He also spent some of his early youth in Canada. His parents divorced when he was a small child and he and his siblings were raised primarily by their mother Margaret who later remarried.
He had no contact with his father Edward till years later when he was sixteen years old, after which time they became close. His father passed away when Gerard was in his early twenties .
Butler went on to attend Glasgow University where he studied to be a Lawyer/Solicitor. He was even president of the schools law society thanks to his outgoing personality and great social skills. His acting career began when he was approached in a London coffee shop by Actor Stephen Berkoff, who gave him a stage role in the play “Coriolanus”. He decided to give up law school for acting.
He was later cast as Ewan MacGregor’s character Renton in the stage adaptation of the movie Trainspotting. His debut movie role was as Billy Connolly’s younger brother in the movie Mrs. Brown (1997). While filming the movie in Scotland he was enjoying a picnic with his mother, near the River Tay, when they heard the shouts of a young boy who had been swimming with a friend who was in some trouble. Butler jumped in and consequently saved the young boy from drowning. He received a “Certificate of Bravery” from the Royal Humane Society.
He felt he only did what anyone in the situation would have. His movie career continued with small roles in the James Bond Movie Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and Russell Mulchary’s Tale of the Mummy (1998). In 2000 Butler was cast in his breakthrough roles… the first being Attila the Hun in the USA movie _”Attila” (2001) (mini)_ . Producers of the mini series wanted a known actor to play the part but kept coming back to Gerard Butler’s screen tests and decided that he was their man. He had to lose the thick Scottish accent, but managed well. Around the time Attila was being filmed casting was in progress for Wes Craven’s new take on the Dracula legacy, also wanting a known name (so Butler wasn’t much of a consideration).
His unending tenacity and drive drove him to hounding the producers. Eventually he sent them a clip of his part as Attila. They must have liked it because Dracula 2000 (2000) was cast in the form of Gerard Butler. Producers of Attila, thinking that his big screen role might help with the Attila ratings, managed to finish up a little early so that he could get to work on Dracula 2000. Attila ended up being the 2nd highest rated mini-series ever. Butler currently splits his home between London and L.A. and enjoys visiting his mother in Scotland, with whom he is very close.
Text taken from: Link
Gerard Butler Fan Club : http://gerardjamesbutler.co.uk