Ed Sheeran Opens Up About Body Image Issues and Disordered Eating

Ed Sheeran is on the cover of Rolling Stone this month and the singer opens up about the loss of his best friend, new music, and his past struggles with an eating disorder in the new issue.

“I’m self-conscious anyway, but you get into an industry where you’re getting compared to every other pop star,” he shared. “I was in the One Direction wave, and I’m like, ‘Well, why don’t I have a six-pack?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, because you love kebabs and drink beer.’ Then you do songs with Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes. All these people have fantastic figures. And I was always like, ‘Well, why am I so … fat?’ “

Sheeran says, “So I found myself doing what Elton talks about in his book — gorging, and then it would come up again.” In Elton Johns’ memoir, Me, the pop icon revealed that he struggled with bulimia for six years.

“There’s certain things that, as a man talking about them, I feel mad uncomfortable,” he added. “I know people are going to see it a type of way, but it’s good to be honest about them. Because so many people do the same thing and hide it as well.”

“I’m a real binge eater. I’m a binge-everything. But I’m now more of a binge exerciser,” he said.

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Sheeran also shared in the article that he battled depression for years, which worsened after the loss of his best friend.

“I felt like I didn’t want to live anymore,” he recalled. “And I have had that throughout my life.… You’re under the waves drowning. You’re just sort of in this thing. And you can’t get out of it.”

He sought help after his wife noticed his suicidal thoughts and encouraged him to go to therapy.

“No one really talks about their feelings where I come from. People think it’s weird getting a therapist in England.… I think it’s very helpful to be able to speak with someone and just vent and not feel guilty about venting. Obviously, like, I’ve lived a very privileged life. So my friends would always look at me like, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad.'”

Sheeran released his new song “Eyes Closed,” which examines his grief following the death of his longtime friend Jamal Edwards in 2022.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, it may feel overwhelming and isolating to process. You are not alone. Crisis Counselors are available to listen whenever you feel like you need someone to talk to. Text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 crisis counseling.

*Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes & weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.  Learn more about recognizing the signs of an eating disorder here.