Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Untold Truth Of Bam Margera

There was a time when you couldn't sit through five minutes of MTV without Brandon "Bam" Margera popping up, advertising one of the numerous shows he fronted for the channel during the '00s. Millions watched the skater turned professional stunt performer plan his wedding to Missy Rothstein in Bam's Unholy Union, and before that Viva La Bam gave us an insight into the madness of Margera family life. Of course, nobody would have cared about any of this had Margera not been invited to join the crew of MTV's Jackass at the turn of the millennium, a move that saw him rise to prominence as one of America's most recognizable TV personalities. While nobody is queuing up to get a glimpse into his insane world anymore, Margera is still active, and his life remains as crazy and colorful as ever.

He got his name by running into walls

Margera's future as a daredevil seemed set in stone from an early age after he picked up the worrying but ultimately profitable habit of running straight into walls and jumping off coffee tables in his family home. His grandfather, having witnessed this self-destructive behavior on several occasions, started to call him Bam Bam, which was eventually shortened to Bam. It stuck, and after he became known to millions through his bone-crunching exploits on MTV he decided to make it his legal name. After completing all of the necessary paperwork he had second thoughts about filing it, however. His cold feet were down to his father Phil, who advised him against changing his name to avoid legal confusion. As it stands, he remains Brandon Cole Margera.

He lives in a castle

Well, sort of. After his work on TV earned him enough cash to make his dream home a reality, Margera purchased a Gothic-style mansion in his home state of Pennsylvania and rechristened it Castle Bam, adding a host of new features to the property to make himself and his crew of regular co-conspirators more comfortable. The additions included a pirate-themed bar, a treetop casino (that Margera and his friends later destroyed with cannonballs) and, of course, a huge skate park. The secluded home was featured on MTV Cribs (his second time on the show, having previously appeared alongside Ryan Dunn, Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville in a special Jackass edition) with Margera leading a typically destructive tour of the property.

He hid a sex tape as a DVD extra

Before Jackass creator Jeff Tremaine introduced him to Johnny Knoxville and the trio went on to success, Margera filmed and edited his own video series with his friends from the CKY Crew (which stands for Camp Kill Yourself, also the name of Margera's older brother's band). 2002's CKY 4: The Latest and Greatest was the last installment in the cult series, though it was the first one made after Margera hit the mainstream, meaning that he had access to equipment that was previously too expensive.

The production value saw a marked improvement from previous CKY offerings, though it wasn't the shiny new look of the film that had fans talking. Margera decided to include a clip of himself and his fiancée at the time, Jenn Rivell, having sex as an Easter egg hidden at the end of the movie. According to The Easter Egg Archive, the scene can be accessed by pressing enter when the camera zooms in on Jenn's private area as the movie fades to black.

He then filed a Protection From Abuse order against Rivell

Three years after the release of CKY 4 and their hidden sex tape, Bam Margera and Jenn Rivell ended their seven-year relationship and went their separate ways, though according to Margera, his ex was less than pleased about the breakup. In 2006 he took the stand in a Pennsylvania Common Pleas Court to file for a PFA (protection from abuse) order, alleging that Rivell scaled the 10-foot wall of his Pocopson mansion and proceeded to break in through the back door, the second time she had entered his home after their nasty split without his express permission. As Margera put it: "She hopped over the fence and kicked the door open. ... She yelled at me and said I shouldn't have broken up with her."

He also made allegations of physical abuse

Margera also told the judge that Rivell didn't just break into his home, but went out of her way to vandalize it, reportedly damaging $20,000 worth of computer equipment to get back at him. Margera added that he was genuinely scared when he returned home to find his house in a total mess with bizarre "murals" painted on his walls. The allegation that raised the most eyebrows, however, was that of physical abuse.

After he'd risen to fame making a living doing dangerous stunts for the amusement of others, it was hard for some to believe that a young woman of Rivell's build could do Margera more damage than anything he inflicted on himself on a weekly basis, though he told the court that she pushed him into an empty swimming pool and threw glass at him instead of helping him up. In the end, the court called Margera's claims "speculative information" and "hearsay."

He was allegedly assaulted by a 59-year-old woman

Margera was admitted to Chester County Hospital with nasty head injuries on June 12, 2010 after an altercation outside his suburban nightclub the Note left him bleeding and unconscious on the pavement. The incident took place when West Chester resident Elizabeth Ray, whose home shares a wall with Margera's club, saw the Jackass star leave the premises for a cigarette at around 2AM and decided to confront him about the noise that had been keeping her awake. Things escalated very quickly, according to Margera's friend Tammy Palumbo.

Palumbo, who was with Margera when the attack reportedly took place, claims he walked away from the argument thinking it was over when Ray cracked him over the back of the head with a pipe-like object. Ray is said to have continued her attack verbally as Palumbo cradled Margera's gashed and bloodied head, supposedly yelling "I'll hit him again and I'll make sure I kill him next time." Margera's concussion meant he had to miss the shooting of the epic final scene in the Jackass 3D movie.

Ray claims Margera used racial slurs

Elizabeth Ray's version of the events that took place outside the Note that night differed somewhat from the report that Margera and Palumbo gave to the West Chester police. According to Ray, she asked Margera to move away from the front of her home while he was smoking and a shouting match then ensued—a pretty nasty one in which she claims Margera used the n-word.

Margera flat out denied using a racial slur of any kind when he took the stand in court, and in the end Ray was found guilty of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. She was spared prison time, however, with Margera himself urging the district attorney to allow Ray to serve her time on probation after learning that she was a caregiver for her housebound mother.

He had a prominent role in a Gina Lynn porno

Perhaps inspired by the homemade clip he hid at the end of CKY 4: The Latest and Greatest, Margera decided to go one step further in 2008 and make an appearance in the full-length pornographic movie The Fantasstic Whores 4 (yes, that extra 's' is supposed to be there). The film starred the now retired Gina Lynn, a decorated porn star who began life as a stripper on the Jersey Shore before making a name for herself in the adult entertainment industry, first as a performer and then a director. Of course, Bam Margera being Bam Margera meant he wouldn't do it without one of his band of brothers by his side. Longtime CKY collaborator Brandon Novak accepted Margera's invitation and both appeared in the film, though neither took part in any of the sex scenes.

He had a public spat with Roger Ebert

Margera was thrown back into the limelight for all the wrong reasons in June 2011 after his best friend and longtime colleague Ryan Dunn was killed in a car accident, plowing his Porsche 911 GT3 into a tree in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The car burst into flames with Dunn and Zachary Hartwell (a production assistant on Jackass Number Two) still inside, killing them both, though reaction was mixed when photos of Dunn drinking alcohol at a bar earlier that evening surfaced online.

One of the less sympathetic comments came from the late, great film critic Roger Ebert, who tweeted that "friends don't let jackasses drink and drive" in response to Dunn's death. Margera, who appeared heartbroken in a number of TV interviews in the days following the crash, was no less emotional in his reply to Ebert, calling him a "piece of s—" and telling him to "shut his f—ing mouth." Ebert later apologized and offered his sympathy to Dunn's family and friends, claiming that his comment was not intended to be cruel, only truthful.

He got married at a music festival

Margera and Missy Rothstein ended their so-called unholy union in 2012, five years after getting hitched in front of millions of viewers on their MTV show. Margera didn't have to wait too long to give marriage a second shot, tying the knot with Nicole Boyd in 2013 during the Random Hero Festival, an event he held in Reykjavik, Iceland in honor of his late friend Ryan Dunn. It was far from a fairytale Icelandic wedding, however, with the former Jackass star spending the evening performing with his band F—face Unstoppable. Margera's wedding attire was equally unorthodox: he chose to walk down the makeshift aisle wearing a hoodie along with something MTV described as some kind of modified Skeletor costume.

He was beaten up by Icelandic rappers

From one memorable experience at an Icelandic music festival to another Margera would sooner forget. In 2015, videos emerged of him being attacked by Gísli Pálmi and Egill "Tiny" Thorarensen in the backstage area of the Secret Solstice Festival, with the prominent Icelandic rappers landing several punches on Margera before he was pulled away and fell to the ground. According to a video that Margera recorded shortly after the assault, the musicians set about him at the behest of Leon Hill, Margera's former head of digital marketing and the current Secret Solstice marketing director.

Margera claimed Hill owed him money and accused him of fudging the numbers on his YouTube channel. Hill, however, responded to the allegations with a statement of his own that detailed the series of events leading to the fight, which he claims Margera instigated. In the statement Hill blames the lack of good material for Margera's YouTube channel underperforming.

His uncle was a convicted sex offender

Margera's uncle Vincent (known to the general public as Don Vito) became part of the furniture in both Jackass and Viva La Bam, bearing the brunt of a number of his nephew's elaborate jokes. His popularity was at its height when he was arrested in 2006 and accused of drunkenly groping three underage girls during an autograph signing event in Lakewood, Colorado. While Vito denied the charges and argued that he was simply portraying his character from the shows for the fans, the ruling went against him. He was given 10 years of probation and ordered not to portray the character of Don Vito in any capacity during that time, though he died from kidney and liver failure before finishing his sentence in 2015.

He sought help for alcoholism and depression

The tragic death of Ryan Dunn changed Margera's life forever, as losing a best friend under such horrific circumstances would most certainly do for any one of us. The extent to which it impacted Margera was made painfully clear when he made his return to reality TV in 2016, appearing alongside his mother April on the VH1 series Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn. During the interview Margera admitted to drinking to forget rather than for the fun of it, and revealed he'd struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression:

"I have nine cars in the driveway and I don't want any of this s— anymore," Margera told Dr. Jenn. "I don't even want to meet anybody new. I don't want to be friends with the friends that I'm friends with because they're a–holes, you know?"

April Margera, who has appeared numerous times in her son's various videos and TV shows over the years, was reduced to tears as she recounted a Christmas argument in which her son told her he would die before her—likely by drowning in his own swimming pool.

He had a tough time staying sober

Margera's time in the Family Therapy house led to him getting sober for the first time in his adult life, spurred on by the support of Dr. Jenn Mann and Bam's mother April. After the show wrapped, Margera managed to go four months without a drink, though he fell off the wagon while attending an art show. In a follow-up interview with VH1, April revealed that her son's slip was orchestrated by one of his friends, who offered him a can of Coke that was actually full of booze. Despite the setback, she insisted that Margera is still trying to stay sober and was considering entering himself into rehab.

After a long layoff and some surgery, he started skating again

In early 2017, word surfaced that Margera was back on the skateboard after a lengthy layoff that, as he later explained in an interview with Jenkem, stemmed from an assortment of problems—including bone spurs in his feet, the pressures of his celebrity status in the skating community, and the knowledge that he couldn't safely skate until he'd dealt with his drinking problem. Finding himself on an editing job in Estonia during the dark of winter, he recalled thinking, "I'm gonna kill myself if I don't get to Barcelona and skate"—so he got on a plane, bought a new board, and hooked up with his friend, fellow skater, and Barcelona resident Thomas Winkle, who promptly started filming Margera's exploits. "I'm simply skating for the pleasure of having fun," Margera insisted. "I just wanted to know that I could go to Spain and skate for as long as I want and not have to deal with any bulls—."

If that sounds like a nice vacation, well, it probably is—but it isn't all fun and games. Margera's skating holiday has served a larger purpose by helping him stay sober. "It's been a real struggle for me to stay off the alcohol," he admitted. "But just as long you're surrounded by good people and you have something to do, you'll be good. Like in Barcelona I wake up and my mission is to skate all day. I know being in Spain is the best place for me right now to not drink."