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Ed Sheeran Reveals Trauma of Wife's Tumor During Pregnancy and Best Friend's Death—"I Felt Like I Was Drowning"

Ed Sheeran opens up about his personal struggles and during a life-changing year. 

Ed Sheeran is getting personal and sharing details of his mental health struggles the past year. In a press release regarding his new album, the singer opens up about the deep issues he faced that were life-changing. "I had been working on Subtract for a decade, trying to sculpt the perfect acoustic album, writing and recording hundreds of songs with a clear vision of what I thought it should be. Then at the start of 2022, a series of events changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art," he said. Read on to learn about the star's new album and how it helped him deal with juggling multiple crises at once.

Sheeran's Wife Cherry Seaborn Had a Tumor While Pregnant

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Sheeran and his wife welcomed their first daughter, Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran, in August 2020, and told talk show host James Corden on The Late Late Show in June 2021, how much his lifestyle had changed since becoming a dad. "I feel like my lifestyle shift has changed. Instead of going to bed at six [a.m.], I'm getting up at four." He added,  "It just feels like what life was meant to be. It's great," he continued. "I'm healthier than I've ever been. I'm exercising every day … I'm spending so much time at home making the record. Yeah, I feel like a human being. It's good." Last year, the couple had a second daughter and revealed, "Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumour, with no route to treatment until after the birth." 

Sheeran's Best Friend Died Unexpectedly

Around the same time as his wife's health issues, the Shape of You singer shared that someone close to him died. "My best friend Jamal [Edwards], a brother to me, died suddenly." While no additional information was given, Edwards died at the age of 31 from cardiac arrest "after taking cocaine and drinking alcohol, a coroner concluded," according to the BBCSheeran met Edwards while he was an unknown artist and credits him for his career. Edwards launched SBTV – an online media platform meant to discover up-and-coming artists. The BBC reports that Sheeran spoke at the memorial and said, "I really don't think I would have been given the opportunities that I was given had it not been for Jamal putting his arm around me." He added, "I was slogging on the acoustic singer-songwriter scene for a very long time, just blending in… And Jamal was this sort of tastemaker."  Edwards gave Sheeran a break in 2010 when he performed the single You Need Me, I Don't Need You on his YouTube channel, which helped get the star a manager and record deal with Atlantic.  "A lot of people assume that [because] I write songs and I perform, I probably would" have become famous anyway, Sheeran said. "I actually don't agree with that… I was one of many. "I really don't think I would have been allowed through certain doors if it hadn't been for Jamal," he continued, adding: "He was just all about finding people and showing people new opportunities, at a time where the industry was mostly based in London."

Sheeran was Battling a Plagiarism Suit Over Shape of You


In addition to his wife's health concerns and his best friend dying, Sheeran was locked in a legal suit for years over accusations he stole the hook for his hit song Shape of You. He said, "I found myself standing in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter. I was spiralling through fear, depression and anxiety." The singer, along with his co-writers Steve McCutcheon and Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid, had been fighting the claims for years since since songwriters Sami Chokri and Ross O'Donoghue alleged that the "Oh I" hook in "Shape of You" was "strikingly similar" to their song. But in 2022, a judge in London's High Court ruled that Sheeran "neither deliberately nor subconsciously copied" the 2015 Sami Switch song "Oh Why" while writing his 2017 track, according to the BBCAfter the big victory, Sheeran addressed the situation in a video statement he shared on Instagram. "I feel like claims like this are way too common now, and have become a culture where a claim is made with the idea that a settlement will be cheaper than taking it to court, even if there's no base for a claim," he said. "It's really damaging to the songwriting industry. There's only so many notes and very few chords used in pop music. Coincidence is bound to happen if 60,000 songs are being released every day on Spotify."


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In the press release, Sheeran shared how music helps him battle darkness. "Writing songs is my therapy. It helps me make sense of my feelings. I wrote without thought of what the songs would be, I just wrote whatever tumbled out. And in just over a week, I replaced a decade's worth of work with my deepest darkest thoughts." He added how Subtract inspired him to release an album that reflected how he was accurately feeling, "It's opening the trapdoor into my soul. For the first time I'm not trying to craft an album people will like, I'm merely putting something out that's honest and true to where I am in my adult life," he said. "This is last February's diary entry and my way of making sense of it. This is Subtract." The album is scheduled for release May 5th. 

Sheeran is Back From a Social Media Break


In January, the singer said he was back on social media after taking a two-month break. "The reason I'm making this video is, just being totally honest, I've had some turbulent things going on in my personal life so I just didn't really feel like being online and pretending to be something I'm not, when I wasn't feeling like that," he said at the time. "And I know that sounds weird." He added that "things are looking up" and he's "back online." He joked, "Weird s— is gonna start being posted." Sheeran is also going back on tour and you can catch him in the U.S. and Canada from May to September 2023.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more
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