Will Young looking sad and then happy with his twin

Will Young: What has he said about the death of his twin brother? How did he die?

Singer did all he could to save him

Will Young opens up about the death of his twin brother Rupert in a new Channel 4 documentary, Will Young: Losing my Twin Rupert, tonight (May 10).

Rupert took his own life in the summer of 2020, when he was just 41 years old.

He had battled addiction and suffered with his mental health, with singer Will admitting that he found it “very tricky” to deal with his brother’s demons.

Will Young looking pensive
New documentary Will Young: Losing my Twin Rupert airs tonight (Credit: Channel 4)

Who is Will Young?

Will Young was born on January 20 1979 in Wokingham, Berkshire.

He is the second-oldest child of Robin Young, a company director of an engineering firm, and Annabel Young, a gardener.

Born six weeks prematurely, he was 10 minutes older than his twin brother, Rupert.

Will also has an older sister Emma.

He shot to prominence after winning the inaugural series of ITV talent show Pop Idol in 2002, hosted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

Will went head-to-head with Gareth Gates, taking the crown and releasing his double A-side single Anything is Possible/Evergreen two weeks after the finale.

It became the fastest-selling debut single in the UK.

As a teen, Will studied politics at the University of Exeter, before moving to London to study musical theatre.

After winning Pop Idol, Will released his debut album From Now On, which shot straight to number one.

Follow-up Friday’s Child did even better, going five times platinum in the UK.

He’s since sold more than eight million albums worldwide, undertaken numerous concert tours and won awards including two BRITs.

As well as music, Will has branched out with roles in films, on stage and on TV.

He appeared in the 2013 revival of Cabaret in London and earned an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor.

He’s also released numerous books, including autobiography Funny Peculiar in 2012 and To Be a Gay Man in 2020.

Where does Will Young live?

Will Young lives in south-west London with his rescue dogs Domino and Diamond.

He shares pictures from his home and his pets on Instagram, and appears to be following in his mum’s footsteps with his love of gardening.

Will once revealed of his home: “I’m mildly agoraphobic, so being given permission to stay at home: hallelujah!

“I don’t miss the social pressures. I’ve completely recalibrated, and given myself permission to act how I want to act. It’s actually been amazing for someone who suffers from anxiety.”

Will did admit his sadness, however, at putting his 17th-century cottage in Bodmin, Cornwall, up for sale.

He originally bought it to “escape his demons and fame” but decided to sell because he doesn’t get enough time to stay there.

Will Young on Gardeners’ World

The singer flexed his gardening muscles on a few episodes of Gardeners’ World, however, viewers of the show were divided over his numerous appearances.

“Not being funny here. But this could be the third time we have seen Will Young’s garden.

“I feel I have been there more times than he has this year? We deserve better now,” one commented.

Will, however, previously opened up about how gardening helped with his mental health.

The Pop Idol winner gave Joe Swift a tour at his farmhouse in Blisland, Cornwall, for the show back in 2019.

“The process of creating something is miraculous, from a tiny seed, or a tiny cutting, you get these amazing plants,” he explained.

“But you have to be patient, you have to nurture and maybe the act of nurturing something else maybe aids you to nurture yourself.

“It’s amazing how people talk about pills and counselling, which do all work, but gardening and nature is a brilliant healer, it’s just the best.”

Will Young smiling with his twin brother Rupert
Will Young lost his twin brother Rupert to suicide (Credit: Channel 4)

Who is Will Young married to?

Will isn’t married, and doesn’t appear to be dating at the moment.

And, he has admitted, being single was something he used to feel “ashamed” about.

He told the Evening Standard back in May 2021: “Although I still find relationships hard due to past traumas, I’m at peace with my sexuality.

“Actually, I’m very happily single and don’t want to be in a relationship.

“I used to feel quite ashamed about that but I don’t now, in my forties – it’s been liberating.”

He did admit back in 2017, though, that he would like to have a family one day, saying he thinks he’d be “a great parent”.

Chatting to ES, he said: “I love kids. The problem with being a gay man, I say, is that I can’t sleep with my boyfriend and magically produce a child.”

Will also admitted that he downloaded dating app Tinder after his split from boyfriend Jesse in 2015.

At the time, he admitted to Attitude: “Sadly romance isn’t going well. My ex-boyfriend Jesse has just gone back to America. He was the best relationship I ever had.

“He was going back for visa reasons and neither of us wanted to do long-distance.”

What’s Will Young doing now?

Will is still singing and touring.

In fact, this year he’s celebrating 20 years in the industry.

Read more: Will Young divides viewers with his appearance on BBC Breakfast 

As a result, he is releasing new album 20 Years: The Greatest Hits at the end of May.

And he’ll be touring it this autumn.

Will is also performing a couple of shows at Kew Gardens in London this summer.

He was also on the last series of The Masked Singer, eventually being unmasked as Lionfish.

Is Will Young a twin?

Will Young is a twin, but sadly his twin brother Rupert died in 2020.

At the time, a spokesperson for the family said: “I can confirm that Will’s brother has very sadly passed away.

“We would like to request privacy for Will and his family during this very difficult and sad time.”

It was then revealed that Rupert took his own life, with a coroner ruling that Rupert deliberately jumped off Westminster Bridge on July 30.

His body was later found on August 2.

Results of the inquest

During the inquest, it was confirmed Rupert had snuck out of St Thomas’ Hospital on the day of his death.

Meanwhile, in the week before his death, he had been taken into hospital four times.

The Pop Idol singer was in court for the coroner’s verdict and made a statement in court.

He said: “In my experience with Rupert, my twin, he was given medication to aid with the withdrawals.

“However, when he was either discharged or as a pattern for Rupert, absconded, he wasn’t allowed to take this any more.

“They are asked to wean themselves off by drinking alcohol. Do you think an alcoholic drinking 40 beers a day, do you think it’s at all viable, sensible, maybe even caring, to ask an alcoholic to then wean themselves off with the very drug they are dependent on?”

Rupert had battled with his mental health and addiction for years.

At the time of his death, a friend of the family added to The Sun: “Will’s relationship with Rupert had been tough over the years at times, and they had both spoken about the mental health problems which had made it challenging.

“But there were hopes he had turned a corner and they are a very loving family – and utterly devastated by his passing.”

Will Young and his twin brother Rupert on a plane
Rupert endured a long battle with alcohol and mental health (Credit: Channel 4)

Will Young and Rupert: ‘We had to walk away’

Will previously explained that his brother’s battle with substance abuse had caused his family to “step away” until he got help.

He once told the Daily Record: “It was the family stepping away that actually got him better.

“It’s very tough having a family member who is an addict. But when you’re dealing with that you eventually have to just stop and look after yourself.

“Me, my parents, my older sister, everyone. We all just had to walk away. We had to leave him.”

Will had said it was “very tricky” trying to deal with his brother’s struggles.

What is Will Young: Losing my Twin Rupert about?

Will Young lost his brother after a 20-year struggle with alcoholism.

In the candid documentary, the singer talks about the pain of coping with a loved one’s addiction and sets out to understand the impact alcoholism can have on families.

Among those he meets are a podcaster and campaigner who has battled her own issues with alcohol and an expert who works on the frontline of addiction treatment.

In the documentary, Will will be seen revealed how his brother turned into a “monster” when he drank.

He also reveals the heartbreaking moment he realised he “couldn’t save” his sibling.

Will said: “It’s important to tell my story, to tell Rupert’s story, to tell my family’s story and to tell the story of 20 years living with my twin, who was an alcoholic.

I did everything I could to not let him die.

“Other people will be experiencing this and I don’t want them to feel alone.”

The singer revealed that Rupert, his non-identical twin, “loved the attention” Will’s fame brought.

He admitted: “It was like he was the pop star. While I was busy winning the show [Pop Idol], Rupert was jumping nightclub queue after nightclub queue, saying: ‘I’m Will Young’s brother.’

“We were 22. I had started the Pop Idol auditions, moving into live TV and Rupert had really badly cut his wrists.

“He came to the studios and his stitches burst open when I was about to go on and sing.”

‘He would be drinking 24 hours a day’

In the months before is death, Will also revealed that he became Rupert’s carer.

He said: “My day would start. Either he was sick or he would have peed on the sofa, so I’d have to clear that up, then go get more beers and codeine because he was addicted to painkillers.”

A week before his death, however, Will reported his brother as a trespasser in order to remove him from his home.

“At the end, he would be drinking 24 hours a day,” Will said

“You’ve got this monster who’s not moving. So the only thing was to throw him out but also to be aware he might end up killing himself. I was okay with everything I’d done to try to help him.”

It was the time following his brother’s death when he admitted to feeling a “whole lot of grief” after realising he couldn’t save him.

Will went on to emotionally say: “I did everything I could to not let him die.”

Will Young in a grey suit at the Strictly launch
The singer signed up to appear on Strictly but it wasn’t without its controversy (Credit: Splash News)

Will Young on Strictly

Will Young signed up to appear on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2016.

However, he lasted just three weeks – and not because he was voted out by the public.

No, Will, who was partnered with Karen Hauer, quit the show, seemingly after a row about his salsa with head judge at the time Len Goodman.

Shortly after leaving the show, Will shot down the rumours.

He said: “It was a number of things. It was nothing to do with the people on the show, and it certainly wasn’t because Len Goodman dissed my salsa – I mean, come on!”

He added: “I love dance, and because of the stuff that was going on personally, I just wasn’t enjoying the dancing,.”

After the dust settled, Will explained to Event magazine in 2019 why he actually left.

“I was very ill. There’s no way I should’ve been doing that show. I tried to back out of it actually. Then got persuaded back by being told: ‘Will, the BBC want to work with you? You’re risking a lot.’

“So I did it, but with panic attacks the whole time. I would keep going out for a cigarette and think, I don’t really want to be here. Then I thought, I don’t have to be here, so I left.”

“It was important for me to leave Strictly for my own wellbeing,” he also told The Times Magazine.

Will Young posing against a grey background wearing a roll neck jumper
Will speaks for the first time about his brother’s death in the new documentary (Credit: Channel 4)

Will Young’s addiction battle

The singer has previously opened up about his demons, too.

And, he told the Times, that he thinks that seeing Rupert put in an incubator to treat his pneumonia as a baby caused trauma.

“I think that created a nervous system that was on edge, and understandably so. Trauma lies beneath 99.9% of addictions,” he said.

Will admitted he was addicted to alcohol, shopping, porn and love.

And he’s said that he turned to the addictions to cope with the “shame” of being gay.

Will came out to his friends and family at the age of 21 and to the British media after winning Pop Idol.

And, in 2016, he spoke candidly about his sexuality and addictions at National Student Pride 2016 at London’s University Of Westminster.

Addicted to  love, alcohol, shopping and porn

“I was a love addict, I still am an addict, addicted to porn, certainly addicted to alcohol.

“I’d never been on a date without having at least two drinks before I’d left the house and I didn’t even notice that was a problem.”

He explained: “I will keep coming back to shame because it’s such a fundamental thing.

“Until I conquered it I just kept having sex to fill the void, watching porn, shopping, anything, and I think we are told that as soon as we come out everything will be okay, but it’s just not the case.”

To conquer his demons, Will sought help from a spiritual healer after his Strictly departure.

He told The Times Magazine: “I heard about her and thought, I’ll give it a go. I don’t talk about what happens in the shamanic process because it goes beyond words.”

Will Young and Gareth Gates with Ant and Dec on Pop Idol
Singer Will shot to fame alongside Gareth Gates on Pop Idol, which was hosted by Ant and Dec (Credit: Fremantle Media/Shutterstock)

Will Young on Pop Idol

Will Young took the Pop Idol crown on February 9 2002 and life changed overnight.

On the night a new world record was set after 8.7 million votes were registered over the two-and-a-half hours that the voting lines were open.

At one point so many people were trying to vote that the phone lines crashed.

Read more: Who is Alfie Boe and why did he split from his wife?

Will received 4.6 million votes – 53.1% of the vote and just 500,000 more than runner-up Gareth Gates.

The singer was so shocked at hearing the news that his jaw dropped and he clasped his hands to his face.

“When he [Ant McPartlin] said what the votes were, I thought, I am second, and I have lost by that much. Oh well, that’s not bad,” Will recalled.

“When I heard I’d won I felt like I’d been hit. I stepped backwards. I could not believe it.”

In 2011 he credited the show with being “the best ever experience for me, ever”.

Will Young’s net worth

According to Wikipedia, Will was worth a whopping £13.5 m in 2012.

More recent reports suggest the singer is now worth £2.5m.

Will Young: Losing my Twin Rupert airs tonight (May 10) on Channel 4 at 10.05pm.

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