Ed Sheeran Opens Up About Eating Disorder, Being Compared to One Direction
In a new interview with Rolling Stone published Tuesday (March 21), the "Shivers" singer got candid about addiction, mental health and more.
"At the start of 2022, a series of events changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art," Sheeran said about his upcoming album, Subtract, which completes his series of albums titled after math symbols and is Sheeran's effort to create "the perfect acoustic album."
The life-altering series of events included the death of a close friend, a tense copyright lawsuit and his wife, Cherry Seaborn, finding out she had a tumor.
The death of his friend, Jamal Edwards, sent Sheeran into a bout of depression.
"My best friend died, and he shouldn't have died. I've always had real lows in my life... but it wasn't really 'til last year that I actually addressed it. I felt like I didn't want to live anymore. And I have had that throughout my life... You're under the waves drowning. You're just sort of in this thing. And you can't get out of it," he shared.
Sheeran also opened up about his struggle with disordered eating.
"I'm self-conscious anyway, but you get into an industry where you're getting compared to every other pop star," he said.
"I was in the One Direction wave, and I'm like, 'Well, why don't I have a six-pack?' And I was like, 'Oh, because you love kebabs and drink beer.' Then you do songs with Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. All these people have fantastic figures. And I was always like, 'Well, why am I so ... fat?'" Sheeran continued.
Calling himself a "real binge eater," the singer explained he was "doing what Elton [John] talks about in his book — gorging, and then it would come up again."
"There's certain things that, as a man talking about them, I feel mad uncomfortable. I know people are going to see it a type of way, but it's good to be honest about them. Because so many people do the same thing and hide it as well. I have a real eating problem. I'm a real binge eater. I'm a binge-everything. But I'm now more of a binge exerciser, and a binge dad. And work, obviously," he added.
Sheeran also discussed how his disordered eating intersected with addiction struggles he experienced as a self-described "party boy."
"I remember just being at a festival and being like, 'Well, if all of my friends do it, it can't be that bad...' And then sort of dabbling. And then it just turns into a habit that you do once a week and then once a day and then, like, twice a day and then, like, without booze. It just became bad vibes," he revealed.
Sheeran shared that the birth of his daughter, Lyra, is what ultimately gave him the push he needed to quit drinking.
"Two months before Lyra was born, Cherry said, 'If my water breaks, do you really want someone else to drive me to the hospital?' ... And that's when it clicked. I was like, 'No, actually, I really don't.' And I don't ever want to be pissed holding my kid," he said.
Ed Sheeran's fifth album Subtract is out May 5.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, help is available through the National Eating Disorders Helpline. To speak to someone on the phone, dial 1-800-931-2237.