He won The X Factor in a blaze of glory back in 2012, but James Arthur reveals this triumph set him on a path to destruction that almost ended in suicide.
The singer now admits that finding success – and fame – on the reality TV show, led to a dependence on marijuana and prescription medication.
Speaking to The Sun newspaper, he confessed: “My lowest moment was when I was going to bed, I’d take 15 pre-rolled joints and smoke one after the other, popping anti-depressants. My head was an absolute mess.”
James added: “I genuinely was at the end of my tether. I’d never been a guy who suffers from suicidal tendencies, but I had taken all I could take from life.
“I thought that was my chance and I’d ruined it. You never see an X Factor winner make a comeback. It doesn’t happen.”
That said, James is determined to be the one to break that cycle and is hopeful his new album Back From The Edge will prove to be his best work yet.
Looking back now, he is ashamed of his fall from grace following his X Factor triumph.
The singer was dropped from Simon Cowell ‘s record label after a number of scandals, including Twitter spats with former X Factor pal Lucy Spraggan, and inappropriate comments – he used the term ‘queer’ in a diss rap.
James reflected: “I look back on the character that was then and I’m embarrassed about how I behaved and how negative my perspective was, and how I handled the pressure.
“I went from absolutely nothing to a lot of people judging me overnight and it was really tough for me.”
In a Facebook chat with The Sun, James said he felt “lost” at the time.
He said: “I had a real ego and I was focusing too much on the negative stuff.
“I had a tough time with anxiety and I buckled under the pressure. Looking back now it’s clear to see that it was a mental illness issue that I had. I dealt with everything in completely the wrong way.
“It’s great to focus on the music now and all the positive things going on.”
James says his new album is “an honest account” of the last two years of his life, including his relationship with an unnamed female.
He concluded: “There’s a thread of hope throughout the album. There’s a common theme that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”