John is the fifth child and second son of Jim and Rebecca Browdie. John had a difficult childhood, which was made worse by the arrival of his younger brother Lucas, as Max and Lucas vied for the attentions of their father. When John was blamed for stealing and losing a medal that Jim's mother was given during World War II in honour of his late father for bravery, Jim severed all ties with his son. John got his girlfriend pregnant at seventeen, which led to them marrying and becoming parents to their son Bradley at just eighteen. John lost touch with his parents, but kept in touch with his siblings, particularly Carol. Max began an affair with Charlotte, and after discovering that she was pregnant, Max divorced his wife and lost all contact with Bradley. Max married Charlotte and became a father to their children.