to find that there was no wardrobe, and that she was to stand on a box, butt-to-butt with Dawson as the two of them were draped in ammunition and sprayed with fake tan. “I realised I was being photographed by a gay male who was imagining me as what he thinks a straight man wants to fuck,” she explains. “I knew I had to do something about what I’d let my life become.”

Brave is out now.