His name is known by anyone even slightly familiar with survival shows for a good reason. With a career which includes starring in several shows, authoring numerous books, and advocating for several causes, Bear Grylls is definitely one of the most important TV personalities of the last two decades.
While no one denies Bear’s astounding ability to get out alive from the hardest and worst natural conditions, his behavior towards wildlife is often questioned and frowned upon, making him quite a controversial personality.
However, there’s more to Bear Grylls than just what people see on TV. Stay with us to know all about his career, personal life, religious and political views, scandals and even details about his ever-growing fortune!
Was He Cruel To Animals?
Bear Grylls is certainly not a stranger to controversy. However, regardless of the many eyebrows people raise at his political and environmental views, the animal cruelty accusations against him undoubtedly were the closest to effecting his career the most.
Ever since his beginnings on TV, Bear has been strongly criticized for killing animals for a variety of survival reasons while out in the wild, but the situation reached its lowest point in 2014, when dozens of complaints were filed to the Office Of Communication (OFCOM) of the British Government against his show “The Island”, for featuring the killing of a cayman. Although the office dismissed the first allegations, later in the second season it was found that a protected species of an American crocodile was killed in the show, raising around 600 complaints directed at OFCOM and Channel 4, the latter insisting that the incident was ‘a genuine and regrettable error’ as the existence of said animal was unknown in the area.
While neither Channel 4 or Bear faced legal consequences for the killing of wildlife, in 2021 he admitted to regretting such incidents: ‘definitely in the early days we were killing way too many snakes and stuff like that in the name of survival’, he told BBC Radio 4.
Though for some people the issue is already water under the bridge, others still strongly disapprove of Bear’s ways.
Where Do His Riches Come From?
As of 2022, Bear Grylls’s net worth is approximately $25 million, but his impressive fortune shouldn’t surprise you. Actually, Bear’s extensive career in the entertainment world, added to his businesses and other profitable deeds, make him one of the most successful reality TV personalities of the last two decades.
Besides starring in the internationally known series “Man vs. Wild”, and hosting “Escape From Hell”, Bear is an accomplished TV producer with credits in successful projects such as “Survivor Games” and “Everest Rescue”, on top of briefly lending his voice to the series “American Dad!”.
Although it’s unknown if Bear has ever received financial compensation for achieving many survival records, it’s for sure that his side career as a writer, his business Be Military Fit, high brand sponsorships, and merchandise sales, are quite profitable in themselves. In short, Bear is more than just a guy who enjoys risking his life in the wild, actually making quite a good living from it.
In case you haven’t been up to date with Bear Grylls’ current deeds, you’d surely be pleased to know he’s as active as ever. In recent years, he’s been involved in a variety of TV projects, the most notable definitely being the 2014-premiered series “Running Wild”, which has launched several seasons and spin-offs to this day.
While “Running Wild” is everything we like to see in a survival show and even more, what actually makes the show one of a kind is how it features celebrities from all walks of life, including Kate Hudson, Michael B. Jordan, Barack Obama and Terry Crews.
In 2022, “Running Wild”s spin-off “The Challenge” premiered, presenting a concept similar to its predecessor, but instead of making celebrities complete their 48 hours journey in one piece, Bear’s new challenge pushes them to develop the life skills needed to survive in some of the most isolated, remote and dangerous natural places in the world.
Regarding his life off-camera, nowadays Bear is an active public motivational speaker for the organization BecomingX, writing the book “Mind Fuel” set to release in late 2022, and overall is just the same old guy we’ve got to know throughout his career.
Who Is Bear Grylls?
Even if Bear Grylls’ fame as one of the most fearless guys out there speaks for itself, the truth is there was a time when he wasn’t as knowledgeable in survival and the outdoors as he is today. Born in London in 1974, Bear’s real name is Edward Michael Grylls, son of Sarah and Sir Michael Grylls, a politician. Bear’s early childhood was spent in Northern Ireland, until his family moved to the Isle of Wight, which he describes as ‘a brilliant place to be, winters were spent walking in the rain, and in summer loads of people would come down, which was really good fun’, he told to The Independent in 2004.
Bear Grylls's incredible Gone Wild Festival is the ultimate family adventure | HELLO! https://t.co/sTxkPo5qpC
— Bear Grylls (@BearGrylls) September 6, 2022
As expected, Bear’s love for nature began at an early age. As a founder of Eton College’s mountaineering club, his first independent trips took place in his teens, when the dream of climbing Mount Everest was foremost in his mind. However, his trips to the Himalayan Sikkim mountains after his matriculation were very brief, as he soon enrolled into the Territorial Army – Britain’s Army Reserve – as a trooper, and subsequently as a survival instructor, learning the necessary skills to bear extreme outdoor conditions such as warfare and unarmed combat present, before suffering a serious parachuting accident in 1996, unfortunately breaking three of his vertebrae, and ending his military career for good.
Although Bear’s first extreme trips happened right after his high school matriculation, he didn’t take part in extensive travels until after his release from the Territorial Army. Only a couple of months after his disastrous parachute fall, Bear headed to the Himalayas to finally accomplish his dream of climbing Mount Everest, with his close friend Mick Crosthwaite, whom he met in high school, and with whom he established Eton’s mountaineering club.
Regardless of being a trained survivalist, hiking up Mount Everest is never an easy task. According to his memoir “Facing Up”, he and Crosthwaite’s team trained an entire year in Wales to get their body used to the lack of oxygen, before heading to the Himalayas, where a ground fall left Bear at risk of dying while buoyed by a rope. Such a scary incident was only the first of many difficulties the team faced on their expedition, reaching its hardest point when Crosthwaite ran out of oxygen an hour away from reaching the summit, leaving Bear to climb to Mount Everest’s peak alone in May 1998, when only 23 years old.
Education & Other Accomplishments
Unsurprisingly, climbing to Mount Everest’s peak gained Bear Grylls’ immense fame in his country. It wasn’t only the fact that he became the youngest Briton to accomplish such a feat, but also that he did it only 18 months after his nearly fatal parachuting accident.
In 2000 he released his first book, his memoir “Facing Up”, which details the entirety of his trip to the Himalayas, including the several years of training he faced beforehand. The next year, he led a fundraising campaign for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by circumnavigating the British islands on a jet ski, taking 30 days to accomplish it. The following year he hit once again achieved another life goal, by graduating from Birkbeck College with a degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies.
Later in 2003, Bear and his five-people team crossed the North Atlantic Ocean in an inflatable, engine-powered boat. The 19-day-long unassisted trip which started 3000 miles away from the North Atlantic, was frightening according to Bear: ‘it turned into a monster at times. One of the coldest, scariest, hardest expeditions I’d ever done’, he wrote on a 2022 Instagram post, in which he recalled his first son, Jesse was only a month old at the time.
In the end, the team’s efforts were worth it, leaving their names to be remembered for such a fearless accomplishment.
Most people can’t say they’ve broken a world record, but thankfully Bear Grylls is in no way ‘common folk’. At only 31 years old, he along with friends David Hempleman-Adams and Alan Veal held an open air party while in an air balloon, the highest such flight in history at 7,600 meters. For the world record-setting party celebrated in 2005, the three men dressed in formalwear and were meant to raise funds for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Program, which encourages young people to self-improve.
Bear’s second world record was set in the Himalayas, as he flew at 9,000 meters while on a Parajet paramotor to the south of Mount Everest. During the record-breaking escapade, Bear reportedly experienced lack of oxygen, and temperatures as low as −76 °F, when his mask reportedly froze, and his hands couldn’t bear the extreme temperatures. Nevertheless, the experience was worth it: ‘No other mountain in the world was above me. Below was Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, all the big boys, and then Everest’, he recalled in an interview with The Telegraph.
Bear Grylls’ next record-breaking feat happened in 2008, when his team set the longest indoor freefall, breaking the previous record for only a couple of seconds. The following year he set a Guinness World Record by becoming the world’s youngest Chief of The Scout Association when only 34 years old.
Career On TV & Books
Due to his many accomplishments as an adventurer and survivalist, Bear Grylls had already gained fame worldwide long before debuting as a recruit in “Escape to the Legion” in 2005. His first great opportunity on TV came a year later by hosting the internationally famous “Man vs. Wild”, in which he taught the audience some of his most famous and admittedly controversial survival techniques.
“Man vs. Wild” lasted seven seasons on air until 2011, when Bear’s relationship with Discovery was cut, due to a ‘contractual dispute’. Nevertheless, “Man vs. Wild” was only the start of a highly successful TV career for Bear, who hosted and produced several projects such as the survivalist series “Worst-Case Scenario”, and “Bear’s Wild Weekend”, and the competition shows “Get Out Alive” and “Mission Survive”.
Bear’s extensive career in the entertainment world didn’t stop at TV though, as his online series “You vs. Wild” was praised for its innovative interactive format. He also starred in the revival of “World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji”, aired through online subscription platforms.
When it comes to his career as a writer, Bear is quite accomplished as well. Some of the titles under his name include the factual “Facing the Frozen Ocean”, “Born Survivor”, and his autobiography “Mud, Sweat and Tears”, though he’s also authored several fictional books for both adults and kids.
Charity & Political Views
Ever since the start of his career, Bear Grylls has contributed to several non-profit organizations and causes. He has raised funds for charities such as The Prince’s Trust, Global Angels, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, and Hope and Homes for Children.
Although in his early career Bear was a global warming skeptic, in 2008 he traveled the Northwest Passage in an inflatable boat in order to raise awareness about the melting of the polar caps. This change of view didn’t happen overnight though, as according to an interview with BBC Radio 4 in 2021, Bear admitted it was a matter of observing the world around him that actually made him rethink his perception of global warming: ‘Fifteen years later, I’ve changed. I no longer ask those questions. I’ve seen it, over and over again’, he affirmed.
Challenge one complete for the Ocean Wave Challenge! Chris & Ben completed the circumnavigation of Isle of Wight, the first of three challenges in aid of our RM CDO 80 campaign.
— Royal Marines Charity (@theRMcharity) August 27, 2022
Since 2000 Bear Grylls has been married to Shara Cannings Knight, whom he met while training in Sutherland to climb Mount Everest for the first time: ‘girls were not at the forefront of my thoughts. But this lovely girl was introduced to me by a mutual friend, and it all happened from there’, he admitted to The Independent in 2000.
Since tying the knot, Shara and Bear have welcomed three sons named Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry. Despite his demanding work routine and the risky adventures he involves himself with, Bear is actually a family guy through and through, admitting to avoid staying away from home for too long for that reason: ‘traveling is good, but if you’re away from your family then the fun part of it is eliminated’, he said in 2004.
While Bear does his best at teaching his children his survivalist ways, his practices aren’t necessarily seen positively by the general public. Nonetheless, for better or worse, what really makes Bear Grylls such an interesting person is that he never does what other people would do.