Famous late-night talk show host reveals how a hug - and a prayer - profoundly changed his life
Posted July 4, 2016
James Corden, host of CBS's "The Late Late Show," is an Englishman who built a robust comedy career across the pond before finding success here in the U.S.
A comedian known for taking a more unscripted approach on late-night TV, Corden has an intriguing back story about how he once overcame personal struggles and changed his life after a series of decisions and behaviors that he came to regret.
Corden admitted back in 2011 that fame had gone to his head, as he began partying, sleeping around and living a wild life. At the time, he hadn't yet made his CBS debut, but was already a well-known entertainer in the U.K.
"The person I had become wasn’t the person I wanted to be," he told the Daily Mail at the time, saying that he was lost and in need of finding himself. "I had drifted so far from family and friends that I didn’t really know how to pick up the phone and talk to them any more."
Corden said that it was an interaction with his Christian parents, Malcolm and Margaret, that helped him turn everything around. Recognizing that their son was struggling amid a difficult year, the two surprised him at his apartment one day and his father hugged him and prayed, the Daily Mail reported.
The experience brought Corden to tears, as he said that he was so embarrassed by how he had lived. After his father, who sells Christian books, and his mother — a social worker — embraced him, his dad said, "You’ve so much to be thankful for, James. I know it’s been a tricky year, but you can’t carry on like this.'"
And that was apparently the moment that everything changed for Corden.
He soon changed his ways and married TV producer Julia Carey. The couple now have a son and a daughter.
Not long after, he landed his CBS gig hosting "The Late Late Show" in 2015, bringing his unique personality to American audiences, according to the Sun.
In a 2011 interview with the Independent, Corden described his parents as "the ideal Christians," saying that they are "very free-thinking, liberal and open," but as for his own faith, he seemed somewhat uncertain.
"I guess I have a faith. I have an overriding feeling that all of this can't be for nothing," he told the outlet. "But then I also fully understand that it might be."
As for landing the "The Late Late Show" job following Craig Ferguson's exit, Corden expressed surprise in light of the fact that he was almost entirely unknown in the U.S.
"When I got the job, I’d never even been on an American talk show," he told Variety at the time. "It’s a bold choice. A really bold choice."
Now, Corden is entertaining audiences with a late-night approach that Relevant said is different in that, instead of watching a scripted comedian's antics, "It’s like you're watching a funny friend, not just a talented performer."
While it's not always commonplace for actors and performers to share personal experiences that have served as pivot-points in their lives, either getting them back on track or helping build their faith, there are plenty of examples out there.
Consider actor Kristoffer Polaha, who has appeared in "Mad Men," among other projects. He recalled questioning God during his younger years — a decision that he said left him "lost in the wilderness" for six years.
But a near-death scenario years after his decision to question God left him turning to his faith once more.
"It was this moment of like, ‘I should have died.’ I really technically should have died,” Polaha told The Church Boys of a bizarre incident during which he was almost burned to death and showered with glass on the streets of New York City.
While certainly more dramatic than the moment that shocked Corden into abandoning his partying ways, Polaha's story is intriguing, adding him to the list of well-known people who have experienced profound change in their lives.
"The Late Late Show" airs weeknights on CBS.
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