Best known for his lead vocals for Linkin Park, Chester Bennington spent much of his time in the spotlight, both on stage, and off. His life offstage was just as publicly documented as his concerts and public appearances were. It seemed that no matter how much he rose to stardom, his happiness and success was followed by the shadows of addiction, struggle, and mental illness.
Eventually becoming a public voice for mental struggles, Chester brought the reality of his life to the forefront, making it known that when the crowds went home, and the stage lights went off, he was left struggling for the silence and balance that seemed so easy for others to attain. He expressed himself with such raw honesty that he became easily relatable and lovable. Let’s take a look at 20 things you never knew about Chester Bennington’s life.
20 He Became Physically Sick From Singing
Chester’s unique voice was far from effortless. He actually made himself physically sick when he performed. In June of 2003 it was confirmed that his severe back pains and abdominal issues were a direct result of his hiatus hernia. He was literally suffering from belting it out on stage and repeatedly vomited on stage during performances.
19 He Was Hacked And Stalked By A Fan
All celebrities have encounters with crazed fans at one point, but Chester’s case was an exceptional one. Nicki Swift reports that the fan’s name was Devon Townsend, and she worked in a national security lab. She abused her authority to hack into Chester’s computer and other aspects of his personal life. This left him paranoid and incredibly guarded.
18 He Founded A Band Called “Dead By Sunrise”
Chester told MusicRadar that he founded the band Dead By Sunrise as a therapeutic effort. He needed another outlet for his personal struggles and needed more than one artistic stream to channel his thoughts. He founded the band in 2005, and ironically, the name depicts his fears that he would someday be dead by sunrise, if he didn’t get his drinking problem under control.
17 He Used To Be In A Band Called “Grey Daze”
Grey Daze was the name of the band that Chester was in before he plunged into the Linkin Park waters. It was his first real band-effort, and many would say it was his real starting point, before he auditioned for the spot in Linkin Park. His son, Jamie Bennington is lending vocals to an upcoming project that Grey Daze is working on, as a tribute to his late father.
16 He Used To Work At Burger King
Hey, we all have to start somewhere! Chester Bennington’s humble beginnings were at Burger King! It was one of the first jobs he had, before he discovered his love for music and decided to let that lead the way. Imagine being served a burger by Chester Bennington, then seeing him rise to fame a few years later!
15 He Has 6 Kids, One Was Adopted
According to Wikipedia, Chester had a child named Jaime from his relationship with Elka Brand. He later adopted her other son, Isaiah. He went on to have a child named Draven with his first wife, Samantha. His last marriage was to Talinda, taking place in 2006 and they had 3 kids named Tyler Lee, and of course their twins, named Lilly and Lila.
14 He Had A Role In A Horror Film
We all know that Chester was predominantly recognized for his role in the success of Linkin Park. Some may be surprised to know that he also dabbled in film. He had a role in the horror movie Saw3D: The Final Chapter. While we appreciate his on-screen talents, we’re grateful that he focused his time on the stage, as his voice continues to live on through his music.
13 He Had a Lot of Pets
Chester may have a rugged looking exterior but he was a real softie at heart. He was a gentle soul with a passion for his pets. After posting a photo of his dogs on twitter in 2017, a fan asked him how many pets he had, to which he replied “6 dogs, 2 cats, and a bunch of fish”. His love for animals was a defining part of his identity.
12 He Did Pilates Daily
In an article for Men’s Journal, Chester shared his workout routine with the world, identifying multiple types of pilates as part of his daily regimen. He loved working out and made sure to set time aside for weight training and full-body exercises. Within this interview, he shared that he actually spent 2 – 3 hours a day in the gym!
11 He Had To Audition For Linkin Park
One of Chester’s bandmates from Linkin Park was Mike Shinoda, and he re-told the story of how Chester was among several singers that auditioned for the band. The article in Telegraph outlines how he apparently knew right from the beginning that Chester was his first pick, due to his stellar auditioning performance.
10 Is Father Had Emotional Issues
Nicki Swift’s report indicates that Chester’s mental illness may have been rooted in those of his father’s. His dad, a former police detective, had numerous struggles with his emotional and mental well-being, forcing Chester to move out and live with his mother. We wonder if any of Chester’s issues were a direct result of his father’s…
9 Issues With Addiction Started In His Teens
Many would assume that the life of an alternative rock star is what led Chester into the path of addiction. Nicki Swift’s article demonstrates that in fact, his struggle with substances reared its ugly head during his early teens. That’s a very long, difficult battle for Chester, as there were points in which he “got better” but he was never entirely ok.
8 He’s A Product Of Divorce
Chester came from a broken home. From a very young age, he had to contend with the breakup of his nuclear family, and spent time living with each parent, individually. Some say that this was the cause of his emotional instability, but nobody can really be sure what led Chester to his depressive state as a child, or to his eventual breaking point.
7 He Was A Tattoo Enthusiast
While it was obvious that Chester loved to get inked, it’s interesting to note he was also a huge tattoo enthusiast. His first marriage was sealed with a tattoo on the ring finger, and he continued to engage in work and promotions for ‘Club Tattoo’, a tattoo shop in his home town of Arizona. This was owned by his former band-mate and longtime friend, Sean Dowdell.
6 His Closest Friends Were Stunned By His Death
Struggles with addiction and depression were common for Chester Bennington, but all his friends were in agreement that he seemed to be at his healthiest mental and physical state at the time of his death. Rollingstone magazine published a report in August of 2017 which highlighted a long list of friends that reported he seemed happy at the time of his death, leaving them all stunned and devastated.
5 He Was Born In Arizona
Chester Bennington was born on March 20th, 1976 in Phoenix Arizona. He continued to reside in Arizona until he joined Linkin Park and dove into the world of music in a more serious way. After the divorce of his parents, they both continue to reside in Arizona, and he lived at first with his father, then afterwards with his mother, but always calling Phoenix his home.
4 Chris Cornell’s Death Shattered Him
It’s really no secret that the death of Chris Cornell rattled Chester Bennington to the core. They were incredibly close friends, and there’s no denying the fact that his incident must have had a severe impact on Chester’s mental and emotional well being. It’s likely also not a coincidence that Chester’s death was on the day of what would have been Chris Cornell’s birthday.
3 His Mom Banned Him From Leaving Home
Chester’s mother, Susan Elaine Johnson, was so worried about her son that she tried to keep him at home when he was young. She was able to identify signs of mental illness and she was aware of his evolving issues with substance abuse in many forms. In an attempt to stifle the looming dangers of addiction, she banned him from leaving home….but that didn’t seem to work.
2 He’s A 2-Time Grammy Winner
Profoundly talented, and emotionally driven, it’s no wonder that Chester Bennington won not one, but two Grammy’s in his career. His first was in 2002 for Best Hard Rock Performance, followed shortly thereafter, in 2006 for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. This was for his Numb/Encore compilation with Jay-Z.
1 He Was Transparent About His Issues
While many put on a façade and pretend to always be ok, this was not the case for Chester. He was very open about his struggles with mental illness and he shared his battle with his the world. His fans were able to watch his incredible efforts at pushing the darkness away and striving towards the light.
Sources: NikiSwift, Billboard, MusicRadar