Ed Sheeran recalled having a hard time early in his career when he noticed he didn’t look like every other male artist.
“I’m self-conscious anyway, but you get into an industry where you’re getting compared to every other pop star. I was in the One Direction wave, and I’m like, ‘Well, why don’t I have a six-pack?’” the 32-year-old crooner told Rolling Stone in an article published on Tuesday, March 21. “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?’”
The “Bad Habits” singer revealed that he developed an eating disorder amid the stress and pressure to fit in.
“I found myself doing what Elton [John] talks about in his book — gorging, and then it would come up again,” Sheeran explained, referring to John’s autobiography, Me, in which he wrote about his battle with bulimia.
The “Shape of You” crooner told the outlet that speaking out about his eating disorder is somewhat taboo among men — and in the U.K.
“There’s certain things that, as a man talking about them, I feel mad uncomfortable,” Sheeran continued. “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.”
The Grammy winner confessed: “I have a real eating problem [and] I’m a real binge eater. I’m a binge-everything.”
The England native — who shares two daughters, Lyra, 2, and Jupiter, 8 months, with wife Cherry Seaborn — noted that he’s chosen to turn his binge tendencies into a positive. “I’m now more of a binge exerciser, and a binge dad,” he concluded. “And work, obviously.”
Sheeran previously revealed in December 2019 that he lost 50 pounds after quitting smoking three years prior. The life change came after years of touring and unhealthy dieting on the road.
“For me, it was down to, like, bad diet, drinking and then not seeing sunlight at all [while] I was touring. Oh, and I wasn’t exercising,” the “Perfect Duet” singer recalled in July 2020 of his X tour during the Hay House Chasing the Present Summit. “I would stay up and drink all night.”
At the time, he called 2015 the “lowest that I’ve been,” admitting that what had started as “fun and games” and “rock ’n’ roll” ended up being “just sad.”
The “Photograph” crooner revealed that he “ballooned in weight” during that time due to his “very, very addictive personality.” Some of those vices included “sugar, sweet stuff, junk food, cocaine, alcohol.”
While speaking with Rolling Stone in March, Sheeran gave an update on his sobriety journey — which began two months before his eldest child was born — and how he manages his drinking now.
“Cherry said, ‘If my waters break, do you really want someone else to drive me to the hospital?’ Because I was just drinking a lot. And that’s when it clicked,” the “Thinking Out Loud” singer told the magazine. “I was like, ‘No, actually, I really don’t.’ And I don’t ever want to be pissed holding my kid. … It’s just a realization of, ‘I’m getting into my thirties. Grow up! You’ve partied, you’ve had this experience. Be happy with that and just be done.’”
Despite cutting back on hard alcohol and drugs, he’s not fully sober. “I love red wine, and I love beer,” Sheeran said. “I don’t know any old rockers that aren’t alcoholics or sober, and I didn’t want to be either.”
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If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, visit the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD) website or call their hotline at (888)-375-7767 to get help.