Chris Reynolds Gordon is about to call time on an extraordinary decade of his life. The 29-year-old, who turns 30 tomorrow, has enjoyed the giddy highs of success on the running track, as well as the lows of homelessness, losing his mother, and suicide attempts.
He embarked on an adventure that has seen him make – and lose – millions, that has taken him to Russia for an encounter at the Kremlin and returned him to London as the founder of Heaven Circle, who organise London’s most exclusive sex parties.
Before all that however he was, in his own words, “one of the most successful junior athletes the country has ever produced”, winning countess medals before his world came crashing down at just 18-years-old.
Now ready to embrace a new chapter in his life, Reynolds retains a relentless drive to succeed but doesn’t shy away from revealing details that others would try and bury.
This is his story.
When did you first start running?
I was always good. The first time I stepped on the track I was always breaking school records and that sort of stuff. I always did cross country but I was at one of the youth trials for the 400m and it was a grass track, and I was about 12 years old and I ran 59 seconds in trainers, on grass. That was my first ever race, and I was about 80 metres ahead of everyone else, so I got told to go to a track.
In my first ever 1500m on track I ran the fastest time in the country in my heat and I was number one every year until I was 18 and when I was homeless. I was very lucky.
In comparison to the highs that were to come later on in life, how did running make you feel?
There is nothing better than running. When I would step on the track, people would say ‘God, Chris is here”, and they would be worried from the outset because no one could beat me. There were years that I was undefeated. I loved that because it gave me a sense of significance, it made me feel like I had a gift that others couldn’t have and I was very grateful for that.
Was the plan to go to the Olympics?
The plan was Olympic champion, no doubt, in both the 800m and the 1500m.
How close were you to realising that dream?
I won four English School gold medals and two silvers. I even won a silver in the 100m relay. No one was quite as good as me. I won everything Mo Farah won. Then when I got to 18 I had a massive falling out with my parents and I was living in the back of my car for a few weeks until my girlfriend’s parents took me in.
After that point it all went completely awry. But until then I was the fastest 800m runner in Europe for my age and I ran one of the fastest times in the world. So I was very close.
So you were running against some of those who made it to the 2012 Olympics then?
How did that make you feel?
It’s hard. I beat Andrew Osagie. He got to seventh in the Olympic final when David Rudisha broke the record [In fact, Osagie’s London 2012 800m final time would have won gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing]. I was faster than Mo Farah over the same distances at my age, Michael Rimmer, I beat him many, many times.
Tom Lancashire, he came second to me in the 1500m at the English schools. He went on to go to the Olympics. [1996 Olympic Champion] Vebjørn Rodal, I beat him in Norway. I was very good but the combination of being homeless and trying to get back into training did for me. Plus then my Mum died which really fucked me up.
After that I got plantar fasciitis in my foot and had no funding, and all of those things combined meant I couldn’t carry on. The funding was the biggest thing. I got to 24 and sold everything I had to go South Africa to train, and then I came back and came sixth in the in the country at senior level but still I had no funding. It was then I decided that it was time to move on.
What happened when you stepped away from the track?
When I was 18, that’s when things started to go wrong for me. I still ran for Great Britain and came second in the country but I wasn’t guaranteed to win any more. That was caused by not speaking to my parents – because my Dad was my coach. That’s when things started to spiral and called it a day at 25.
What happened with your parents to leave you homeless? Why did you fall out?
I was doing far too much. Training two intense sessions a day gym in the morning, running in the evening and doing a computer course for fun in my day off while working for my mother cooking school dinners and driving my brother to school early in the morning and often picking him up….. And trying to make the Olympics.
“With my Dad’s help I was one of the most – if not the most – successful junior athletes this country has ever produced”
My parents were under a lot of stress at the time. They basically just said: “if you don’t like it, there’s the door.”
That must have been hard to deal with?
To begin with I was sleeping in the back of my car for two weeks living off fish and chips every single day. Then my girlfriend’s parents took me in and said “Look, you can’t do this anymore, come live with us” and they put me through university.
How did it feel going from being the golden child to being homeless? Were you angry?
Oh my god. I have been through a lot, homelessness, abuse, losing millions and all sorts, but at 19 when everything went from going so well to my whole world crashing around me, it was the worst year of my life.
I have never felt so low and its taken probably until last year to recover from how bad that year was, emotionally. I mean, my parents changed the locks on the house, you know. It was really fucking bad. They don’t think they’re in the wrong but I don’t want to get into that.
How low did you get?
I wanted to kill myself, I was suicidal.
You’ve publicly spoken about dealing with depression – did that start when things started to go wrong with your running?
I think it is in my DNA. I think sometimes with depression, some people have a tendency to be more depressed than others. I certainly believe that some of the events in my life were a catalyst for depression though. I think if I am being honest I’m in a very good place right now but everyone falls off the wagon. Whereas before I would say 95% of my life was depressed, I would say now that only 1% of the time will I have a down day.
Did you seek treatment for it?
I was on anti-depressants. I was in counseling. I tried to kill myself and was almost put in the psychiatric ward in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on my birthday two years ago. I genuinely didn’t want to be around any more.
But all this treatment and all these drugs could only go so far – it comes down to how much you want to change. If you don’t want to change you can have everything in the world but you’re just going to stay the same.
So when did the recovery process start because you started running again in 2006, right?
It took me a year-and-a-half to recover, and during that time I didn’t speak to my parents.
My girlfriend’s parents put me through university, when I wrote my car off they bought me a new car. We were together for six years and they were amazing to me. They paid for everything.
After a year-and-a-half, I wrote my Mum a letter, which said ”Look, you never know what’s going to happen in a year’s time, one of us could not be around, let’s put this all behind us because I miss you guys and I love you.”
“I was like; fuck, I’ve lost my Mum, lost all the money she left me, my Dad doesn’t want to know me, and my running has gone to pot – what the fuck do I do now?”
I remember writing the letter and I was using a fountain pen. I remember the tears rolling off my face and a lot of the writing was smudged because I was crying so much. My Mum called me afterwards and told me to come down to the house, and from there it was the best six months I ever had with her. I got back into training again and I went from being shit to going to Australia and winning one of their big championships in Perth.
Then I came back and had an amazing Christmas with my Mum and Dad, who became my coach again, and all of a sudden my Mum died and it all fell apart again.
But that year when I was 21, I was undefeated because I was so angry at what had happened and no-one could beat me. I ran my [800m] PB that year. I didn’t train for three months and I managed to run 1.47.
Your Dad was your coach, are you similar? Do you get your character traits from him?
He’s actually my Stepdad. I didn’t speak to my real Dad for 15 years.
Why is that?
I probably shouldn’t go into too much about….but something happened when I was young and I didn’t see my biological father for 15 years.
My actual name is Christopher Webb but that got changed when I was 11 when I started living with my Mum and Stepdad, and I was known as Chris Reynolds. I’ve got this sort of split-personality and I’m a really nice guy but in business I’m very serious.
After the interview with Vice they asked me what name I wanted to use. I was watching Wall Street with Gordon Gecko, and I also fucking love Gordon Ramsey, and I saw these character traits in people with the name Gordon so I added that to my name.
When you got things back together with your family and your Mum passed away – how did you deal with that?
I remember I had a surprise birthday party for my 21st, and the next day I said to one of my best mates: “After all that’s happened to me I am so happy, life couldn’t be better.” Five or six days later, my Mum died. I was like; “Are you taking the piss?!” Life just couldn’t get any worse – but then it actually did.
After that I inherited £360,000 and paid £42,000 to traders who taught me how to trade. I absolutely smashed it. I tripled my account in a year. I bought properties all over the world, then the recession hit. And it was all off-plan [before construction is complete], and because of that the whole deck of cards fell apart. I lost millions.
“Things were going really well until that guy ran off and I found myself homeless again. I was in and out of youth hostels and slept on the changing room floor of a friend’s office to save money.”
I was like; fuck, I’ve lost my Mum, lost all the money she left me, my Dad doesn’t want to know me, and my running has gone to pot- what the fuck do I do now?!”
That was very much a reminder of when I was 19 when I would wake in the middle of the night and have tears and snot running down my face. I couldn’t get out of bed.
What is your relationship with your Stepdad like now?
I don’t talk to him at all.
Is that a source of regret?
There’s no one in the world I love more than my Stepdad. He just stopped calling. He got a new girlfriend and that was it. That hurt me a lot. I still care about him massively, and no matter what’s happened I still have massive respect for him because as a team growing up we were formidable.
We didn’t do anything by the book, we didn’t do things the way people said we should. With his help I was one of the most –if not the most – successful junior athletes this country has ever produced.
Do you look back on your time running with pride or with a sense of what might have been?
If you look at my Twitter feed you’ll see a picture of all my medals laid out that I found while moving. When I was laying out all those medals and kits – I couldn’t even fit them all in – I thought to myself; ‘that’s a massive achievement”. I met a lot of friends from it too.
If I’m being honest, if I wasn’t number one, if I wasn’t the Olympic champion, I would not have been happy. If I were second, I would have felt a failure. I would have been devastated if I had dedicated my whole life and came second.
No one remembers second, and I’m not saying that to discredit anyone else, but if I won a silver medal in the past I would throw it away.
How did you transition from trading to running sex parties?
I lost all my money in the 2008 recession. I decided to try and get it back by trading diamonds. No one took me seriously but I managed to obtain proof of funds through a well-known bank, I then went to Russia and Antwerp. Long story short I met a lot of very influential people but it didn’t really work out.
What happened next?
I thought; “what the fuck am I going to do now? “ and tried hanging myself at that point.
Then I was on massive anti-depressants, and broke up with my girlfriend, and shut up shop and went to South Africa. At that point I think I was ranked about 200 in the country, but I hadn’t trained or anything and wasn’t taking it seriously. I was 24 at this point and I went from there to sixth in the country in six months, training with all the African guys out there in a place called Potchefstroom which is where Kelly Holmes used to train.
I then came back and came sixth in the indoor national championships although I ran a really bad race. That was in 2011. I cried my eyes out when I decided to quit.
I then worked the whole year, I applied for seven jobs and got seven offers and got made director in one company. Things were going really well until that guy ran off and I found myself homeless again. I was in and out of youth hostels and slept on the changing room floor of a friend’s office to save money.
So when did the idea for sex parties come into your head?
I worked a day job and a night job and the guy gave me shares in the company. In 2012, a girl who I met through swinging came to me with an idea that she wanted to do couple-bookings escorting.
I went from sleeping on the changing room floor to making thousands of pounds so I went from there to South Kensington in four weeks. I did that for about four or five months but the whole nature of the business got me depressed.
The Olympics were obviously on in 2012 and I had to sit there and watch everyone else doing well while I was sitting there with depression and hating my life. I was staying with my Nan – after giving up escorting I didn’t have enough money to pay for the apartment – in South Wales and worked for Amazon packing boxes. I did that for a few months and came up with the idea for the parties. And they absolutely flew.
How long was it from the initial idea to the first party?
I was always doing small parties but it really kicked off in 2013. We started by making a big fucking loss and then by late 2013 we were selling out every venue.
Then we started doing it internationally and that helped raise money for my other business ventures. For example I also sell high-end watches for prices you can’t get anywhere else. It’s been an unbelievable year and my mind hasn’t quite adjusted to it yet.
You seem to be very driven – is than innate quality or a reaction to the events of your life?
I think it’s a combination of both. It’s written in me that I want to do my best but if you look deeper it could be a result of me wanting to feel loved or significant, or trying to replace that feeling I had knowing that I was gifted at something. I guess this hunger and drive to prove myself is probably what’s spilled over into the trading, the partying and everything else.
You starred in a documentary on Channel 4 called Sex Party Secrets – did that give you the validation you seek?
I guess so. What’s quite funny is that I got to a position where I didn’t have to worry about money, and was getting with crazy amounts of girls. Life became comfortable again, and I actually found myself getting a bit more depressed because I didn’t know what to do next. Then I wanted to get to another level.
I‘d had “£360 million” written on a piece of paper in my wallet since about four years ago, and so I thought about what I would need to motivate me to get to this level in the future. I sat down with my phone and some things I’d collected from when life was really hard, and it was those moments that gave me the drive to try and achieve that goal.
Do you fear it could all go wrong again?
With everything going really well I’m thinking: “Ah fuck, why is everything going really well?! I know what’s coming next”. But I’m trying to get out of that mindset.
How have you been received since the TV show aired?
It’s really sad how people judge you. People pay to come to my parties and they leave unbelievably happy, so how can you judge people when you don’t know what they are about? They are nice people, lawyers, nurses, journalists – just like the people who are being insulting – and they just like to have fun at the weekend. How can you be so horrible? It was very upsetting.
If you had to choose one – money, sex or running – what would it be?
Money. Because it doesn’t buy you happiness but it buys you opportunity. What people don’t read about in all these things when they see me with shitloads of girls behind me is how much money I have given away. There’s this guy I know who had nothing and he’s just launched his own company, and I was the one who funded it and didn’t want anything in return. I’ve helped out a lot of homeless people because I know what it’s like to be living on the streets.
On my Mother’s grave on New Year’s Eve we had a big, big party in central London, and we ran out of some things. I had to run out to the shop and on my way there I saw a homeless guy and passed him on the way back. I thought; “Fuck, this is New Year’s Eve, you can’t start the year like this”.
I mean we’re hosting a party in a £25 million house, girls everywhere, champagne flowing, and I thought: “How can this contrast be?” So I took this guy a glass, sat with him and said “Happy New Year” to him while I had a massive queue of people to be attending to.
If you have money you have more options and the ability to do things that others can’t do for other people and yourself. So you can go and have great time but you can also genuinely change the lives of other people. We live in a world where money is a massive part of it.