Ed Sheeran Took Music Break To Avoid 'Slipping Into Substance Abuse'

By Victoria Kim 10/25/17

“All of the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them. Mostly, like, substance abuse.”

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran stopped himself from “slipping into” destructive habits that come part and parcel with fame and fortune—and instead put himself first.

The English singer-songwriter appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show last Saturday alongside fellow singer Rita Ora and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

Sheeran shared the reason behind his decision to take a year off, preceding the release of his latest album ÷. The 26-year-old “Shape of You” singer said he caught himself slipping into bad habits and decided to take a step back from it all. 

“All of the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them. Mostly, like, substance abuse,” said Sheeran. “I never touched anything. I started slipping into it, and that’s why I took a year off and buggered off.”

It didn’t help the young performer that he didn’t get a chance to adjust to fame because he was constantly working and performing on tour. He said he couldn’t see his potential downward spiral looming, until a friend pulled him aside and told him to “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 and taking a year off,” said Sheeran.

Sheeran’s decision to not let his substance use get out of control was all for the best, since the singer admits he’s not the most functional when he’s using. 

“I just focused on other things. 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].”

He’s since moved in with his girlfriend Cherry Seaborn, who he says helps him stay grounded. “I was a 25-year-old in the music industry on tour, so I just needed someone to balance me out,” said Sheeran.

Now with some much needed rest and time for self-reflection, Sheeran can confidently stick to what’s most important: taking care of himself and his loved ones. “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,” he said.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr