Ed Sheeran On Fame And Anxiety: “You Feel Like A Zoo Animal”
Anyone that struggles with anxiety can tell you how crippling it is. It’s estimated that over 264 million people globally have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and it does not discriminate. Even those who might seem to have it all together are feeling this disorder’s brunt, and Ed Sheeran is no different.
In a recent interview with The Breakfast Club’s Charlamagne Tha God, 28-year -old singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran opened up about his aversion to fame and how it’s fed into his issues with anxiety.
“I have social anxiety. I don’t like large groups of people, which is ironic because I play shows for a living. But I just feel claustrophobic and I don’t like being around too many people,” he said.
Fame’s Impact On Everyday Life
Talking about how fame has completely changed the way that he operates his life, Ed shared that the simplest things have become near-impossible to do and enjoy.
“I lost the ability to go to the supermarket and buy a loaf of bread about three years ago,” he tells Charlamagne.
“If I was eating at a restaurant now, I would prefer to have a private room. If I’m eating in the room with everyone, I get people filming me eat my food while I’m with my wife (Cherry Seaborn)… you feel like a zoo animal.”
The Perfect singer has sold over 150 million albums and his last tour is estimated to have grossed over $628 million (R8,71 billion). These are numbers that only a few artists in the world can boast about, with the overwhelming attention he’s received being an inevitable result of his mega-fame.
While he doesn’t mind engaging with fans – there’s a line he feels is often crossed.
“You coming up and having a conversation with me makes me feel human, even if we’ve never met. The thing that instantly shuts me off is having a moment like that with someone and then at the end it’s like, oh, can I have a picture?” He explained.
“It puts you back down to earth and now you’re just that – you’re literally just 15 likes on Instagram, that’s who you are.”
How Ed Protects His Mental Health
Ed’s revealed that this wasn’t always the case, until he released Shape of You in 2017 which took him to a different level of fame.
“I thought I was at my peak and then [after the success of Shape of You] suddenly it was a completely different world. [It was] the world of your Beyonce’s, Jay-Z’s and Adele’s,” he explained.
When asked how he protects his mental wellbeing, he shared that it’s something he’s been working on for over 8 years.
- Got rid of his phone and only answers emails twice a day
- Cut down his friendship group to the “bare minimum just so I trust everyone”
- Moved to the countryside “in the middle of nowhere”
“It’s all working I think.”
With all this said, Ed doesn’t take for granted the good things that fame has afforded him and he looks forward to building a family with his new wife.
“I don’t mean to be complain-y because I have a very cool life and job,” he said. “I’m starting a life with Cherry and I can’t spend the next 20 years on the road… if someone told me you can’t tour again for the next 10 years if you have kids, that’s fine because that is what I have signed up for.”
Watch the full interview here: