UK singer Ed Sheeran has opened up about his addiction to binge eating and alcohol during the early days of his career.
The singer shared his struggle during an online summit on anxiety and wellbeing, where he spoke of how his “very addictive personality” led to problems with food and alcohol.
The 29-year-old singer said it was during his 180-day tour in 2014-15 where he hit his lowest point.
“I would stay up and drink all night and then sleep on the bus,” he said. “The buses would park underneath the arenas and I’d sleep on the bus all day, then wake up and then come out, do the show, drink, get back on the bus and I didn’t see sunlight for maybe four months.”
“It’s all fun and games at the start. it’s all rock and roll, and then like it starts getting sad. That was probably like the lowest that I’ve been and I kind of ballooned in weight.”
Sheeran said it was his “addictive personality” that led him to binge on food and alcohol.
“If I’m gonna drink… I see no point in having a glass of wine. I’d rather have two bottles,” he said.
“They used to call me two-dinner Teddy because I used to order two meals and eat that,” he said. “Then you start putting on loads of weight and hating the way you look.
“I think things like sugar, sweet stuff, junk food, cocaine, alcohol, it feels good the more you do, but it’s the worst thing for you.”
Sheeran said it was reading Elton John’s autobiography where he came to realise his problem.
“I’m reading Elton John’s book at the moment and there are so many things that he did that I do.
“He would be like, ‘I would just go on an ice cream binge and eat four f…… desserts until I throw it up’, and I was like, ‘I’ve done that before’.
“Or his martini binges, where he sees how many he can drink. And I’m like, ‘I’ve done that before too’.”
In December 2019, Sheeran said he would be taking a break from music and social media. The singer said he used the time off to make changes in his life, with support of his wife Cherry.
“She exercises a lot, so I started going on runs with her. She eats quite healthily so I started eating quite healthily. She doesn’t drink that much so I wasn’t drinking,” he said. “I think that all changed things.”
Many people have praised Sheeran for opening up about his struggle with binge eating and alcohol.
“Women are expected to have a torturous relationship with food. Guys like Sheeran, however? Not so much.,” write The Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi, who suffered from an eating disorder herself.
Mahwadi went on to explain that despite the fact that 25% of people with eating disorders are men, many people still see it as a “female affliction”.
She points out that while Sheeran does not say he has an eating disorder, his openness about his struggle shines a light on the struggle many men face around body image and their relationship with food.
“Sheeran is far from the only male celebrity to have spoken recently about his relationship with body image and food; more and more men are starting to speak candidly about the problem.
“For every man who speaks up and redefines what an eating disorder looks like, there is someone out there who will realise: “I have done that before.” There is someone out there who will realise that they are not alone and that there is no shame in getting help.”
Help and advice around eating disorders:
- New Zealand: Call EDANZ on 0800 2 EDANZ, the Crisis 24 Hour Service on 0800 800 717, or speak to your doctor.
- In Australia: Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Butterfly’s National Support Line, 1800 ED HOPE, or speak to your doctor.