I ballooned to 15st on diet of wine, beer and chicken wings, confesses Ed Sheeran10/27/2021
ED Sheeran has told how he ballooned to 15½st when he quit touring — after boozing every day and gorging on fried food.
The pop superstar, 30, recalls: “I loved chicken wings, wine, beer, and I never exercised.”
But he reveals in an exclusive interview how he has since stopped bingeing and shed 5st.
Ed Sheeran says becoming a dad clawed him back from a life of excess and hard partying – which put him in “dangerous” situations.
In his only newspaper interview ahead of his new album release tomorrow, the A-lister told how he turned his lifestyle around when wife Cherry was pregnant last year with daughter Lyra.
He recalled how loneliness on tour had led him to drink alone — and he started bingeing at home when he took time off from music.
Ed said: “Since becoming a dad I’ve become quite clean-living. But I think actually taking time off and not being on tour was the worst thing for my health because I would drink every single day.
“I stopped three months before Lyra was born because I was determined I was going to be the person to drive my wife to the hospital. I was 15-and-a-half stone at my peak and I think I’m ten-and-a-half now – I was big, it really showed. I had a 36 waist — now I’m down to 28.
“I always knew I was big, but I knew why I was big too – I loved chicken wings, wine, beer, and I never exercised.
“I do still do all the things I love. I drank wine yesterday, I just didn’t drink two bottles of it. I don’t ever want to ‘quit’ anything either. Because I feel like if you totally try to quit something at some point you’ll probably end up starting to try and binge it again.”
But he went on: “It was when Cherry was pregnant the penny dropped. Lyra has been the biggest motivation in terms of detoxing my life, and I think it’s a change everyone needs to go through if they’re a parent.”
Chatting in a West London restaurant, the 30-year-old singer opened up about the often lonely life of a solo artist on tour — and how he made “a lot of mistakes”.
He said: “I think really what happens is you get lonely – and you have things that you do in the middle of that loneliness to try and feel involved.
“It’s very solitary being a solo artist – even a successful one – because you come off stage and then suddenly it’s just you. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, it’s not about that, and in major cities I have mates and things are fine. But it’s when you’re on tour, somewhere new, and I have a tour crew who are in their 50s, married, kids, they don’t want to go out clubbing til 2am – and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I was literally going out on my own, not knowing anyone, walking into a bar, and seeing where the night took me.
“I ended up in situations which were pretty dangerous, and now I think there are so many times where things could have happened to me and I’m very grateful that they didn’t.” Ed says he has been helped by fellow artists who went through the same thing — and he hopes he can hand down similar advice.
He said: “Robbie Williams has spoken about this and I feel a real connection with his solo career.
“Each album getting bigger than the last and going from arenas, into stadiums, then big fields. And I think being a solo artist you don’t have the band to lean on so you end up leaning on different things.
“I’ve had long conversations with him about it, and he’s been very caring with me.
“He still checks up on me a lot. And now I’m trying to do that for the generation below me because I came to really appreciate it.”
In large parts Ed’s new record Equals, released tomorrow, tells the story of his new family life.
The star also took inspiration from his grief after the death in March this year of close friend and tour promoter Michael Gudinski.
He said: “I think this album is a bit of a quarter-life-crisis album. I spent my 20s travelling the world, no responsibilities, playing shows and having fun — and then suddenly things changed.
“I got married, I became a father, and I turned 30, and I remember that moment and suddenly feeling, ‘I can’t do those things any more’.
“And I think also when I lost my mate Michael back in March that was very influential. Because I’d kind of felt grief before with my grandparents but when you’re young you assume that at some point that’s going to happen.
“You get used to the idea and it happens to all your mates too and you make peace with it. Going through this one made me grow up a lot. I think I felt like an adult for the first time in that six-month period between Lyra being born and Michael dying. That was when I shifted from being a 20-odd-year-old pop star and becoming an adult father and husband.”
Becoming new parents during the pandemic meant he and Cherry had to go it alone without help from family or friends.
It led to Ed, worth an estimated £220million, changing almost every nappy himself — something he says he wears as a badge of honour. He also admits he would love more children.
Ed said: “We didn’t have any help at all because of the pandemic – it was just me and Cherry — but I never wanted to be someone who just handed a baby over.
“We do have one girl who has started recently to help us out now that I’m back at work.
“But that has only been over the last three weeks and I’m still making sure I’m there each morning and night, even if I have a gig or something. I don’t know why you’d have a kid and then just hand it over to someone.
“When Lyra was born, I’ve never felt more useless as a man – even in the hospital it’s all out of your hands. So when Cherry was breastfeeding I was like, ‘Well what can I do?’ And the thing men can do is just do all the nappies and cooking, so that’s what I did.
“I grew to enjoy it, it’s the one thing that made me feel needed in a situation where I otherwise didn’t really feel needed – so I became an expert nappy-changer.
“Cherry jokes that she’s changed like three but I’m proud of that, it’s the one thing I can do, but she does literally everything else.”
'I'D LOVE MORE KIDS'
He added: “I’d love more kids man, I’d love it, but it does all depend on what Cherry wants to because it’s her body.
“I’m really proud of Cherry as a mother. She’s such an incredible human, I’m just in awe.
“She did a whole Cambridge degree which she started two weeks before giving birth, new baby, and I went to her graduation three days ago at Jesus College and people were saying like, ‘How did she do this with a baby?’”
Ed’s new record comes alongside a host of major releases, including Adele’s, but he believes he is less competitive than he used to be.
He said: “I just hope people listen to the album – give it one go.
“If you don’t like it don’t listen again, but just play it once, all the way through. And that Adele song is fantastic – I haven’t heard the album but I’m sure it’s going to be the biggest of the year.”
He added: “I think at the moment, from the UK, there’s probably me, Adele, Coldplay and I’d put Harry Styles in there too at a certain level in the industry right now in terms of record sales reach. Harry’s only had two records so far but his numbers are huge already.
“I was very competitive before, but I’ve found my niche and my fanbase. I’ve got my music out to as many people as I can, and people have worked out who they like, and there’s space for everyone. People can buy my album and Adele’s album, or whoever else.
“I was definitely competitive at the beginning of my career, and I think that came from so many people who doubted that I could do it.
“I went for lunch with Chris Martin the day after their gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire last week, and he said there’s something similar there in him too. He had a tough time at school too and he’s spent his life trying to prove something. But you do reach a point where that point is proven, and you need to just enjoy it.
“I was competitive in 2017 when I was trying to make Divide the biggest album of the year, and Shape of You do what it did, but now I’m way more relaxed about it all. I’ve entered into a different phase.
“At the beginning of my career I felt like nobody rated me – I’d release an album and it’d get savaged by critics. I’ve never been cool, I’ve not been one of the cool kids, but now because I’ve been in it for ten years you oddly earn your place over time.”
- EQUALS is released tomorrow on all platforms.
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