Ruby Wax says she had the ‘drive of a rottweiler’ to get through ‘violent’ childhood

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Ruby Wax has opened up about her difficult childhood, revealing that her Austrian Jewish parents subjected her to physical abuse. The comedian, now 70, spoke about her upbringing on the show Life Stories with Kate Garraway. Wax’s family had fled Austria in 1938 to escape the Nazi regime and settled in the US. She described her parents bringing the war into their kitchen, with constant verbal fights and violence. Wax noted that she was born into a land of freedom and opportunity, but her parents’ experiences had made them want to make life difficult for her. She recalled being physically attacked by her parents and stated that her ambition and will to survive saved her from a potentially tragic fate.

During her teenage years, Wax became rebellious and often snuck out of the house, even hitchhiking to San Francisco. Despite her attempts to rebel, her parents grew angrier with her. She shared an incident where her father beat her up in front of her friends, despite their attempts to protect her. Wax admitted that her anger became an addiction and was crucial to her survival. Leaving her family home behind, she found solace in the UK and joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1978.

Wax found success in television, hosting her own comedy chat show called Don’t Miss Wax on Channel 4 in 1987. She began working with the BBC in 1991 on The Full Wax and later created her series Ruby Wax Meets… after her encounter with Madonna in 1994. Notably, her interview with Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was nominated for a 1997 Bafta Award.

Earlier this year, Wax celebrated her 70th birthday while filming her new TV show, Ruby Wax: Cast Away. She candidly spoke about her first serious bout of depression in 12 years, which was triggered by her husband’s prostate cancer diagnosis and her decision to stop taking antidepressants. The Channel 5 show sent Wax to a desert island near Madagascar, where she hoped isolation would improve her mental health. Reflecting on her time there, she realized that nature doesn’t care about individuals and their opinions, leading her to feel a sense of humility and liberation.

In conclusion, Ruby Wax courageously shared her traumatic past, detailing the abuse she endured from her parents. Despite the challenges she faced, Wax managed to overcome adversity and find success in her career. Her story serves as a reminder of the importance of resilience and determination in overcoming difficult circumstances.

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