Marilyn Manson Really Lives Up to His Grim Persona

Let’s not beat around the bush – things haven’t been looking up for Marilyn Manson. While the ghoulish, makeup-wearing figure has always been controversial, the controversies surrounding him nowadays are more severe than ever. This time, the talk isn’t about him throwing chicken feet into a raging audience or cutting himself on stage (we’re used to that stuff by now).

Marilyn Manson / Marilyn Manson, Lindsay Usich / Evan Rachel Wood, Marilyn Manson / DaBaby, Kanye West, Marilyn Manson.

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Nowadays, the talk about Manson has to do with his degrading behavior, behavior that has led his victims to a life-long struggle with depression, PTSD, and crippling anxiety. His former partner, Evan Rachel Wood, was the first one to speak up.

If you haven’t heard the story yet, let us warn you, it ain’t pretty. Then again, when was Manson ever associated with the word “pretty”?

Don’t Break His Heart, or He Will Do More Than Break Your Heart Shaped Glasses

Let us backtrack to his early, rolling-around-in-blood days with Evan Rachel Wood.

The two met in 2005 while partying at the Chateau Marmont, a high-end LA hotel. Well, they weren’t exactly partying. Actually, Wood, who was 19 at the time, spent most of the evening in the corner with Manson, aged 36.

Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson attend an event.

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Feeling estranged from the rest of the crowd, they were “hiding in the corner at a part none of us wanted to be at,” Wood told Elle magazine. The child actress felt like she had met someone who “promised freedom and expression with no judgments.”

They Looked Into Each Other’s Eyes and Knew

Manson was married at the time to dancer Dita Von Teese, but they divorced not long after. After their split, Manson met with Wood, and the two “looked into each other’s eyes and knew.” They began publicly dating in 2007.

Woods stands backstage during a concert.

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Wood knew she would get backlash for her choice of partner, but she embraced it with all her might. “I looked at my mother one day and said, ‘Mom, I’m gonna get on this tour bus for eight months and see the world and have a crazy journey, and if people aren’t OK with that, I’m sorry, but I can’t live my life for other people,” she told Rolling Stone.

Their Bloody, Gory Music Video

Wood was already demonized enough for dating Manson, but things went to a whole other level after she appeared in the music video for his song, “Heart Shaped Glasses.” The footage had them rolling around in blood, making love in dripping sticky red fluid.

Woods in a still from Manson’s music video.

Source: YouTube

During a talk with GQ, Wood described the experience as “one of the most romantic moments of [her] entire life,” and that the video made it OK to have different, weird views on sex and intimacy. The actress added that people would be “surprised at the kind of healthy, loving relationship” they had.

On-Again, Off-Again

The couple’s idyllic relationship hit the rocks in 2008, and they stumbled into an exhausting on-again-off-again period. Rumors began to spread that Manson was treating her poorly and being “emotionally and physically abusive.”

A portrait of Evan Rachel Wood.

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Wood shot it all down, telling People magazine, “the person that said such horrible things about Manson being ‘controlling’ and ’emotionally abusive’ is certainly no source ‘close’ to me.”

Little did she know that years later, she would be the one pioneering a movement against him.

Manson Called Her 158 Times After They Broke Up

In an attempt to save their relationship, Manson reportedly phoned Wood 158 times a day and repeatedly cut himself with a razor. “I look back, and it was a really stupid thing to do. This was intentional, this was scarification, and this was like a tattoo. I wanted to show her the pain she put me through,” he told Spin magazine at the time.

Manson attends an event.

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As if that wasn’t haunting enough, Manson’s song, “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies” is dedicated to Wood and revolves around his fantasies of smashing her skull with a sledgehammer. Wow…

He Managed to Get Her Back, but Not for Long

During one of his shows in Paris, Manson went down on one knee and proposed to Wood. This time, he believed, he had her locked in his heart for good, except, not really. Eight months into the engagement, Wood called it off.

A portrait of Manson and Wood.

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Five years after their split, Wood opened up and told reporters that she “thought” she was in love with him. But in fact, it was nothing more than young lust and naivety. She finished the interview on a grateful note, saying, “I appreciate everything he taught me. I just don’t think we were right for each other.”

Wood Claimed She Was Raped Twice

In 2016, the actress disclosed that she had been raped, but she didn’t name the perpetrator. She knew that giving Manson’s name away meant dealing with a whole lot of noise that she wasn’t mentally prepared for.

An image of Wood during an event.

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“[It’s not that] I don’t plan on saying these names eventually, but to start that process is emotionally draining and financially draining, really an everything draining thing to do and to go through. And I want to do it when I’m ready,” she explained.

Charlyne Yi Accused Manson of Harassment

A little before Wood came clean about the abuse she suffered, it was actress Charlyne Yi who took the first shot at Manson. The “House” star claimed that Manson had harassed her and many other women during his visit to the show’s set.

Charlyne Yi attends an event.

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“On the last season of House, he came on set to visit because he was a huge fan of the show and he harassed just about every woman, asking us if we were going to scissor, rhino, and called me a China man,” she tweeted.

He Bonded Her Hands and Touched Her “Unconscious Body”

At the start of 2018, Wood testified during a hearing about the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act. In her testimony, she didn’t provide any names, but she gave chilling descriptions of the things done to her by her abuser, whom she said was a domestic partner.

A portrait of Evan Rachel Wood.

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“It started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting, and brainwashing, [and] waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body,” she revealed.

Starved, Deprived, and Threatened

Wood described in detail how she lost herself in the throes of her abusive relationship. “I ended up adopting the persona of the person he wanted me to be and losing myself completely,” she revealed, adding that her partner kept her close by starvation, threats, and sleep deprivation.

Wood and Manson walk the street at night.

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Wood was forced to partake in acts of pain, torture, and humiliation. Her abuser (Manson) would videotape those moments and threaten to kill those around her. For years, she suffered from recurring nightmares about those moments.

She Finally Said His Name

At the start of 2021, Wood publicly accused Manson. Over a decade after their split, the actress posted on her Instagram account that “The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson.”

Evan Rachel Wood speaks during a press conference.

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Wood explained how Manson had “groomed her as a teenager” and then “horrifically abused her for years.” The actress said she was brainwashed and gaslighted into believing that Manson’s love was real, and that this was how love was supposed to look.

Dropped by His Record Label

Wood’s confession led to a chain of events that put Manson’s career in a very precarious state. His record label, Loma Vista Recordings, decided to cut all ties with him. Not only that, but the cable network Starz removed his performance on an episode of American Gods.

Marilyn Manson’s appearance in American Gods.

Source: YouTube

AMC also joined in on the action and decided to replace the singer’s segment on the second season of their series, Creepshow. The talent agency CAA also dropped Manson as their client due to Wood’s allegations.

What Does Manson Have to Say for Himself?

Manson knew he had to act quickly, so he uploaded a statement on his social media in an attempt to cover his act. “Obviously, my life and my art have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims are horrible distortions of reality,” he wrote.

Marilyn Manson attends an event.

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Manson stressed that his intimate relationships have always been completely consensual with like-minded partners, and that Wood’s claims are nothing more than a humiliating representation of the past. It was a nice try, but it didn’t get him much sympathy from the crowd.

“He Does This Kind of Stuff All the Time”

After Wood’s confession, musician Ellie Rowsell (of the Wolf Alice) mustered the courage to bring up his name. She accused of him of using a GoPro to film under her skirt after meeting him backstage at a festival.

Ellie Rowsell performs on stage.

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“I was shocked to look down and see he was filming up my skirt with a GoPro,” she revealed, adding, “There were no repercussions for his behavior, his tour manager simply said, ‘he does this kind of thing all the time.'”

Esmé Bianco Accused Him of Abuse

Esmé Bianco, Manson’s former partner, spoke up about their relationship, stating that he was her role model as a teenager and that he completely abused the power he had over her. In 2009, Manson invited her over to his house and reportedly tied her up.

Esmé Bianco poses for the press.

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He then beat her with a whip, leaving her back blue and bruised. The actress remembers crying on her way back home but convincing herself that the lashes were “art” and a “sign of great devotion to [her] abuser.”

He Chased After Her With an Ax

Bianco also reported that Manson was scary and violent during their relationship. She revealed that he would bite her skin without consent during sex and would repeatedly cut her torso with a knife. He also reportedly chased her around their house with an ax.

Marilyn Manson poses for the media.

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After that incident, Bianco fled the apartment as Manson slept. She said she lived in a constant state of fear for years after their relationship ended. Therapy was what eventually helped her come clean about her past.

“He’s not a misunderstood artist,” she told New York Magazine. “He deserves to be behind bars for the rest of his life.”

Ashley Morgan Smithline “Survived a Monster”

Smithline and Manson met in 2010 through a mutual friend. At first, he seemed intelligent, authentic, and caring. But after moving in with him, she began to realize what a huge mistake she had made. Manson used to shove his fist into her mouth during sex, lock her in a room if she didn’t follow his rules, and he made her go through a grueling blood pact.

Ashley Morgan in People Magazine’s cover.

Source: People Magazine

To this day, Smithline suffers from night terrors, PTSD symptoms, anxiety, and, most of all, crippling OCD. “I survived a monster,” she said in an interview with People magazine.

As for Manson, he strongly denied the claims.

His Former Assistant Spills the Beans

Ashley Walters, Manson’s former assistant, first met the singer in 2010 after he reached out to her through social media, inquiring about a potential collaboration. Walters was a huge fan of his work and was deeply honored by his request.

A photo of Ashley Walters.

Source: YouTube

She agreed, and, at first, all was fine. His house was a safe space, a place of freedom, free of judgment. But over time, Manson grew more and more manipulative. He would pin her on the bed, bite her ear, and shove his hand down her underwear.

She Felt Like a Piece of Meat

As his personal assistant, Walters was expected to work for 48 hours straight and suffered from Manson’s frequent temper tantrums. She stood by his side, believing that deep down, he was actually kind-hearted and good.

A portrait of Walters / A picture of Marilyn Manson.

Source: Pinterest / Photo by Kurt Krieger, Corbis, Getty Images

But no amount of convincing was enough to keep her working for him. Eventually, she had to succumb to reality. And the reality was – he wasn’t good. Of all the horrible things he did, the most degrading one was when he offered her up to his “influential friends.” “It made me feel like a piece of meat,” she wrote.

Who Is Marilyn Manson?

Let’s talk a little bit about the man behind the white makeup, black lipstick, creepy eye color, and malicious acts. His childhood will likely surprise you.

Brian Hugh Warner (Marilyn Manson’s birth name) was the kind of boy who hid behind his mom in a room full of people. Growing up, the scrawny, freckled-faced boy was shy and reserved and wouldn’t leave the house very often. Instead, he spent his time writing, drawing, and watching cartoons all day long.

Lindsay Usich and Marilyn Manson attend an event.

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Raised as an only child, Manson was showered with love by his parents, who were fairly easygoing compared to the rigidity of the environment he grew up in. They sent Brian to a Christian school with daily Bible classes and weekly chapels. Needless to say, he felt like a complete outcast.

The Seeds of Rebellion

From second to 10th grade, Manson had different ministers brainwash him and his peers about the dangers of the outside world. They tried to convince the students of the world’s evil ways and the importance of sticking to the Bible.

Marilyn Manson performs on stage.

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Manson, however, with his thirst for knowledge and active imagination, rejected their claims. With a bold sense of humor and baffling audacity, he wrote “666” on his notebooks and would often bring up Satan during class discussions.

Dungeons and Dragons

Dungeons and Dragons was arguably Manson’s biggest interest growing up. He and his friends would spend weeks playing for hours. The only breaks they took were to eat and rest, and once they felt recharged, they would be at it all over again.

Marilyn Manson performs on stage.

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Some teachers at his school told him that the game could lead to all sorts of depravity. They were even forced to sign some sort of agreement saying that they wouldn’t drink or do drugs or cuss. And, OF COURSE, above all, no rock ‘n’ roll music was allowed.

Manson Loved Hard Rock

At Manson’s school, his teachers spent a lot of time trying to educate him, about how rock and roll music could contaminate his soul and rot his brains. However, Manson loved hard rock music, and nothing was going to stop him from listening to it.

Marilyn Manson is performing at a concert.

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From Black Sabbath to Kiss, Manson was a junkie for anything loud and wild and rebellious. Surprisingly, his parents were completely supportive and took him to shows. His dad even wore makeup with him to one of Kiss’ concerts.

David Bowie Had a Huge Effect on Him

Manson was big on MTV when the channel first came out. In particular, David Bowie’s music clip Ashes to Ashes had an everlasting effect on him. The atmosphere of it piqued his curiosity. He realized that it was possible to do something with all that imagination he had stored up in his head.

David Bowie in Ashes to Ashes.

Source: Tumblr

As he grew older, Manson grew more isolated from the people around him, who didn’t dare watch MTV and who likely didn’t know much about David Bowie. While most of his classmates were committing themselves to Christianity, Manson was putting on makeup, singing Bowie’s lyrics, and hanging posters of demons above his bed.

Going Public

Once Manson became aware that people were offended by the kinds of things he liked, it became more of a challenge to try and fall in line with the rest. He lashed out at the hypocrisy of the school and his main goal was to find a way to get out of there.

A dated picture of Marilyn Manson.

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His parents didn’t need much convincing. They knew their son didn’t fit it, so a few months into 10th grade, they transferred him to the local high school nearby. There, however, he was still the odd man out. He wasn’t a burnout or a jock. He was just some weird, nerdy, scrawny kid.

An Excellent Writer

Manson was a little Renaissance man. He dabbled in a lot of things, like poetry, painting, and drawing. He excelled in his writing classes, and it became clear to him over time that journalism was something he wanted to pursue.

Marilyn Manson attends an event.

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After graduating high school, his dad got a job offer down in Florida. So, the family packed up their stuff and left Ohio for good. When he arrived in the Sunshine State, he had a little bit of a culture shock, but nothing fazed him. Manson’s curiosity pushed him further and he was ready to devour whatever came his way.

Meeting Trent Reznor

Manson began writing for 25th Parallel, a local arts and entertainment magazine that was geared primarily towards south Florida. The magazine’s founder recalled that he came to the interview with a lunch box. Manson’s overall bizarreness ended up getting him the job.

Manson and Reznor are sitting together backstage.

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Among other things he wrote about, Manson did celebrity interviews. One interview, in particular, was life changing. He sat down with Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails and was so enthused about meeting the rocker that he spoke about it for days.

Manson’s Poetry Was Humorous With a Dark Undertone

Manson’s poetry was bleak, unfriendly, yet witty and funny. He would go to these open mic nights for poetry readings and shock the audience with his gory descriptions and depressing scenarios. But as much as he enjoyed the crowd’s reaction, writing poetry wasn’t getting Manson the attention he longed for.

Marilyn Manson performs on stage.

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He quickly understood that musicians get a lot more instant gratification than poets. After interviewing numerous bands for the magazine, he thought to himself, “Hey, I’ve got as much talent and things I want to say. Why am I on this side of the pencil?”

Drugs, Serial Killers, and Sunday Morning Cartoons

Despite not having strung a chord in his life, Marilyn Manson decided to start a band. He wasn’t musically inclined in any way, but he had what many lacked – he knew a thing or two about self-promotion. He dared to sell himself as the next big thing, despite not having anything to offer yet.

Marilyn Manson attends an event.

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Along with another friend of his (who actually did know a thing or two about music), they formed ideas of what kind of songs they would write and how they would dress. They talked for hours about random things like drugs, serial killers, and morning cartoons. Their band would become some twisted conglomeration of it all.

The Rise of Marilyn Manson

Manson asked if 25th Parallel could run an article about his new band called Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. A small, alternative magazine, 25th Parallel didn’t have a problem with it, although they found it a bit weird because the boys didn’t have a demo tape yet.

A photo of Manson during a party.

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The magazine’s founder was like, “Yeah, sure, what the hell, go ahead.” So, they had an intern interview Manson, but the singer ended up rewriting everything. He wrote a two-page full story about how his band was going to “take over the world” and how they didn’t “care who they had to trample underfoot to get there.”

No Drummer, Just a Drum Machine on a Stool

Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids’ first show was embarrassing to watch. They didn’t have a drummer. Instead, they had this lame drum machine on a stool. In total, about twenty people stood in the crowd, all scratching their heads, cringing to death.

Daisy Berkowitz, Marilyn Manson, and Gidget Gein pose for photos on a school playground.

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Manson, looking all tall, geeky and skinny, barely made eye contact with the crowd. Half the time, he was backstage throwing up due to his major stage fright. I have to say, kudos to him for sticking it out and rocking on anyway.

They Opened for Nine Inch Nails

The band’s first major show was on July 4th, when they opened for Nine Inch Nails. There they were, four awkward-looking guys, one of them crawling on stage most of the time. While they didn’t have “their s*it” together, they were still captivating to look at.

Nine Inch Nails perform on stage.

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All four members grew up watching cartoons and Willy Wonka, and it was like they took all of those childhood things from the ‘70s and morphed it into a bad psychedelic trip. They weren’t necessarily scary, just creepy and crazy.

Girls in Cages With Chocolate Pouring From Their Breasts

As the band grew in popularity, so did the obscenity of their shows. Chicken feet were thrown across the stage, lunchboxes were set on fire, girls in cages dripping chocolate sauce off their breasts… the whole shebang was one magnetizing spectacle.

A close-up on Manson during a performance on stage.

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Manson loved the attention, most likely because he had lacked it before and especially with the ladies, who would now follow him around everywhere, whereas in the past, they would barely look his way.

No Manager Was Willing to Work With Them

Six months after their very first show, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids started packing clubs. Their former manager, John Tovar, came to one of their shows and recalled how he ran out after two songs. “I couldn’t stand them, so I walked out,” he told interviewers.

Daisy Berkowitz, Marilyn Manson and Gidget Gein pose for photo.

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However, six months later, Tovar got a call from a friend saying that Manson was the most requested act. He decided to give the band a second chance, thinking to himself, “If this guy could draw in this amount of people without a record deal, he’s going to be a superstar.”

Something From Nothing

Manson’s dream was to go national and leave Florida for good. But it was unbelievably hard, because no one, and I mean, NO ONE, wanted to sign them. They were all scared that it would be too hard to promote him.

A dated studio portrait of Marilyn Manson.

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He looked too satanic, too into drugs. That wasn’t an image they were willing to work with. Luckily, Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) started his own record label and wanted Manson to be the first signee. Reznor told them to drop the Spooky Kids and leave Marilyn Manson on its own.

Portrait of an American Family

Manson flew the band to Los Angeles and rented out Sharon Tate’s house as their studio. That’s where he wanted to put his record together – in a house where Charles Manson had murdered. Good vibes.

A photo of Sharon Tate’s house.

Source: Tumblr

The album was finished, and the result was a haunting list of grotesque songs. But the crowd loved it, especially the misfit kids. From that point on, every show got better, and even the fans who hated them, loved them.

Being Blamed for Columbine Almost Ruined His Career

On April 20, 1999, two teenagers, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris gunned down the students and staff at their high school in Columbine. After the shooting, students reported that both of them were die-hard fans of Manson’s music.

An exterior shot of Columbina Highschool.

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Other students reinforced the claims by saying that the shooters’ attire that day, with long, dark trench coats, was similar to Manson’s typical clothing. Manson got heaps of hate mail and death threats after the incident. He was blamed for corrupting the nation’s youth.

Walmart, K-Mart, and Target Refused to Sell His Album

Major U.S. retailers refused to sell Manson’s 1998 album Mechanical Animals because the cover showed Manson’s head on a naked alien’s body. The controversial art was considered to be offensive and inappropriate for young children to see.

A studio portrait of Marilyn Manson.

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To this day, Walmart refuses to sell it. In fact, after the Columbine massacre, Walmart stated that they refused to sell anything Manson-related. His name is listed on Walmart’s website as one of a select few artists they will not work with.

Marilyn Manson Was Engaged Three Times Before Meeting His Current Wife

Manson was engaged to Rose McGowan, Dita Von Teese, and Evan Rachel Wood. Out of the three, he only married Dita Von Teese but divorced her two years later.

From February 1998 to January 2001, he was engaged to actress Rose McGowan, but they broke it off due to “lifestyle differences.”

Manson and McGowan pose for a picture.

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Then, in the spring of 2004, he proposed to Dita Von Teese and married her in November 2005. Nevertheless, it didn’t work out, and they went their separate ways in 2007. Three years later, he got engaged to Evan Rachel Wood. And we all know how that ended…

Is Marilyn Manson Married?

In 2020, during one of the many energy-draining, suffocating lockdowns, Manson tied the knot with photographer Lindsay Usich. Usich came after Wood, back in 2010. They’ve been dating for over a decade and have finally decided to make it official with a ring.

Manson and Usich attend an event.

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Is Manson abusing her? According to several sources, YES. Metal artist Otep Shamaya recalled dating a woman who was good friends with Usich and having Usich call the house on multiple occasions to rant about Manson’s behavior.

The Long Hard Road Out of Hell

In 1998, Marilyn Manson published his memoir, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, in which he wrote about his grandfather’s sexual fetishes. This is not an excuse for his behavior but growing up with someone like that in the family might explain his sadomasochistic tendencies.

A portrait of Marilyn Manson at the book signing.

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Manson wrote that his grandfather’s obscene behavior influenced the formation of his band, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. In his book, he also mentions that he has over 450 scars on his body, most of them self-inflicted on stage.

He’s a Big Fan of the Church of Satan

Marilyn Manson idolizes Anton Lavey, an honorary priest in the Church of Satan. What is this church, you ask? It’s an international group dedicated to the religion of LeVeyan Satanism, a religion that doesn’t view Satan the way the Bible does.

A portrait of Anton Lavey.

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Instead, they push for social nonconformity and rebellion against the dominant and oppressing system. In other words, they’re all for “sticking it to the man.” It’s not surprising that Manson would be part of such a group. Too bad he can’t see his own dominant and oppressive behavior.

Why Does Manson Wear Eye Contacts?

Marilyn Manson is often seen sporting two different eye colors. He wears two different color contact lenses in his eyes as a tribute to David Bowie’s two different sized pupils. Bowie suffered from a condition called anisocoria.

Marilyn Manson attends an event.

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It happened during a fight Bowie had over a girl. He was given a blow to the face. The blow wasn’t too hard, but it seems like the guy who delivered it poked his fingernail right in Bowie’s eye, scratching it and paralyzing the iris for good.

The Mansinthe

Manson loves absinthe so much that he created his own Swiss-made absinthe brand, named “Mansinthe,” which contains 66% alcohol. Is it any good? I can’t say for sure. But it’s described by some drinkers as “just plain.”

Manson poses for the press.

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Despite the reviews, Manson’s alcohol won a gold medal in 2008’s World Spirits Competition held in San Francisco. Nowadays, Manson doesn’t drink his own bottle. He’s reportedly stopped with his absinthe binges in 2015.

Manson Is a Huge Fan of Video Games

Manson is known for his love of video games. He even brings his Nintendo DS with him on tour. Among his favorite games – Mario Kart! Surprising, right?

Manson also voiced the character Edgar in the game Area 51.

A portrait of Marilyn Manson.

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In addition, several of his songs are featured in soundtracks of different video games. For example, Beautiful People was played in KickBeat, Brutal Legend, and WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth. Arma-goddamn-motherf*ckin-geddon is in Saints Row: The Third’s soundtrack.

Manson Tried His Hand at Acting

The singer landed minor roles in a string of movies including Lost Highway, Porno Star #1, Party Monster, Jaw Breaker, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and more.

He made his acting debut in 1997’s Lost Highway and has since then starred in several cameos and minor gigs in movies like Party Monster and Rise.

Manson attends an event.

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He’s also starred as a roller-skating waiter in the show Eastbound and Down. In addition, he’s played Ron Tully in the last season of Sons of Anarchy. He also starred as himself in the TV series Californication.

Once, He Wrote the Word “F*ck” on His Face

Paparazzi like to snap unflattering photos of celebrities in comfy clothing, unruly hair, and without their makeup. A lot of photos are of them looking tired and standing in line at the airport. On one occasion, Manson apparently had enough of the exploitation and covered his face with the word “F*ck.”

A photo of Marilyn Manson.

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He clarified to the people standing near him at the airport that the word was dedicated to the lovely paparazzi. The cuss word was there so none of them could sell any of the pictures they had taken of him at the airport.