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 In Pop Culture

Grammy award-winning musician Ed Sheeran opened up about his secret history with substance abuse in 2017 that led him to take a hiatus from the industry.

Sheeran, known for his chart-topping hits like “Shape Of You” and “Thinking Out Loud”, admitted that his sudden rise in international fame affected him negatively. It went to such an extent that he “started slipping into” dangerous habits.

The British singer discussed his past drinking problem with talk show host Jonathan Ross in a 2017 interview. “I think you need to, when you get into the industry, adjust to it — and I didn’t adjust because I was constantly working on tour,” Sheeran told Ross. “And all the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them. Mostly, like, substance abuse.”

Although he did not specifically mention which substances he struggled with, he also discussed his struggle with alcohol he experienced while adjusting to fame early on in his career. Sheeran said his alcohol use started harmlessly, like drinking at parties. However, it gradually resulted in him drinking on his own. When family and friends expressed their concern, he decided to take a year off from the music industry. “It’s all fun,to begin with, it all starts off as a party and then you’re doing it on your own and it’s not, so that was a wake-up call and taking a year off.”

Sheeran experienced a bicycle incident in October 2017 that could have been career-ending. After he crashed his bike, he said he did not even realize he had broken both arms in different places. “The thing is, when it happened, I got up and was like, ‘That hurt’ and then cycled to the pub,” Sheeran said. “Went home, went to sleep and then woke up at five o’clock in the morning in a lot of pain. And then went to the hospital.” The incident led to the cancellation of concerts for the Asia leg of his world tour that year, but Sheeran explained that doctors told him if he did not take that time off, he might never to be able to play guitar again.

The year-long break was a time of recovery for the musician. He says the support from his girlfriend, Cherry Seaborn, for helping him through his struggle. “We live together now, and I think that was a real help grounding me,” he said. “I was a 25-year-old in the music industry on tour, so I just needed someone to balance me out.”

Focusing on music helped him through a difficult time. “I focused on work and I can’t work under the influence,” he said. “I can’t write songs under the influence, I can’t perform under the influence so the more I worked the less [that happened].”

At the end of the day, Sheeran does not want recreational substance use to interfere with his life and career. “I’ve worked my whole life to get to where I am, and you can’t lose that over something that you do in your spare time.”

Sheeran is not the only celebrity to struggle with the “famous” lifestyle. Many celebrities publicly struggle with substance abuse. The prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among the rich and famous, it could be a matter of accessibility. When it comes down to it, affluent celebrities have greater access to certain addictive substances. Celebrities also live their lives in the public eye- with both their successes and failures being very public. While most individuals can struggle with their addiction privately, celebrities are forced to deal with their addiction with the world watching. If you or someone you know are suffering from substance abuse or addiction, contact us for help.

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