In a new interview, the 26-year-old spoke out about his secret battle that led to a year-long hiatus from the music business in 2016.
“I think you need to, when you get into the industry, adjust to [fame], and I didn’t adjust because I was constantly working on tour,” he said on The Jonathan Ross Show.
“And all the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them. Mostly, like, substance abuse.”
He adds that he didn't even notice himself slipping into a bad place, it just happened over time.
“It just started gradually happening, and then some people took me to one side and were like, ‘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 [I took] a year off.”
After the 2016 Grammy Awards, Ed ditched his phone and decided to step away from the music industry to work on bettering himself.
He explained, “I focused on work, and I can’t work under the influence. I can’t write songs under the influence. I can’t perform under the influence. So, the more I worked, the less [that happened]. 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.”
The singer also credits his girlfriend, Cherry Seaborn, with helping him in his recovery.
“We live together now, and I think that was a real help grounding me,” he said, adding that he “needed someone to balance me out.”
If you or someone you know needs help, you can speak confidentially to a trained counsellor 24 hours a day at headspace.org.au or Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800.