The Tragic Childhood Of Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay simply looks like success to the average foodie today, but like so many in the culinary world, he had to work his way up. While you'd never tell from his current status, Ramsay had a tragic childhood that could have easily sent him on another path. 

Born in Scotland, Ramsay was raised in Stratford-upon-Avon in England (an area often referred to as Shakespeare country) from the age of five (via Biography). Ramsay was the second child of Gordon James Ramsay and Helen Cosgrove, with siblings Diane, Ronnie, Yvonne (via The Famous People). Gordon James was, in short, an abusive alcoholic — and a terrible father. In 2007, Chef Ramsay wrote for CNN, "Growing up, my father was less than a perfect role model. I watched how he battled alcoholism and how he became terribly violent with my mum, to the point where she feared for her life."

These childhood statements are backed up by sister Diane, who has shared, "As a kid, you begin to understand that this is wrong but you daren't tell anybody. (Their father would) convince us it was our fault and if we, the kids, did something wrong, then mum would get it" (via Daily Record). Diane shares stories of fearing for her mother's life, watching helplessly as the family loaded into the van to move around England before wary adults or authorities might catch on to the abuse, of living in fear.

Gordon Ramsay's family is very important to him

Chef Ramsay recalls of his father back then, "Dad would often have a fallout with someone at work and get fired, and because our home often came with his job, we would become homeless and have to move again." He speaks of still experiencing the pain of that betrayal, and of gaining a passion in adulthood to help prevent and end domestic violence. And as for being a father himself, the father of five (four at the time) shares, "...I could never see myself behaving the way my father did when I was a child. I want to be a role model for my children and have them look up to me."

This tragic childhood has inspired both Chef Ramsay and wife Tana to be longtime supporters and ambassadors for Women's Aid, a UK organization dedicated to ending domestic violence against women and children (via Women's Aid).

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction issues, help is available in the United States as well. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).