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Ed Sheeran opens up about depression, drug use, bulimia: 'I felt like I didn't want to live anymore'

By NICK GARCIA Published Mar 22, 2023 1:27 pm

Trigger warning: This story talks about mental health problems.

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has opened up about his depression, following the deaths of his two close friends last year.

In a cover story interview with Rolling Stone for its April issue, 32-year old Sheeran said he's been dealing with depression throughout his life, but it got worse when music entrepreneur Jamal Edwards and cricketer Shane Warne passed on.

“I felt like I didn’t want to live anymore,” he said. “You’re under the waves drowning. You’re just sort of in this thing. And you can’t get out of it.”

He was deeply affected when his wife Cherry Seaborn, was diagnosed with a tumor when she was pregnant with their second child, which could not be removed until after birth.

"You feel so powerless," Sheeran said. "There's nothing you can do about it."

Sheeran's arduous copyright battle involving his 2017 hit Shape of You was also a factor that took a toll on his mental health.

Songwriters Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue alleged that he lifted musical phrases from their 2015 song Oh Why. Sheeran won the case in April 2022.

In the extensive interview with Rolling Stone, Sheeran also talked about his past drug use, and how he had tried "a few" substances aside from marijuana in his mid-20s. He was also partying until 7 a.m. and waking up at 4 p.m.

Sheeran opened up about his bulimia, an eating order in which one overeats then deliberately forcefully purges the food through vomiting or laxatives. He said he had body image problems when he was working with lean artists like Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber.

But things are getting better, according to Sheeran, thanks to Seaborn and their two kids.

He said his wife encouraged him to seek professional help.

"I think it's very helpful to be able to speak with someone and just vent and not feel guilty about venting," he said.

“The help isn’t a button that is pressed, where you’re automatically OK. It is something that will always be there and just has to be managed,” he added.

He said he also felt "really embarrassed" about his thoughts about death, as it's "selfish" given that he has two kids.

Sheeran is set to release his sixth studio album Subtract on May 5.

Originally a set of acoustic songs written in the past decade, Sheeran said he rewrote the entire album against the "backdrop of grief and hope" he has experienced.

Aside from Shape of You, Sheeran is known for hits like Lego House, Thinking Out Loud, and Perfect. He also had film cameos in Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Red Notice.


If you think you, your friend, or your family member is experiencing mental health problems, you may call the National Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 1553 (Luzon-wide, landline toll-free), 0966-351-4518 or 0917-899-USAP (8727) for Globe/TM users, or 0908-639-2672 for Smart users. It’s offering free, compassionate, and confidential support over the phone 24/7.