Tim Roth Reveals His Grandfather Sexually Abused Both Him and His Father as Children

Tim Roth
Photo: David Livingston/Getty

Tim Roth has revealed that both he and his father were abused by his grandfather as children.

Roth, who has spoken in the past about being abused as a child, made the startling revelation during a recent interview with The Guardian on Sunday.

Speaking about his father’s politics, Roth mentioned that his dad dropped out of Britain’s communist party in the 1970s after a wave of sex scandals. “He was an abused kid, my dad, and it was a terrible childhood that he had, and he took that s— seriously,” he explained.

The Oscar-nominee, known for his long-time collaborations with Quentin Tarantino, spoke about his own childhood abuse when he made his directorial debut, The War Zone, in 1999. Based on Alexander Stuart’s novel about a father abusing his daughter, Roth said at the time that the story had significance to him as an abuse survivor. But he never mentioned his journalist father, Ernie Smith, experienced the same traumatic youth.

“He was a damaged soul. I loved him. He was funnier than f—,” Roth said of his dad. “He was abused. And I was abused. But I was not abused by him. I was abused by his abuser.”

Asked if his abuser was his dad’s dad, or Roth’s grandfather, the actor answered, “Yeah. It was his father. He was a f—— rapist. But nobody had the language. Nobody knew what to do. That’s why I made The War Zone.”

Currently, Roth is starring in the three-part BBC drama 10 Rillington Place, in which he plays the notorious serial killer John Christie, who strangled at least eight women in London between 1943 and 1953.

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