‘I spent seven years identifying as a boy’: Richard Branson’s daughter Holly, 39, reveals


Richard Branson’s daughter has told how she lived as a boy throughout her childhood.

In a remarkable revelation, Holly Branson said she spent years wearing boys’ clothes and adopting male names.

Ms Branson, now 39, explained: ‘I, at the age of four, decided I was a boy. It wasn’t that I wanted to be a boy, it was that I was a boy.

‘It was just after my brother was born and I don’t know whether looking back on it now it was some sort of psychological thing that a boy was born and was getting lots of attention and I wanted to be like him.

‘I stood up to pee, I dressed like a boy, I even gave myself different male names.’

Speaking on Natalie Pinkham’s In The Pink Podcast with her father and brother Sam, she added: ‘This wasn’t just a quick thing that stopped after a few months or years, it lasted until I was nearly 11.

‘It was quite unusual, especially because it was nearly 40 years ago.

‘I was so lucky to have parents that were really accepting of it, that they didn’t question any of it, they let me be who I wanted to be.’

Richard Branson’s daughter Holly (pictured in May 2019) has told how she lived as a boy throughout her childhood, spending years wearing boys’ clothes, adopting male names, and even standing up to use the toilet

Holly Branson (far right) said she identified as a boy until she was nearly 11 and was gifted a dress for Christmas

Holly Branson (far right) said she identified as a boy until she was nearly 11 and was gifted a dress for

Ms Branson, a mother of three children with Freddie Andrewes, said: ‘When I was 11, I asked my mum for a dress for Christmas. 

She thought, “I’m not going to give Holly a dress from me as it feels too pressurised”, so she got one of our family friends to get me a dress and they did and that was the turning point. From then on, I was back to being female Holly.’

Ms Branson worked as a junior doctor before joining Virgin in 2008. Industry observers believe she will take over from her billionaire father, who celebrates his 71st birthday this month.

In the past she has spoken of her ‘difficult and distressing’ years trying to conceive, revealing she had gone through two failed rounds of IVF, suffered two miscarriages and had considered surrogacy or adoption. 

Ms Branson gave birth to twins – Etta and Artie – in December 2014, followed by younger daughter Lola in 2019.

Her remarks on living as a boy come as the number of children identifying as the opposite sex continues to rise sharply. 

Ms Branson gave birth to twins – Etta and Artie – in December 2014, followed by younger daughter Lola in 2019 (pictured)

Ms Branson gave birth to twins – Etta and Artie – in December 2014, followed by younger daughter Lola in 2019 (pictured)

The number of youngsters referred to the Gender Identity Development Service clinic in London, also known as the Tavistock Centre, soared from 138 in 2010-11 to 2,748 in 2019-20. 

About twice as many girls as boys are referred, most aged between 14 and 16.

Many experts consider that when a child identifies as the opposite sex for a number of years, it is a sign they are transgender.

But psychotherapist Bob Withers, who has treated a number of transgender patients, said studies consistently showed it tended to be a passing phase. 

He said: ‘There have been 13 studies on this issue now and they find that about 80 per cent of such children revert to identifying as their biological sex if they are left untreated.’

Meanwhile, Mr Branson told how he tried to talk Saddam Hussein to resign in a bid to stop the Iraq war – and had even planned to fly out to meet with him.

The tycoon told the podcast: ‘America and Britain were about to invade Iraq, I attempted to persuade Saddam Hussein to step down, in order to avoid the war, and to go and live in Libya, and he was open to doing so, but he wanted some Elders to talk to him, and fly out with him. 

Meanwhile, Mr Branson (pictured, in October 2019) told how he tried to talk Saddam Hussein to resign in a bid to stop the Iraq war – and had even planned to fly out to meet with him

Meanwhile, Mr Branson (pictured, in October 2019) told how he tried to talk Saddam Hussein to resign in a bid to stop the Iraq war – and had even planned to fly out to meet with him

‘I spoke to Nelson Mandela and he agreed to go but he wanted Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN, to go with him. I talked to Kofi and he said he would go with Nelson Mandela; and then sadly a few days before the trip took place, the bombings of Baghdad started, and the meeting never took place.’

As a result of that, Mr Branson, Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel, Kofi Annan and Archbishop Tutu, and Mary Robinson, and a number of other incredible people got together to form the Elders, who go into conflict regions; and they also speak out on issues such as climate change and nuclear proliferation.

Richard, Holly and Sam were speaking to Natalie Pinkham on her In The Pink podcast.



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