Ellie Goulding Describes Using Alcohol To Cope With Early Fame

By Desiree Bowie 12/04/19

"I assumed I couldn't be good enough, smart, funny, or crazy enough to be with certain people without it."

Ellie Goulding
ID 38512700 © Tudor Marian | Dreamstime.com

Ellie Goulding opened up about the way she used alcohol to cope during the start of her career on a recent episode of Fearne Cotton's Happy Place podcast.

"I would say, 'Right, I've got to drink this morning because I've got this interview and I don't really know how to answer the questions, because I don't really know who I am any more,'" the 32-year-old explained.

Dealing With Fame

Goulding rose to fame in 2010 with the release of her debut album, Lights. The album debuted at number one on the UK charts and the "Under the Sheets" singer went from a relative unknown to one of the biggest pop stars across the pond.

The mounting pressure took its toll on the singer who began to use alcohol to bolster her famous persona.

"I thought drinking would at least make me a bit more funny, or interesting," Goulding said. "I had to be a fake person to deal with the surreal situation I was in. I assumed I couldn't be good enough, smart, funny, or crazy enough to be with certain people without it."

While Goulding acknowledges the role that alcohol played in her life at the time, she maintains that she was not addicted to it.

"I wasn't an alcoholic," she said. "I could go months without a drink, too."

Panic Attacks & Anxiety

Goulding has been about the pressures of fame before. In 2017, she penned an essay for Well + Good chronicling the mental health struggles she faced as her fame began to rise.

"I was thrilled, of course—sharing my music with the world was a dream I'd been working toward for years—but it was a lot all at once," Goulding writes. "Suddenly I was living alone in London, and everything was happening so fast."

The life-altering experience brought on panic attacks for the singer. "The scariest part was it could be triggered by anything," Goulding writes. "My new life as a pop star certainly wasn’t as glamorous as all my friends from home thought. Secretly I was really struggling physically and emotionally."

Goulding shares that the combination of a lack of self-confidence and the intense pressures of her career led to her mental health battles. "I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself—I was scared I wasn't as good of a singer as everyone thought I was," she writes. "And as the stakes grew, I was afraid of letting everyone, including myself, down."

Even performing was a struggle, she revealed, citing her performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Eventually, though, Goulding realized that she had to find confidence within herself in order to move forward. "I was annoyed for being paralyzed with nerves every time I was about to perform on television. I told myself that this was exactly where I was supposed to be and if other people believed in me, I had to start believing in myself," she writes.


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Desiree Bowie is a writer and movie lover from Los Angeles, California. Follow her on Twitter @dangerbowie