On Saturday, Ed Sheeran admitted to his past struggle with substance abuse during an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show. The world’s favorite British singer-songwriter has talked in the past about his heavy drinking and relationship with alcohol but this is the first he’s ever mentioned a substance abuse problem.
Since the 26-year-old singer broke into the mainstream in 2011, he’s been a force in the music industry — even writing a song for Beyonce. Sheeran attributes his non-stop touring schedule partially to his substance problem.
“I think you need to, when you get into the industry, adjust to [fame], and I didn’t adjust because I was constantly working on tour,” Sheeran said. “And all the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them. Mostly, like, substance abuse. I never touched anything. I started slipping into it, and that’s why I took a year off and buggered off.”
Before releasing his third album, ÷ in March, the Grammy-award winning singer used his year-long to work on his craft. During the hiatus, Sheeran got rid of his cell phone and went on a social media blackout.
“I focused on work, and I can’t work under the influence,” Sheeran 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]. 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 credits that time off and his girlfriend Cherry Seaborn for his fresh start. “We live together now, and I think that was a real help grounding me,” Sheeran said. “I was a 25-year-old in the music industry on tour, so I just needed someone to balance me out.”
Though Sheeran can now speak candidly about his problem, but he didn’t always know it was an issue. It took time to identify his pattern.
“I didn’t really notice it was happening,” he said. “It just started gradually happening, and then some people took me to one side and were like, ‘Calm yourself down.’ 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.”
The wake-up call has obviously paid off because Sheeran is back and better than ever. The “Shape of You” singer is currently taking a break from his tour due to two fractured arms caused by a bike accident. However, Sheeran looks and sounds amazing.