Chart-topping music superstar Ed Sheeran may seem like he has the world at his feet but he has opened up about the deep social anxiety that is 'crippling him'. The 28-year-old singer has admitted to ditching his phone and reducing his friendship circle to just four people that he can fully trust. Ed has also admitted that his anxiety has reached a point that he 'often questions' why his wife, 27-year-old Cherry Seaborn, has continued to stay with him. Despite selling more than 150 million albums and his last tour raking in over £500million, his anxiety has seen him withdraw from social life and looks to shut himself away from the world.
In an interview, Ed spoke about his mental health and fears ahead of the release of his latest body of work - No.6 Collaborations Project. Ed said, "It creeps up on you. I’ve been working on it for eight years and I closed off from reality. 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 minimum just so I can trust everyone. I let people in from a, ‘Let’s hang out place’. There is letting in and then there is letting in.” The price of fame has left Ed feeling 'disconnected' from the real world and this has increased his anxiety. Ed continued, "I have social anxiety. I don’t like large groups of people, which is ironic given I play shows to thousands of people. I feel claustrophobic and I don’t like being around many people. I have no problem with talking to people. But it’s when people film me and stare at me. It makes me feel weird. 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 is at this moment that Ed believes the moment is lost and he becomes a 'commodity' and this is just one of the triggers for his anxiety. He continued, "It puts you down to earth and you’re just 15 likes on Instagram. That’s all you are. 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 complain, I have a cool job and life. But I just want to avoid that.” Speaking about how his music propelled him to global recognition, Ed revealed the moment when he thought his life was getting out of control and that he felt he needed to get to grips with it. He said, “I used to live in New York and I went out every night but releasing Shape Of You took me to a new level of fame. I was meeting people every day from movies and music. I was getting sucked up into it. I felt myself getting drained. If I lived in central London and hung out with people, I wasn’t sure if they were friends with me because of me, or who I am. That’s why I moved here.”
The 'here' Ed speaks about is a £2million estate he bought in Suffolk, in which he bought every property so that he can be alone and shut away from the public eye. Cutting himself off is having a positive effect for him though, with Ed admitting, "All of these things are in place to protect my mind and it’s working, I think." Speaking about his wife, Ed admitted, “I constantly wake up every day and look at Cherry and think, why the f*** are you with me? She could be with anyone she wants to but she has chosen me. And I am saying all of the things that are wrong with me and you still want to be with me. She doesn’t add fuel to the flames. If she said, ‘Yeah, why am I with you?’ then you would get anxiety."Read More