Chester Charles Bennington (born March 20, 1976) is an American musician. He is currently Linkin Park’s lead vocalist and frontman .
Bennington was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He took interest in music at a young age, citing Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots as early inspirations. Bennington’s parents separated in the late 1980s, while he was still a child. He was sexually abused during his youth, and later struggled with cocaine and methamphetamine addictions. Bennington eventually overcame his drug addiction, and would go on to denounce drug use in future interviews. He worked at a Burger King restaurant before starting his career as a professional musician.
Before joining Linkin Park, Bennington was a vocalist in Grey Daze, a now-defunct post-grunge band from Phoenix, Arizona. He left Grey Daze in 1998, but struggled to find another band to play in. After nearly quitting his musical career altogether, Jeff Blue, then the vice president of A&R at Zomba Music in Los Angeles, offered Bennington an audition with the future members of Linkin Park. Bennington quit his day job, and took his family to California, where he had a successful audition with Linkin Park, who were then called "Hybrid Theory." Bennington and Mike Shinoda, the band’s other vocalist, made significant progress together, but failed to find a record deal. After facing numerous rejections, Jeff Blue, now a vice president of A&R at Warner Bros., intervened again to help the band sign with Warner Bros. Records.
Despite having prodigious success in the early 2000s, Bennington has had medical issues outside of the limelight. He suffered a severe bite from a recluse spider while touring with the OzzFest in 2001. Bennington was plagued with poor health during the making of Meteora, and struggled to attend some of the album’s record sessions. He fell ill during the summer of 2003, and eventually underwent surgery. Bennington sustained a wrist injury in October 2007 while attempting to jump off a platform during a show in Melbourne, Australia. Despite the injury, he continued to perform, and went to the emergency room after the show.
Bennington married his first wife, Samantha, on October 31, 1996. They had one child, named Draven Sebastian, who was born on April 19, 2002. Bennington’s relationship with Samantha declined during his years with Linkin Park, leading to their divorce in 2005. After divorcing his first wife, Bennington married Talinda Bentley, a former Playboy model, with whom he has since had a child, Tyler Lee. He and his family live in a 6,000-square-foot house in Newport Beach Orange County when he is not on tour. He is also an avid tattoo enthusiast. In addition to sporting many tattoos and piercings all over his body, and has done work and promotions with Club Tattoo, a recognized tattoo parlor in Tempe, Arizona. Bennington also made a cameo in the 2006 film Crank.