IN a rare interview, Ed Sheeran has told how his addictive personality made him binge on junk food until he was sick and spend 19 hours a day on social media.
In the frank chat with an American self-help book publisher, the singer credited wife Cherry, 28, for helping him to turn his health around.
Ed, 29, also opened up about losing family and friends due to his wealth, the mental toll of his mammoth world tours, where he wouldn’t see daylight for months, and how anxiety led him to question his career.
COMPARING his life to Sir Elton John’s early days of overindulging on drink and food, Ed revealed he had a “very addictive personality” and could relate to moments in the pop legend’s autobiography Me.
He said: “I have a very addictive personality.
“Very, very addictive personality.
“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***ing 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’.
I see no point in having a glass of wine. I’d rather have two bottles
“He ends up getting really f***ing sad and depressed and all of these things can can add to that.”
Ed insisted moderation is key.
The singer added: “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, I think.
“I think with addiction, it’s just very hard to moderate, but moderation is the key.
“I’m covered in tattoos and I kind of don’t do things by halves so if I’m gonna drink, I see no point in having a glass of wine. I’d rather have two bottles.
“Having a glass of wine is having something in moderation and probably isn’t going to affect your day the next day. But two bottles of wine probably might make you quite sad.
“And there’s only so many movies you can watch and packets of Monster Munch you can eat.”
ED revealed he had very few friends at school until he started to sing, inspired by guitar legend Eric Clapton.
He said: “I was just being 11 and seeing Eric Clapton on TV and being like, ‘Yeah that looks cool’.”
Ed added: “I wasn’t really that into music as a kid. I went to high school and picked up a guitar.
“And then suddenly I started making friends, getting girlfriends, playing in bands and having fun.
“It made me feel good and I decided I wanted to do it as a job. I did wedding bands for a while, and that paid the rent.
“I just wanted to play music as a job. It snowballed and I started aiming for things and working harder.
“I don’t think anyone that wants to be famous ends up being famous. And when they do, they’re like, ‘This isn’t as fun as I thought it would be’.
“You get to Wembley and do it because it’s what you aim for. And then you finish it and you’re like, ‘What do I do now?’ You’d think it would be ‘Aha, this is it. I’ve made it. Oh my God’.
“You don’t learn anything from your achievements. You learn everything from your failures.
“I learned more playing to one person in Exeter when no one else came to my gig in 2009 than I did playing Wembley Stadium for four nights.”
THE singer explained how he has lost family and friends as a result of his global fame and fortune.
Ed, who is worth £200million and with a £57million property empire, even revealed people have stolen from him.
He said: “If you have success and you find money, everyone goes, ‘Ah must be great for you’. And that is what is not great because you then get people being weird.
“I’ve had family members turn weird and friends fall out with me, and people stealing. Money is not the key to happiness and it causes so many problems if you have it.”
Ed is the younger of two sons – his brother Matthew is a composer – to parents John, an art lecturer, and Imogen, a jewellery maker.
He added: “Fame is an enhancer, but for everyone else’s insecurities. People look at you differently, people that you’d been friends with for years.”
TOURING was a 24/7 party of boozing and darkness for four months.
Ed’s routine saw him drink into the early hours of the morning after a show then sleep on the bus in the day until his next performance.
He said: “It’s such a weird existence living on tour because your life is on pause. Nothing really happens. Everything else goes on around you. So you’ll come back home and life has moved forward three years.
“Every day is a party because every day there’ll be a new person in the town you’re visiting that you haven’t seen for a while.
“When I go to Manchester, I see my friend Sophie. And when I’m in Glasgow, I see my mate Graham. So every day you’re drinking and it becomes normal.”
Ed admits he was at his lowest during his 180-date X Tour, which kicked off in 2014 and spanned 17 months.
He says: “It was down to a bad diet, drinking and then not seeing sunlight at all. The buses would park underneath the arenas.
“Sleep on the bus all day and then wake up and then come out do the show, drink, get back on the bus. I didn’t see sunlight for, like, maybe like four months.
“And it’s all fun and games at the start, then it starts getting just sad. So I think that’s probably the lowest that I’ve been and I kind of ballooned.
“I felt, ‘What was the point?’ In a dark way, like, ‘Why am I around? What is the point?’”
AT his worst, Ed was glued to his phone for 19 hours a day.
He would scroll continuously through Instagram and Twitter but ditching social media in 2015 after his X Tour.
The singer eventually reactivated his profiles but has taken another break since Christmas.
Ed said: “Social media is a weird one because it is my job to be on it and to keep up with the times and appeal to younger generations. I was on my phone probably 19 hours of the day in 2015 and before that.
“Just constantly, posting, flicking, posting, flicking, and it wasn’t till the tour ended in 2015 where I was like, ‘I’m just gonna try and live without my phone for a bit’.
“People were texting the whole time and it just felt a lot of responsibility to either reply or meet up with them. For the first month I felt like a massive weight had been lifted.”
I’m probably over an age where I don’t think I’m going to get the youth back
The hitmaker claims he won’t rely on social media any more as younger users cannot relate to his lyrics.
He said: “I’m probably over an age where I don’t think I’m going to get the youth back.
“I’m getting into my thirties and it’s not like 16-year-olds are going to relate to me next time I release an album. So it’s not like I need to be on it any more. I can just have someone [else]post it.”
The hitmaker also warned social media is “dangerous” for youngsters.
He said: “I know friends who have eight-year-olds that have an iPhone 11 and they’re just constantly on social media.
“Kids stop being creative. I stopped being creative when I’m on my phone so when I come in the studio I completely get rid of any laptop or email or anything so you can focus.
“There’s an eight-year-old kid that in their spare moments wants to go on TikTok and not paint a macaroni glue picture.”
THE singer has been using his time off from touring and making music to overhaul his diet and find new passions.
He said: “They used to call me ‘Two Dinner Teddy’ because I used to order two meals and eat them.
“Then you start putting on loads of weight and start hating the way you look. But eating healthy food makes you feel great.
“A salad is not something to be scared of. I used to see a salad and be like, ‘Why is that there?’”
He has even got back into art. Ed said: “I finished my tour and then I was like, ‘I should probably try and find something else to give me happiness that isn’t my work’.
“I bought 30 canvases and I painted a canvas a day for 30 days. I guess it’s kind of Jackson Pollocky.
“I bought house paint and then I would just layer it up by flicking it.”
ONE of his great influences has been wife Cherry.
Ed’s childhood sweetheart helped him overcome his wild lifestyle and put him on a healthy regime of early morning runs and clean eating.
Having rekindled their romance in 2015, they married three years later.
He said: “She eats quite healthily. So I started eating quite healthily with her. She doesn’t drink that much so I wasn’t drinking.”
She also guides the singer through anxiety-induced panic attacks, including one at a restaurant in Venice, Italy, while celebrating their first wedding anniversary.
Ed said: “Sometimes she’ll be like, ‘Cool. Yeah, we’ll leave,’ but sometimes I am just being paranoid.
“I remember as soon as I got into the restaurant, I was like, ‘Get me the f*** out of here’.
“And she said, ‘No one’s looking at you. No one wants anything. There’s just old people chilling, they’re having their coffees’.
“And then, after five minutes, everything was calm.”
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