Bear Grylls assists in baptism of Russell Brand in River Thames: 'Privilege'

'Friendships when we go through tough times are worth so much'

Bear Grylls appears in a clip from 'You vs. Wild,' a Netflix interactive series published on Mar 27, 2019.
Bear Grylls appears in a clip from "You vs. Wild," a Netflix interactive series published on Mar 27, 2019. | YouTube/Netflix

TV host and author Bear Grylls assisted in the recent baptism of comedian and actor Russell Brand in the River Thames last week.

Brand, 48, posted an image on Instagram of himself embracing 49-year-old Grylls and another friend after his baptism, writing, "Me, Bear Grylls, The River Thames and of course, The Holy Spirit."

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A post shared by Russell Brand (@russellbrand)

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Brand made headlines last month for announcing his decision to be baptized after publicly wrestling with the tenets of Christianity and reading Christian authors such as C.S. Lewis and Rick Warren for months.

Brand was baptized on April 28 in the River Thames near his home in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

Brand subsequently described his baptism as an "incredible and profound experience" that has left him feeling "changed" and "surrendered in Christ."

"Week one as a Christian has been amazing," Brand said in another video. "The ceremony itself was incredible. I want to thank Bear Grylls and my mate Joe, the two men that stood either side of me and flanked me for the baptism itself."

One of the United Kingdom's most prominent Christian celebrities, Grylls starred in Discovery Channel's "Man vs. Wild" and hosted "Running Wild with Bear Grylls" on National Geographic. He has described himself as an "unconventional Christian" and has promoted the Alpha course, which claims to have introduced approximately 29 million people to the faith.

Grylls confirmed to The Daily Mail that he helped baptize Brand, an act he described as a "privilege" after his friend's "tough time" following multiple sexual assault allegations.

"Faith and spiritual moments in our lives are really personal," he told the outlet. "But it is a privilege to stand beside anyone when they express a humble need for forgiveness and strength from above. Friendships when we go through tough times are worth so much."

Brand and Grylls became friends through their work in television, according to The Daily Mail.

Brand's baptism came less than a year after a joint investigation by The TimesThe Sunday Times and Channel 4's Dispatches reported on allegations from four women who accused Brand of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse.

Brand has denied the "very serious criminal allegations" and acknowledged that while he was "very, very promiscuous" in the past, his sexual encounters were "always consensual."

Brand said during an interview with Tucker Carlson last year that he realized his need for God after coming to realize the futility of fame and fortune.

"Like many desperate people, I need spirituality," the former Buddhist said. "I need God, or I cannot cope in this world. I need to believe in the best in people."

Acknowledging he "didn't have enough self-discipline to resist the allure of stardom," he said he "fell face-first into the glitter, and I'm only just pulling myself out now."

During the video announcing his baptism, Brand joked that he might also be getting baptized in toxoplasmosis and E. coli in the heavily polluted Thames.

"I may be leaving behind the sins, but I might be picking up some pretty serious viruses," he said.

Brand risked contracting "bloody diarrhea" and long-term gut issues for being baptized in the river, according to a doctor who spoke to The Daily Express.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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