Lock life of Louis Theroux from yelling at children to turn to alcohol for comfort

Imagining Louis Theroux screaming at his children at the top of their lungs is like imagining Piers Morgan softly singing a lullaby.

For nearly three decades, the documentary filmmaker has prized the televised gold nuggets of some of the most unpredictable characters on the planet with his quietly disarming interview style.

The two-time BAFTA winner polled such difficult subjects as Jimmy Savile, Tiger King’s Joe Exotic, enraged white supremacists and secret Scientologists with barely a loud voice.

Still, the quieter presence on TV admits fits of rage when locking down the house with his wife and three children.

He said, “On one occasion the kids were having fun and I just lost my shit royally and found out for two or three days after that I couldn’t talk. I could whisper but that was it.

“I thought I had broken my vocal cords, and for a moment I wondered if I could ever be on the show again.”

Louis, 51, says: “As much as I would love to be poised and thoughtful and a thoughtful, mature and quite humorous person in all aspects of my life, the reality is that I am just as prone to rage as everyone else. . “

Exotic Louis and Joe



Like millions of other adults derailed by the lack of routine, he also found himself turning to alcohol for comfort.

Forced on a professional break, Louis kept a diary at the start of the first lockdown last year at his home in northwest London with his wife Nancy and their three children Albert, 15, Frederick, 13, and Walter, six years.

The result is her candid memoir Theroux the Keyhole, which details her daily struggles to juggle family and work life during the pandemic.

He says, “When you’re home, everything comes out. There is no hiding place. I think the expression is “No man is a hero for his servant”. The people in your house, in your bedroom, in your bathroom, in your kitchen, in your front room – more or less 24 hours a day during the lockdown – they know you, warts and everything. “

So what exactly triggered her surprising voice-destroying outburst of anger? “Most of the time I was pretty relaxed,” he says.

“But there were times when I would try to home school my six-year-old, who was five at the time, while doing work at the same time. And then his app malfunctioned, and he was bored and then suddenly I had this weird feeling of sudden rage.

Louis in the Church of Scientology building in LA


BBC / BBCWorldwide)

“It wasn’t exactly a wake-up call, but it was an embarrassing incident and a strange passage of time.

“But it made me feel like I wanted to admit that I was just as maladjusted, irritable and embarrassing as I am behind the scenes.” This included talking about his drinking while in lockdown.

Louis says, “If you look inside me you might notice the wear and tear on my liver from heavy drinking during lockdown. I definitely drank during the pandemic and enjoyed drinking too much.

“I don’t see it as ‘Oh my drinking got away from me’ it was more of the case that I found it to be one of the ways I could have fun. of the week became indistinguishable, so I would walk around the front room to see what my wife Nancy was watching on TV, then she would notice that I was laughing too much at Doctor Who, and she was like, ‘Louis, you’ you have. drunk, is not it? “

“She would say, ‘Louis, it’s a Monday’, and I would say, ‘And what you mean is?'”

A special introduced him to Jimmy Savile



The pandemic helped him reconnect with his family


Dave Benett / Getty Images for WFT)

Despite the alcohol and temper tantrums, Louis says the pandemic has allowed him to reconnect with his family. “The main thing that I took away from the last 18 months is the feeling of reconfiguring my place in the world in relation to my family,” he says.

The exercise also brought the Theroux clan closer together, with Joe Wicks playing the role of virtual personal trainer. Louis says, “We were with Joe from day one of his family workout, jumping around doing our mountaineers, sit-ups and crunches – I still do them. I got up at 6:20 am this morning and did a 15 minute workout with Joe, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m torn.

“And the number of packs I have is up for debate, depending on what I ate and the time of day, but I’m definitely thinner than I was and mentally I’m feel much better. “

Louis’ increasingly chiseled physique won’t hurt his status as one of television’s most unlikely sex symbols, but he refuses to be seduced by compliments.

“Being portrayed as a sex symbol isn’t something I really think about that much,” he says. “It’s nice to hear that and very flattering, but I think when you’re on TV people see you in your best light and you can’t take it too seriously. To some extent, the person you see on TV is a confection.

He don’t think of being called a sex symbol


Brian J Ritchie / Hotsauce / REX / Shutterstock)

“I used to joke that much like Homer, the poet, Louis Theroux was a collection of people who created Louis Theroux through production, editing and careful management, because the person that you see on TV is not Louis without mediation. “

It was this kind of self-mockery that pushed Theroux to national treasure status during the lockdown. His Grounded podcasts, in which he interviewed celebrities like Boy George and David Tennant, have entertained millions of fans.

He says, “In the book my name is, ‘The Lady Vera Lynn of Lockdown Podcasting’ as a way of acknowledging the slightly ridiculous quality of seeing myself as a national treasure in times of crisis. Sure, I’m really happy when I do something that connects with people, but you can’t take it too seriously.

So how distant is the Louis TV from the real Louis?

“It’s pretty close,” he says. “I’m both probably funnier, but also less fun in private, in the sense that I’m more unsupervised and maybe more risky.

“But I’m also likely to be a bit egotistical and probably a bit pretentious. I try to bring it up on TV because no one wants to see me immerse myself in the books I’ve read.

“Probably towards my children whom I love, but also sometimes cranky and tedious bossy, like trying to ration their screen time.

He says he’s both more and less funny in his personal life



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“For my wife, I’m probably involved myself, a bad listener, forgetful, likely not to do what she asked me to do and too focused on work.

“To my mom and dad, I’m probably non-communicative, a bit distant and not paying enough attention to what’s going on with them.

“Overall, I probably have all the faults of most people reading this, in a pretty boring way.”

His family keeps him grounded despite enormous success writing, presenting and producing groundbreaking documentary series, including Louis’s Weird Weekends, When Louis Met… and his 2016 feature My Scientology Movie.

He says, “From what I can tell, my children are wonderfully indifferent to my programs. They know I’m on TV and they know that when we’re out people will ask for a selfie, but as long as it’s a culturally significant figure to them, no.

“I get a lot of ‘Daddy, you’re so cringe.’ Or, “Look at your hair, daddy, you look like a crazy homeless professor.”

“I’m the lowest in the family, except for my six year old who always thinks I’m a bit of a hero.

“The important thing is that I am their father, and that I am there for them, in the fullest sense of what that means – and I’m happy for that.”

  • Theroux The Keyhole, published by Macmillan, is now available.

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