memoirs | 

U2 frontman Bono reveals his ‘cousin’ Scott Rankin is actually his half-brother

U2's Bono© PA

Ciara O'

Bono has revealed that his cousin Scott Rankin is actually his half-brother in his new tell-all memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story.

In June of this year, the U2 frontman first spoke about his secret half-brother, however, it was unknown who it was.

In 2000, Bono learned that his cousin was actually his half-brother after his father Bob Hewson was having an affair with his wife’s sister, Bono’s aunt, Barbara.

The revelation came after Bob was diagnosed with cancer, and he died one year later in 2001.

According to the singer, the affair happened when his mother Iris was still alive, and she never knew.

However, Bono said he must’ve “instinctively” known that something was up, as Scott always felt like a brother to him.

“The truth is with Scott we felt like brothers long before we knew we were. I love Scott and his mother Barbara,” he told the Irish Times.

"I must have known that something was up and I must have held my father responsible for kind of making my mother unhappy in the way kids just pick up things,”

Bono has a turbulent relationship with his father, saying he loved the opera “because he was one”.

“I just longed for the attention of my father, and I have some lovely memories; it wasn’t all combative,” he said.

"Music was the thing that soothed his aching heart. It sounds like a line from a country song. But it’s actually opera I am talking about.

"That is why he was attracted to the opera, because he was one, and I suppose he had the voice and this is how he gave it to me. It is never the route you expect.”

The U2 frontman also opened up about the sudden death of his mother Iris when he was just 14 years old, and how music filled a void.

“These things that shape us are huge gifts in the end. At least they were to me because the wound that was opened up by my mother’s passing so quickly ... became this hole, this void, that I filled with music,” he said.

"Though the family seemed to disappear in that moment, I started finding other families: Ali’s [his wife] family, the band, alternative families. In that sense, I am an easy read. You can see what happened.”

In an interview with the Irish Times, he admitted that he has never visited his mother’s grave.

“Iris is 100 yards over the wall of the rehearsal room. I have never visited her grave. I am talking about her now in this song because the memories are all there. You have to trawl for them. If you don’t, they are somewhere else and they can cause trouble,” he said.

The singer said the book is a “love letter” to his wife Ali, who he met at 12 years old in Mount Temple Comprehensive, where U2 was also formed.

He attributed their 40-year-long marriage to a mixture of friendship and romance but admits he almost drove Ali away when he was touring the globe.

“I definitely failed to appreciate how much my life as an artist and an activist were being covered by my partner and though when I was home I was really at home, there were times when I was home and I wasn’t,” he said.

“I was somewhere else in my head. And that nearly drove Ali away. But the two of us have, at different times, had our love tested, and the sense that one will get the other home overpowers all other desires.”

They share four children together: Jordan (33), Eve (31), Elijah (23), and John (21).

“Ali covered for me at home. It is a love letter to her, but I want my children to know what I was doing with myself,” he said.

"I got to spend a lot more time with my kids than most because when I am home, I am really home.

"When we were away because U2 had such good fortune, we could bring our children with us.

"So I don’t feel they lost as much as they could have, but they lost some of me and that is why I wrote the book.”

Bono’s memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story will be published on November 1.

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