Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran said he has "a real eating problem" while discussing his insecurities about body image in an interview with Rolling Stone.
"I'm self-conscious, anyway, but you get into an industry where you're getting compared to every other pop star," Sheeran said.
Sheeran, 32, said he broke into the music scene around the same time as several boy bands, including One Direction, and found he was comparing himself to the teenage heartthrobs.
"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?'" he said.
The "Shape of You" singer recalled his primary school years, saying the way he was perceived then affects his self-confidence.
"I went to a really, really sport-orientated primary school," Sheeran said. "I had bright red hair, big blue glasses, a stutter. I couldn't play the sport because I had a perforated eardrum. You're just singled out for being different at that point. I've kind of blocked out a lot of it, but I have a real hang up about that. I think it plays into wanting to be on a stage and have people like you and stuff."
During the interview, Sheeran also talked about unhealthy habits he adopted in response to his negative body image.
"I found myself doing what Elton [John] talks about in his book — gorging, and then it would come up again," Sheeran said. According to Rolling Stone, John has acknowledged his own behaviors as bulimia.
"There's certain things that, as a man talking about them, I feel mad uncomfortable," Sheeran said. "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."
Sheeran has since undergone therapy, which he said has been helpful.
"I'm a real binge eater. I'm a binge-everything," he said. "But I'm now more of a binge exerciser, and a binge dad. And work, obviously."
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.
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