Rebel Wilson Sounds Off on Much More Than That One ‘A**hole’ in New Memoir

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

Certain Hollywood stars give the impression of having appeared, out of nowhere, fully formed. But Australian actress Rebel Wilson, whose breakout role in Bridesmaids led to global fame with the Pitch Perfect franchise, meticulously crafted her ascent, honing her skills and her persona while serving as her own best hype woman.

Wilson, 44, lays out her story in her new memoir, Rebel Rises, which hits all the familiar beats when it comes to celebrity myth-making—a hardworking, awkward kid follows her muse and finds her niche—but what stands out in the book is her tone. In spite of what Sacha Baron Cohen’s camp might want you to believe, Wilson comes off as the furthest thing from an alarmist with an axe to grind.

Below, see the biggest revelations from Rebel Rises, out Tuesday.

Yes, she has plenty to say about Sacha Baron Cohen.

In the weeks leading up to the release of Rebel Rises, the author stirred up plenty of controversy by revealing that she writes extensively about her negative experiences with Baron Cohen on set. “I wrote about an asshole in my book. Now, said asshole is trying to threaten me,” Wilson wrote in an Instagram story last week. “He’s hired a crisis PR manager and lawyers. He’s trying to stop press from coming out about my book.”

Baron Cohen gradually broke Wilson’s spirit after he hired her to play his wife in The Brothers Grimsby, the actress writes. In her book, she says his behavior led to her refusing to promote the movie altogether: “That was really the only power I had left in this situation,” she explains.

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Wilson claims that, despite her firm assertions that she would not do nudity, Baron Cohen repeatedly asked her “to go naked” in the film. She further says Baron Cohen cultivated a hostile work environment that reached its peak when he asked her to stick a finger up his butt for an “extra scene.” (A spokesperson for Baron Cohen told The Daily Beast that Wilson’s account is “demonstrably false.”)

“I’m not about canceling anybody and that’s not my motivation for sharing this story,” Wilson writes. “My goal is to tell you, dear reader, about an experience that was HARD.”

Her dad once threatened to kill her over a Slurpee.

Wilson’s parents, both professional dog breeders, fought regularly during her childhood in suburban Australia, she writes. Her father was particularly volatile. As a tween, on the drive home from a talent competition, Wilson pleaded for her dad to buy her a Slurpee. “I’m going to choke you and kill you if you say one more thing...I’m going to throttle you,” was his reply, she writes in her book.

Her Bridesmaids paycheck was shockingly low.

As she’s revealed in previous interviews, Wilson was paid a measly sum for her scene-stealing work in Bridesmaids, the 2011 hit comedy in which she played Kristen Wiig’s outrageous roommate. In her book, she writes about it graciously: “I got paid $3,500 for Bridesmaids, a fee that I then had to pay directly to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to join the union. That didn’t matter to me. The experience was everything!”

That’s quite charitable of her, especially given that in the preceding paragraph, Wilson describes permitting a creepy neighbor to massage her to ease her back pain because she had no health insurance at the time and was desperate for money.

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When it comes to sex, she was a late bloomer.

Wilson writes extensively about her avoidance of romantic and intimate relationships, revealing that she lost her virginity at the age of 35, after a betrayal by a high school boyfriend led her to shun dating for the entirety of her twenties.

“Is there something wrong with me? And did I watch The 40-Year-Old Virgin? Yes, I watched that movie extremely carefully and thought, ‘Well, as long as I can do it before forty, then at least I’ll be cooler than Steve Carell.’ On the plus side of being a good Christian girl: I’d never had a sexually transmitted disease.”

Wilson is now happily engaged to designer Ramona Agruma, and the couple have a daughter whom Wilson conceived via surrogate.

She thinks Adele “hates” her.

“Some actresses would get offended if I called them plus-size in this book, so I have to be careful with what I say,” Wilson begins one passage. “This is why, I think, Adele hates me,” she continues. “There was a moment when she was bigger, and some people would confuse us for one another.”

Pop superstar Adele revealed her dramatic weight loss transformation in 2020, sparking an avalanche of exhausting discourse around body image. Wilson writes extensively about her own struggles with weight in her memoir, and details how she too re-emerged in 2020 having dramatically lost 80 pounds.

“I am assuming, because to be fair I’ve never asked [Adele] (she always quickly turns away from me at the few events where I’ve seen her, as if my fatness might rub off on her if I were near her for more than thirty seconds), that she didn’t like being compared to ‘Fat Amy,’” Wilson writes, citing her Pitch Perfect character.

Later in the book, Wilson throws more Adele shade when she recounts a swanky party: “Adele is bitchy when Carly and I walk up to say hello but everyone seems to be in great spirits,” she writes.

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She drops a tantalizing reference to an unnamed megastar.

Suffering from burnout in 2017, Wilson writes that she found herself “on an expensive doctor’s premises getting an IV vitamin drip... opposite the biggest music artist in the world.”

Wilson writes that she and the musician—also a woman—found they had a lot in common: “Even though we were earning millions of dollars, even though she’s fierce as hell, that level of work comes with a price—the price being your health.”

If only she’d named the mega-star! Taylor Swift? Beyoncé? It seems we’ll never know.

She’s still heated about her defamation battle with Bauer Media.

In 2018, Wilson won her case against the German conglomerate Bauer Media, which she claimed had published a series of articles falsely painting her as a serial liar.

“The Victorian Supreme Court found that the articles had defamed me. Furthermore, it was not just defamation but ‘malicious defamation,’ which is the most extreme form of defamation you can prove in Australia,” she writes in Rebel Rises.

Wilson was awarded nearly $5 million in damages, which was, she concludes, “an extremely fair and accurate amount.”

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