Ed Sheeran may be a huge global star these days, but he has admitted that primary school left him in tears every day because he was so badly bullied.
The Shape of You singer spoke about his traumatic experience being victimised for his ginger hair, glasses and stutter in a frank interview with DJ Nihal and rapper Dave for the campaign group Love Music Hate Racism.
Asked if he had faced being bullied at school, he said: “Well yeah, because I was ginger so I was instantly ripped into from the day I started school.
“Ginger, had a stutter, wore huge glasses, just a bit odd, but then as I got older I kind of loved it.”
However, now that he’s successful and famous, Sheeran says he encourages young fans that it’s good not to fit in.
He said: “I have always looked a little bit quirky and I never had much luck with girls, it was always like I looked a bit weird.
“But then when I started playing music, every time I would do a gig everyone was like, ‘oh, it’s the ginger guy with the small guitar,’ and you get remembered for that.
“And then suddenly you start gaining a bit of attraction because you are memorable. The thing I always say to kids now is, it’s great to be weird.”
Talking about the tough years he had as a child, he went on: “I hated primary school with a passion. I would cry every single day.
“Then I got to high school and started playing guitar, I joined a band and music is just one of these things which gives you confidence and you’re suddenly like, ‘wow, I can actually do something well’.
“Before I picked up a guitar, I literally did nothing. I went to a primary school that was quite sporty and I couldn’t play sport and that was it. That was how you were cool.
“If you were good at football then you were cool, and I wasn’t good at football, but then when I started high school it was such a melting pot of different things that I started playing the guitar and started fitting in.”
Sheeran recently married old schoolfriend Cherry Seaborn, who he began dating in 2015.