James Arthur confronts parents over 'trauma' of foster care aged 14 in BBC documentary

James Arthur confronts parents over 'trauma' of foster care aged 14 in BBC documentary <i>(Image: PA)</i>
James Arthur confronts parents over 'trauma' of foster care aged 14 in BBC documentary (Image: PA)

Entertainer James Arthur confronts his parents over the ‘trauma’ he experiences of being put into foster care aged 14, in a new documentary to be aired on the BBC One.

The popular singer walks viewers through his relationship with his dad, Neil, and his mum, Shirley, in the documentary called Out Of Our Minds.

James’ mother split with Neil with James was just two and both remarried. Following the separation his stepfather moved the family to Bahrain where James and his sister had an “amazing lifestyle.”

When they all returned to England, however, Shirley's partner reportedly “disappeared”, leaving her to “look after four children.”

The Northern Echo: Saltburn, where James is from
The Northern Echo: Saltburn, where James is from

Saltburn, where James is from (Image: Aja Dodd, Newsquest)

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The 34-year-old recording artist says he began spending less time at home and ended up wandering the streets before his parents were called to an emergency social worker meeting and admitted they couldn't cope, The Mirror reported.

James says he was sent to live with a foster family for two years. In 2020, James suffered a 'debilitating' panic attack which caused him to cancel his European tour after “battling with his mental health for decades.”

He said: “At times, depression and anxiety overwhelm me. I’ve tried everything - antidepressants, therapy, exercise.

“But I decided that to tackle my mental health issues, I had to start by going back to my hometown to revisit my past and the separation from my parents.”

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He added: “I watched both my parents decide to say, ‘He can’t live with us.’ I was a kid and actually I just needed somebody to put an arm around me. I’ll never forget that day.

“I remember that drive to the foster carer and how scary it was. I used to cry at night — it felt like the worst situation I could be in. I hadn’t even done anything really. I’d just been a little bit disruptive at school.”

Admitting he “resented” his parents, the Saltburn singer claims he has “carried that situation for the rest of his life.”

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In 2012, however, things began to look up, the soon-to-be-sensation called his mum and asked for £5 to pay for the electric. She agreed to lend him the cash on the condition he went to The X Factor auditions taking place in Middlesbrough.

When he got through to the live shows, James' parents supported him, with the singer telling the audience it was the first time the family had been together for 22 years.

After winning the ITV talent contest, James' debut single Impossible went straight to number one and became the fastest-selling winner’s track in the show's history.

The documentary, James Arthur: Out Of Our Minds, airs on BBC Three at 9pm on Sunday, November 13.

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