Shortly after the release of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," Kristen Bell told interviewers that she had to "intimidate" her co-star Russell Brand to make sure he understood she was not interested in a sexual relationship with him during the shoot.
A joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times, and Channel 4 Dispatches highlighted the stories of four women — including one who was 16 years old at the time — who say Brand either raped or sexually assaulted them between 2006 and 2013.
Brand has denied the allegations.
During an interview with the Scottish Daily Record, Bell said she was aware of Brand's "womanising" and made it clear to him that she was not going to tolerate his advances.
"I made it really clear from the beginning that I would sock him in the b***s if he tried anything. So he was intimidated," she told the paper.
Bell said she initially found the comedian attractive, but lost that attraction when she read up on how he treated women.
"I had no idea who he was until I Googled him and saw what a little stinker he is with the ladies. He kept reminding us every 10 minutes of how famous he is in Britain by going, ‘It’s so weird not to be recognised here,’" she told The Daily Mail. "He didn’t fancy me at all and in fact went out of his way to tell me how grotesque I was. And I certainly didn’t fancy him because he’s so high-maintenance – he took longer in make-up than I did."
She said the actor "didn't try to mess with me or get in my pants," in another interview, adding that "he knew I would lop his n**s off."
Despite making clear she was hypervigilant around Brand, she also praised the actor, saying during press tours that she "loved" working with him.
"I may be the only woman in the world who would shout that from the rooftops, but I did," she said in a separate interview.
She also said at the time that he was protective of her and ultimately a "very nice boy."
"Russell loves everyone to know that he's a womaniser and he's done all these strange things, but I think secretly hiding inside Russell is a very nice boy," she said. "I had a lovely time with him because he was a bit protective towards me."
Brand describes himself as "promiscuous," a trait that was central to his public image during the height of his fame in the late aughts through the 2010s. He insists that all of his encounters were "always, absolutely consensual."
The women who spoke to the joint investigation told stories that painted Brand as controlling, emotionally abusive and physically domineering.
One of the accusers told the publishers that she was 16 at the time of her alleged sexual relationship with then-30-year-old Brand. She claims Brand referred to her as "the child" and selected clothing for her to wear during their dates.
Another woman claims Brand raped her in his Los Angeles home in 2012 after she declined to engage in sex acts with him and a "friend." The woman said she had to visit a rape treatment centre after the incident and spend five months in therapy to move past what happened.
Texts between her and allegedly Brand were made public over the weekend. The number she says is Brand's apologises in the messages for acting "crazy and selfish."
Brand — who now runs a podcast that sometimes dabbles in right-wing conspiracy theory — has denied any wrongdoing, and has suggested that there may be some other “agenda” driving the allegations against him.
“I was always transparent about [his promiscuity] then — almost too transparent. And I’m being transparent about it now as well. And to see that transparency metastasised into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question, is there another agenda at play?” he asked.
The Independent has reached out to Brand for comment.