Comedian-activist Russell Brand's short marriage to singer Katy Perry ended in 2012. Photo: Jon Furniss
A new documentary about the life of comedian Russell Brand has claimed that his divorce from singer Katy Perry was because of her commercial success and reluctance to engage in activism.
BRAND: A Second Coming, which premiered at the SXSW festival on Friday, covers the 39-year-old's life over a seven-year period, showing his transformation from drug-addicted crude comedian to celebrity activist.
The documentary shines a particularly interesting light on Brand's short marriage to Perry, 30, which ended in 2012.
It tells how Brand became restless with his Hollywood lifestyle and took a charity trip to Kenya. On his return, he became involved with the Occupy movement.
The documentary shows Brand sitting down with Perry to talk about money and fame, but he finds Perry's answers unsatisfactory.
"I think you're a genius and you make me look good, and that's why I picked you," she says.
In a scene shot after their breakup, Brand tells the camera: "We were going in different directions. Possibly opposite directions."
It is a different narrative to the one Perry presented in her own documentary, Katy Perry: Part of Me, which blamed their breakup on the couple's busy schedules.
Brand married Perry in India in 2011.
BRAND: A Second Coming chronicles the life of Brand from 2007 to 2014.
At one stage, Brand was directing the film. However, he eventually ceded control to Dig! filmmaker Ondi Timoner.
The final cut was so intimate that Brand decided to skip its premiere at Austin's SXSW festival on Friday.
The comedian, whose daily YouTube show The Trews analyses media reportage, said he was unable to attend the premiere because he suspected watching the documentary would be "painful".
"You'd think a narcissist would like nothing more than talking about themselves and their 'rags to riches', 'hard luck' story but actually, it felt like, to me, my life was hard enough the first time round and going through it again was painful and sad," Brand wrote in a statement.
"I know Ondi is an artist and I'm told the film is good but for me watching it was very uncomfortable."