celebrity

Ed Sheeran was at the top of the charts. But he could barely leave the house.

“Shape of You.” “Thinking Out Loud.” “The A team.”

They’re just a few of the chart-topping songs written and sung by Ed Sheeran that have propelled him to exceptional heights of success.

But when Ed Sheeran was at the top of the music lists worldwide, his struggle with mental health was reaching new lows.

In an interview with broadcaster Charlamagne Tha God on Sheeran’s own YouTube channel, the 26-year-old, known for keeping his personal life private, was candid about how worldwide fame has seen him develop crippling anxiety.

Dr Lowinger chats to Mia Freedman about anxiety: how it presents itself, what causes it and what can be done to treat it.

“I get anxiety every day. It creeps up on you. I’ve been working on it for eight years, and I closed off from reality,” Sheeran admitted.

“Whether it’s getting rid of your phone or only looking at emails twice a day. Or cutting down my friendship group to the bare, bare, bare minimum just so I trust everyone. Or whether it’s living in the countryside in the middle of nowhere and kind of closed off from reality. All these little things are in place to protect my mind.”

In the 50 minute interview, the singer shared for the first time that he is married to his long-term partner, Cherry Seaborn, whom he met in high school.

“I wake up every day with Cherry and I’m like why the f*ck are you with me? You could be with whoever you wanted and you’ve chosen me.

“I’m saying all the things that I think are wrong with me, and you still want to be with me? I find that amazing.”

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran and his wife Cherry. Image: Instagrram.

Sheeran shared it was the song "Shape of You" from his 2017 album Divide which "brought me to a new level of fame."

"I thought I was at my peak and then suddenly it was like a completely different world. It's the world of your Beyonce's and your Jay-Z's and Adeles and just suddenly there's so much interest in me."

The singer-songwriter admitted since then, his anxiety has been intensified when he leaves the house and is swarmed by fans, and said his wife plays a pivotal role in helping him with mental health.

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"Cherry's always trying to get me to go out more and more," Sheeran said. "She [Cherry] thinks it’s not healthy to do this [stay in all the time]...

"I lost the ability to go to a supermarket and buy a loaf of bread about three years ago.

"It makes me feel like I’m not human. If you want to come up to me and have a conversation with me. Even if we’ve never met, just come up. But what instantly cuts me off is that you’re having a moment with them which is so genuine and so nice and then at the end they ask for a picture.

"It puts you down to earth and you’re just 15 likes on Instagram. That’s all you are."

Watch: Ed Sheeran performs "Drunk in Love" with Beyonce. Post continues after video.

Sheeran recounted a time a man showed an act of kindness, by not asking him for a photo, which has stuck with him since.

"I was at a Marilyn Manson show and this guy shook my hand and said he liked my music, and that was it. That was so nice and it meant so much. Like if I am eating in a restaurant now, I would prefer to have a private room because if I eat in the public room I have people filming me while I’m eating my food. You feel like a zoo animal. I don’t mean to be complain-y, I have a cool job and life. But if I can avoid it I will."

He's not the first celebrity to be open about how fame has brought their struggle with anxiety to dizzying new heights.

Justin Bieber, who collaborates with Sheeran in his new album No. 6 Collaborations Project, shared with his Instagram followers earlier this year that he is "going through it".

"Fight for what you love and who you love don’t let fear and anxiety win," he wrote. "God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power love and of a sound mind!"

"I haven't (sic) believed the truth about myself I haven’t believed I am loved I haven’t believed I am forgiven it’s a hard thing for me to wrap my head around," he shared. "I hang my head in shame and I wallow in sadness about the the people who have betrayed me."

Both celebrities have spoken about needing to reduce their inner circle to lessen their anxiety.

Watch the full interview with Ed Sheeran.

If you are struggling with anxiety, support is available via Beyond Blue. Call 1300 22 46 36.

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