Metro – Inside the life of a celebrity bodyguard from protecting Michael Jackson to acting with Robert Downey Jr
Celebrities spend a fortune on hiring security to protect themselves and their expensive luxurious properties.
Caitlyn Jenner recently revealed that her daughter Kylie Jenner, 22, splurges around $400,000 (£320,000) a month on security for her Hidden Hills mansion and to trail her every move when she’s out at events. It’s a staggering amount to many but can you really put a price on your safety?
One man who knows all about it is Simon Newton, former bodyguard to stars such as Michael Jackson, Kendall Jenner, Rita Ora and Bella Hadid. He’s now an aspiring actor starring in films alongside the likes of Robert Downey Jr and playing Dave Bautista’s body double.
But he did spend many years protecting the rich and famous and now owns private security company, Askari Secure which is based in London. So is it all as glamorous as it looks in Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner’s The Bodyguard?
‘They probably think that you live the life that the celebrity lives and I can assure you that you don’t,’ Simon told Metro.co.uk.
He went on to explain: ‘When you go out and about, you do get food and accommodation and stuff like that. It’s all paid for but you’re constantly working all the time. You have to wake up before he or she wakes up.
‘You don’t go to bed until after they’ve gone to bed and depending on what’s on the next day, you might have to go out and have a look at places and call people. This is the biggest misconception. People don’t realise how many hours we do and quite often you can do 16 or 17 hours a day and you don’t get a day off.’
Blimey, sounds exhausting.
Simon added of The Bodyguard: ‘That’s not actually a bad thing… it’s actually fairly accurate. But of course what they don’t show in there, is how long you’re there for.
‘But if you notice he’s around her constantly and even stays at her house I think in that film. It can be like that, all jobs are set up differently. But it can be like that. You can spend a lot of time around people more than you do your girlfriend, wife, husband so you have to make sure that you conduct yourself accordingly.’
A major reason some celebrities hire round-the-clock protection is if they’re being subjected to a stalker.
‘It’s very much what you see in films where they’re hanging around people’s houses,’ Simon revealed.
‘Constantly sending people gifts. Sometimes they’re actually very nice but they’re scary to the person because they see them everywhere they go.
‘They turn up and it starts getting a bit freaky to an extent, sometimes you even wonder how they knew [the celebrity] was there.
‘They’re not a particular threat but it’s not what they should be doing. There’s of course the other extreme where they send death threats or things through your door to set your house on fire. It all depends.’
Simon had an interesting foray into the world of security.
He was previously a member of the British Army and was stationed in Iraq during the 2003 war. After helping out with private security companies who were rebuilding the area and protecting workers, Simon got the offer of a lifetime… to protect the world’s biggest superstar, Michael Jackson.
Simon admits: ‘I sometimes think about that and some of my client lists, and I think why me? Because there’s lots of good bodyguards out there.
‘I had a month off and they said to me, “Do you want to do a job in London next week?”, and I thought, well, I’ve never worked in London before and I do want to at some stage.’
During his time protecting the late Thriller singer, Simon’s jobs included the World Music Awards and taking Michael’s children to see a West End show in London.
Life is stranger than fiction, as they say.
And speaking of fiction, Simon knows all about that too as he’s forging a career for himself in the acting world after quitting life as a bodyguard a year ago.
If you’ve seen 2018’s action-packed movie Final Score with Dave Bautista, you might not have realised that Simon was doubling up for the Avengers actor starring alongside Pierce Brosnan.
He also appeared in 2010’s The Green Zone with Matt Damon and recalls having friendly lunches with the Hollywood star on-set, as well as starring in 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: The Dark Shadows with Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law.
From the army to protecting Michael Jackson and now being on the other side of the camera as an actor himself, Simon’s proved protecting celebrities can go a long way.
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