James 'Arg' Argent: Cocaine addiction was triggered by eating disorder

DARWEN, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: James Argent attends the launch of the Ssangyong Musso pick up at Fun Motor Group on November 29, 2018 in Darwen, England. (Photo by Carla Speight/Getty Images)
James Argent's weight has yo-yoed over the years. (Getty Images)

James ‘Arg’ Argent has said his drug addiction was a symptom of an eating order after years battling with his weight.

The former The Only Way Is Essex star - who recently opened up about suffering a near-fatal cocaine overdose in 2019 - has now told how he turned to binging on drugs and junk food to cope with jokes about his weight.

Argent, 32, told The Sun: “The core of my addiction stems from my eating disorder. I binge on food if I hate the way I look...

“I’d feel down so I’d start using drugs at 9pm until 6am, not eating a thing. Then I’d wake up, feel low and be absolutely starving and I would binge on everything from fizzy drinks, burgers, fast food, crisps, snacks, pizzas, takeaways to the point where I couldn’t possibly eat any more to feel better.

Read more: James Argent says he could die if he doesn't lose weight

James Argent said he reached 23 and a half stone at the start of the year. (Getty Images)
James Argent said he reached 23 and a half stone at the start of the year. (Getty Images)

“Then I’d look in the mirror, see I’m the biggest I’ve ever been, then think, ‘When is a suitable time for a dealer to drop me off’.”

The TOWIE star described it as a “vicious cycle”.

Argent revealed when he attended a rehab clinic in Thailand at the beginning of the year he was the heaviest he has ever been at 23 and a half stone.

He has shed five stone and is already feeling “better in myself”.

Read more: James Argent warned to lose 10 stone

Argent said he did not regret joining the cast of ITV reality show The Only Way Is Essex in 2010, but admitted being in the public eye made him the target of criticism about his weight.

He said: “I was constantly getting bantered about the way I looked and people taking the p**s out of my weight, calling me ‘Large Arg’ or the ‘tubby crooner’ on social media...

Gemma Collins and James Argent attending the National Television Awards 2019 held at the O2 Arena, London. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
James Argent met on-off girlfriend Gemma Collins when they starred together on 'TOWIE'. (Getty Images)

“People didn’t realise it was hurting me because when they see me I’m always really happy and friendly and laughing off all the fat jokes. It was really hurting me inside.”

But he also credited the show with helping him find love with co-star Gemma Collins, 39.

Argent said she was “not an enabler”, and had been “extremely tough” on him over his drugs use.

He added that now he is clean and sober they are eager to get married and start a family.