Gerard became the third child in the Catholic family of Margaret (nee Hunton) and Edward Butler. He has older brothers Brian and sister Lynn.
When he was 6 months old, the family moved to Montreal (Canada), where his father made several attempts to create his own business. However, all his efforts ended in failure, and he blamed his wife and children for all failures. Margaret could not stand it and filed for divorce.
In 1971, together with her children, she returned to Scotland in her hometown of Paisley, where she soon remarried. In Paisley, Gerard Butler’s childhood passed away. Mother raised Gerard and his brother and sister alone, and from 2 to 16 years he never saw his father. In his youth, he was fond of karate, and even nearly became a champion .
Since they lived near the cinema, Gerard loved to go there with his mother. Once he managed to persuade his mother to take him to a couple of auditions. After some time, Gerard began playing in the Scottish Theater for the Young, and at twelve years old he received the small role of Oliver, a street boy, in the eponymous production of the Royal Theater of Glasgow. But Margaret did not approve of her son's passion for the stage and believed that he should get a good profession.
However, playing on stage did not prevent Gerard from being the best student in the class. But when the question of choosing a profession arose, Gerard, in order not to upset his parents, entered the college at the University of Glasgow at the Faculty of Law. Here, too, he turned out to be one of the best students and was elected president of the student law society .
But immediately after graduation, he went to Los Angeles to try his luck in the acting profession. Here are just a dream of a quick acting career and remained dreams. The only thing he managed to achieve in one and a half years of screen tests was the role of an extra in the film “The Bodyguard”.
At this time, he learned that his father had cancer, and went to Canada. Since Gerard last saw his father, 14 years have passed.
Edward Butler died in the arms of his son, and after the funeral Gerard returned to Scotland.
He got a job at Morton Frazer, one of the largest law firms in Edinburgh, for a two-year internship. There he met Alan Stewart, who became his friend and played a very important role in his life.
Gerard was successful in his work, but he could not feel for her taste. Work from nine to five, routine and hopelessness oppressed him. It didn’t save even the participation in the rock group organized with the help of Alan - Speed.
A prolonged depression began, and Gerard became addicted to alcohol . Friends have repeatedly pulled him literally from under the wheels of cars and repeatedly saw him in impotent rage beat his head against the wall. He often woke up with strong cuts, bruises and torn wounds on his body, but could not remember how he received them [source not specified 3083 days]. Once he woke up on the roof of a skyscraper from shouting his friend Alan. Gerard could not remember how he found himself at the top, and the arrival of his friend saved him from the last step into the void. At some point, he was not interested in anything but drinking and he drank with everyone who could keep him company. Drunkenness almost destroyed his life and career. A week before the end of the internship, Gerard was fired from his job.
In Edinburgh, at the festival's stage, Fringe Gerard saw the play “Trainspotting” and finally realized that he had chosen the wrong profession.
Two days after his dismissal, he went to London in search of acting happiness. But in London no one was in a hurry to open the door for him.
He had to change several professions, from a waiter to a demonstrator of wind-up toys, before he settled in London’s Mermaid Theater, but also only as a casting assistant for staging Shakespeare’s play Coriolan. The director of this performance was Stephen Berkoff, to whom, once in a cafe, Butler approached with a request for an audition. Impressed by his courage, Berkoff agreed and thus, Butler got his first professional acting role.
And after a while he played in Ireland a leading role in the production of "On the Needle", which he had previously admired from the auditorium.