SPACEY, THAT IS. And no better man to do it than his brother Randy. Here, in an exclusive and often controversial interview, the elder sibling in the Fowler family talks about what it was like growing up, in what has been described as a “house of horrors”
In an exclusive and often controversial interview with Jason Toole, Kevin Spacey’s older brother, Randy Fowler, talks about what it was like growing up, in what has been described as a “house of horrors”. In addition, a Hot Press investigation into gay conversion therapy in Ireland uncovers a disturbing case, which powerfully illustrates the potentially harmful nature of the practice.
Plus McCann and The Hog
You’d be wrong if you thought Kevin Spacey’s older brother would want to act as some kind of an apologist for the fallen star. There’s an understandable mixture of emotions running through the man – anger, sadness, pity, empathy. But excuses are off the agenda.
As someone who has himself suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the brothers’ paedophile father, Thomas Geoffrey Fowler, Randy knows the score. Either way, however, he believes there is no justification for what Kevin is accused of doing. The two brothers haven’t been close since Kevin hit the big time. The secret life that Spacey led before his house of cards came crashing down is a mystery to Randy.
However, ask Randy about the kid that was Kevin Spacey Fowler – who grew up with him, in what he describes as a “house of horrors” – and the floodgates open. This is Randy’s first major in-depth interview since the scandal broke. Before now, he’s made a few brief media appearances and given a couple of short interviews to tabloids. But Randy hasn’t been happy with how his story has been presented.
“I think you are going to have a bunch of good new information,” Randy says.
He has just finished a memoir about his ordeal of being sexually abused, which he co-wrote with Bonnie Soto. It’ll undoubtedly be a bestseller if it’s half as revealing as this interview.
Jason O’Toole: Kevin was pilloried for how he publicly came out… Randy B Fowler: I don’t like the idea of how he came out of the closet. He used coming out of the closet as a deflection tool against allegations of him (attempting to) sexually abuse a 14-year-old minor child. Hello! That means that he’s off the reservation and needs new representation. I couldn’t even believe it. I don’t understand why he just didn’t lie and say, ‘I don’t remember. I was in a drunken stupor that night. I’m really sorry.’ So, his statement was just beyond belief. I was like, ‘What is this? A midnight crazed out Twitter thing?’
Did you always know Kevin was gay?
I sensed it back when we were kids. But it wasn’t anything that really mattered to me.
Did you ever ask Kevin about his sexuality? I did when he came to visit my mother in 1989. We were walking down the street, smoking a doobie together. I said, ‘What’s
with all these allegations about your sexuality? What’s the real deal?’ He gave me this vague, cryptic answer. Kevin didn’t even consider himself homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual – he just considered himself sexual!
There’s a big difference between being ‘sexual’ and being attracted to minors, isn’t there?
Yeah. I’m shocked. The allegations against my brother are scary. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I’m sick over it.
You’re planning to publish a book about how you were sexually abused by your father. Why wait till now to tell your story? The people handling me were afraid of Kevin Spacey’s PR machine. They got cold feet. I sat on the book. I’m trying to get a book out on child abuse – but I would love to have a relationship with my brother. Can’t I have both things at the same time?
How long did your father abuse you for? It went on for years. It was one of his weekly delights. It always happened after school, when my mother was at work.
Is describing it as a house of horrors
Yes. Inside – with the emotions, the secrets, the lies and the deception. It was a bizarre house of horrors. It was all so Victorian and there were rooms you couldn’t even go in to sit in. It was insane.
“Kevin didn’t even consider himself homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual – he just considered himself sexual!”
Did you ever think about killing your father? Oh, it’s in the book. Yes. I sat in the closet with a loaded luger that he had brought back from World War II. I figured out how to load it. I was going to blow his ass away. I sat there all sweaty palmed with that gun in my hand: a little 14-year-old kid in the closet. And if he would’ve opened up that door, I can guarantee you it would’ve been all over. Not too sure how many bullets I would’ve fired. But I’m glad he didn’t.
You’ve said your father – or ‘the creature’ as you call him – did not abuse Kevin because you protected him. Is it not possible that he raped Kevin?
I honestly don’t know. I spent my childhood trying to escape ‘the creature’ and protect my little brother. Could I have been there all the time to protect him? My efforts may have been for nothing. The allegations against my brother are scary. To think that I could’ve spent an entire childhood protecting my brother from nothing! It shows how cruel life is.
Did your mother ever try to stop it?
I’m screaming out and she’s banging on the door – this was the first and only time she ever tried to intervene. She was banging on the door and going, ‘What’s going on in there?’ I’m screaming going, ‘Help! Mother, help!’ And all of a sudden the banging stopped and the silence was deafening. She walked away. Just like that. A moment in time while the sun is shining in my eyes, and going, ‘Well, I guess God’s not going to answer my prayer. You better figure out how you’re going to get through life. This sucks’.
Your relationship with your mother broke down.
There was no relationship with my mother ever again really. Because she walked away from it and let it go on – and decided to put her protective wings around Kevin. Who knows what happened to Kevin emotionally with all that over-nurturing? My brother was pampered and loved. I was abused and neglected – and thrown out to the wolves.
You’re saying Kevin was mollycoddled by your mother?
He didn’t get spanked. He didn’t get punished. Who knows what kind of demons my brother was dealing with?
Do you think your mother damaged Kevin psychologically?
My brother’s never had a serious relationship with a woman. He’s never gotten married. It used to be just him and my Mum. If that’s psychologically damaged, I don’t know. People can’t imagine the life that I endured and how it affected my brother emotionally, you know?
How did you get the abuse to stop?
In 1971, I finally had the courage to tell my father to stop it – otherwise I was going to destroy the family. Well, it stopped with me. But I’ve no idea (about Kevin). In 1971, my brother was still a young kid.
What exactly did you say to him?
I would destroy the family. ‘And if you ever touch Kevin,’ I said, ‘I’m going to tell mother and call the police’. I just threatened the shit out of this guy. The sexual molestation and the sodomy and the oral sex and the head slamming up against the wall, while his elbow is choking me to death, while he does his dastardly deed – at least that stopped. But the constant lecturing about absolute nonsense: – all his Nazism and his hating everybody – I had to put up with this garbage until I moved out.
What emotions ran through your mind when your father died in ’92?
I didn’t care that he died. My brother called me up. It was on Christmas Eve. I was pretty cold to him. I said, ‘Good! I just had sex. Life goes on’. I didn’t care because he destroyed my childhood. I didn’t shed a tear.
Was Kevin cut up when he called to tell you?
That’s a good point. It didn’t sound like he was crying or anything. I don’t remember any emotion about it.
Did you go to the funeral?
My mother asked me not to come to the
funeral (laughs). She called me up on Christmas morning and asked me not to come because she thought I’d make a big stink. You know what? She’s probably right. I didn’t go.
Did you ever tell Kevin that you were protecting him as a child?
In ’92, yeah. When my father was about to die, I finally told the whole family. I couldn’t tell if he was surprised or shocked.
You’d imagine that when you told Kevin, if he’d been sexually abused himself he would’ve said, ‘Me too’.
You would’ve thought so. But he already had a decade of a particular lifestyle and being secret.
What was your mother’s reaction when you told the family?
‘Randal’s making shit up!’ My mother denied it until the end of her life.
Did you ever forgive your father?
I forgave nobody because that’s just some silly religious word. He destroyed my original path. Who knows what kind of a drumming career I could’ve had if I hadn’t been hindered by all these emotional problems. My God! The sky would’ve been the limit. I might’ve been where Kevin was. Because that’s not where he is now. That person is dead and gone now. It’s Kevin Fowler now.
So, it was difficult seeing Kevin become one of the biggest stars on the planet?
Yes, it was difficult to be a survivor of child abuse and try to deal with my own demons while I watched my brother’s rise to fame. It was hard.
Did you ever confront your father about the abuse before he died?
Even on his dying deathbed, there was nothing there. He never said shit. I never did get any resolution from him. I completely understand why my father was the way he was. I studied them like a detective and put together a piece of a small portion of a family tree.
What did you discover?
I went back several generations: I saw the patterns of my mother’s abuse and my father’s abuse growing up and how it just filtered down to this family.
You’re saying both your parents were actually abused too?
My mother was abused, beaten. Not sexually abused. But father was sexually molested by a scoutmaster. He evidently enjoyed it. It wasn’t any big deal to him, as he said.
Were you afraid it might’ve been passed on to future generations?
That’s why I never had kids. I didn’t want to have to deal with the fact that maybe my child could end up being like my parents. That scared the shit out of me. Even though I know it’s not genetic, it still bothered me.
Did the abuse warp your own attitudes towards sex?
Yeah. I was extremely intimidated by intimacy. Women were objects. I detested homosexuality
with a passion. I didn’t want to have anything to do with sex with men. I lacked the emotional stability to understand how to truly love somebody with all your heart. I finally put most of the major pieces together when I met Trish My Dish, the woman that I’ve been with for 23 years now. She helped me through the healing process.
It would seem like you handled growing up very differently.
I internalised the abuse and tried to figure it out – but my brother didn’t. He externalised it. I left no scandals along the way of my journey! I’ve done it legitimately, and with honour and with character. It’s all so shocking. But I still love my brother.
Why have you and Kevin not spoken for so long?
Now, there’s the $52,000 question. I have no idea. My quest has been to have a relationship with my brother like when we were growing up. When we trusted each other and loved each other and confided in each other. Not in everything – obviously!
“Father was sexually molested by a scoutmaster. He evidently enjoyed it. It wasn’t any big deal to him, as he said.”
Do you think your mother brainwashed Kevin against you?
Definitely. My mother and father probably poisoned Kevin against me. Told him things and convinced him that I was bad news for his career.
What was it like meeting him at your mother’s funeral?
I got one picture of him and five seconds of conversation. It was like an award show. I shit you not. My brother didn’t invite any of my mother’s friends. On one side of the church, there was Kevin’s production crew, the entire company – where mother’s friends should be.
What ran through your mind during the eulogy?
My brother comes up on stage with a script, giving this monumental tribute to my mother, which was just so disgusting for me. Because that’s not the relationship I had with my mother. And to see her portrayed in such the opposite light of her true character. She lived in denial. And she was cruel.
Did you get up and say a few words?
My mother wrote poems. She sent me a poem when called The Beautiful People. It talked about people exactly like the way my brother has treated me – and I read that to the audience. At the end of each passage, I looked down at my brother. He didn’t like it. But it was my way of saying, ‘What is your problem? What’s with the silence?’ And I never saw him again. It’s 14 years now.
Have you shed a tear since the scandal broke?
I read an article this morning and I cried. It was one saying that the career that my brother had is over. Kevin Spacey is no more: he’s Kevin Fowler again. He’s been dethroned and cut out of movies and fired from his day gig – and it’s just tragic. He had a killer run and, all of a sudden, overnight, it’s over. Gone. Done. Finished. I’m heartbroken for the man. For my brother to go down in such a flame of disgrace – he must be really hurting.
“I was going to blow his ass away. I sat there all sweaty palmed with that gun in my hand: a little 14-year-old kid in the closet. And if he would’ve opened up that door, I can guarantee you it would’ve been all over.”
You and your brother are both creative people.
Yes. I think for my brother acting turned out to be a way for him to escape his own horror that he lived as a child. He decided to hide in that industry. For me, I always wanted to be a drummer.
Did music act as a form of therapy?
Definitely. It turned out, for me, the better I got as a player, the more I was healed inside over the abuse that happened to me. It was like a perpetual choo choo train – get better at music, you healed.
Why did you stop playing with bands?
I wasn’t getting any better and I wasn’t healing anymore. I used it as a vehicle to heal myself and earn a living. I don’t know why my brother used it. Now with these allegations of the secret life, you can see that I have a lot to think about.
The British tabloids are going on about you moonlighting as a Rod Stewart impersonator.
No, I don’t. There’s another urban legend. I spent my entire career looking like Rod Stewart and nobody ever told me?! I retire, start driving a limousine and in less than a month Boise Idaho had branded me the Rod Stewart impersonator limo driver. It’s absolute nonsense. I don’t sing. I definitely don’t dress like him. I’m a little flashy on the clothes side. I have my own 17th century/1980s look. And I happen to wear my hair spiky, okay? So, that’s why I called my limousine company Rod’s Limos because it was easy for people to find me. It was all marketing stuff. I just went with it since the town branded me.
Growing up, what type of character was Kevin?
He used to act a lot. He used to act and talk like Robert Conrad from The Wild Wild West. He was a fun, go-lucky kid. When he did plays and stuff like that, he practised around the house. He was a normal kid.
Was he outgoing as a kid?
My brother was not the outgoing person that he is now. He was shy. He didn’t have a lot of friends. He used to hang out with me and my friends.
Did you get drunk as teenagers?
No. We didn’t drink. We didn’t smoke. My brother evidently is quite the drinker now.
If you could chat with Kevin, what would you ask him?
Two questions: ‘What happened between you and father? And why 40 years of silence between you and me?’ Once I get those two questions answered, the puzzle’s complete. I’d like him to call me up, just to be a brother again. That would be really nice to have as a Christmas present. I like my Bailey’s Irish Cream at Christmas and Thanksgiving, but other than that, I don’t drink at all. I’ll break out and have a drink that night.
(Clockwise from top) Kevin Spacey in House Of Cards; Spacey and Randy Fowler in their youth; and Randy today.
(Clockwise from left) The brothers’ father Thomas Geoffrey Fowler; Spacey and Randy; Spacey in his youth; and Randy at the actor’s Hollywood star.
(Clockwise from left) Randy with friends; in his band; and practising the drums.