Ed Sheeran performs in Times Square for MTV's "TRL" on October 2, 2017 in New York City.
James Devaney—GC Images
By Jeff Nelson / People
October 20, 2017

Ed Sheeran is opening up about his secret struggle with substance abuse.

For the Saturday episode of The Jonathan Ross Show, the “Shape of You” singer, 26, revealed how sudden fame affected his life in a dark way.

“I think you need to, when you get into the industry, adjust to it — and I didn’t adjust because I was constantly working on tour. And all the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them. Mostly, like, substance abuse,” said Sheeran, who this week postponed Asia tour dates after breaking bones in a recent bike accident. “I never touched anything. I started slipping into it, and that’s why I took a year off and buggered off.”

Sheeran is currently on tour promoting his latest album ÷ (pronounced “divide”). Ahead of the LP’s release in March, the pop star took a year-long hiatus to focus on himself. And the Grammy winner says music — and his girlfriend, Cherry Seaborn, 24 — pulled him back from the darker side of fame.

“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,” Sheeran said.

“I didn’t really notice it was happening. 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 taking a year off,” he added.

As for his relationship with Seaborn?

“We live together now, and I think that was a real help grounding me. I was a 25 year old in the music industry on tour so I just needed someone to balance me out.”

Sheeran previously opened up about how cutting beer out of his diet led to a 50-lb. weight loss. And earlier this year, he clarified his comments on his drinking habits to PEOPLE.

“I’ve cut [out] excessive beer. I’ll still have a point. But what I would do is I’d have like five or six pints a night. So what I’ll do, I’ll have a pint, then I’ll move to a less…Well, a beer is like having a loaf of bread, isn’t it? So a less-loaf-of-bread-y kind of drink,” he told PEOPLE. “The best part of the day is the first beer. Second beer never tastes as good. So I’ll switch to wine or gin or something after that.”

This article originally appeared on People.com

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