Laurence Fox has quit social media admitting he is battling depression and fears he has ruined his career.
The 41-year-old actor – who become the centre of a media storm after voicing controversial opinions on political debate show Question Time in January – confessed he can’t sleep at night worrying he will be unable to continue working and support his family.
Fox announced in a lengthy 13-post thread on Twitter: “I’m going to take an extended break from social media... I know that in order for me to be ok I have to turn this noise off for a while.”
The father-of-two went on: “Privately I have been becoming more and more depressed. I have been so shocked by some of the things said to me on these platforms and I have found some of it very hard to process.
“I think it’s important to stand up to bullies and that is why I have continued to do so...
“But I find that I wake up in dread of what’s to come. I’m a fairly private if opinionated person and it’s been very painful and difficult to cope with. However I also believe in passionately in free speech. I stand wholeheartedly by people’s right to express themselves...
“But I am fearing for my future and my ability to provide financially for my children. A thought that keeps has kept me awake most nights. People tell me it will blow over, but when you are in it, it doesn’t feel like it will...”
Fox insisted he still stands by the opinions he voiced on Question Time – which included his claim it was “racist” to suggest he is a privileged white male – and does not believed it to be controversial.
He also referred to Equity UK, the trade union for performers, which publicly condemned him in later deleted tweets.
Fox said: “I love my job. I am so blessed to have been fortunate enough to make a career out of it and I have met some of the best people and made such great friends whilst working as an actor. The thought of that being taken away saddens me more than I can say...”
The Lewis star said he has been targeted by trolls and cannot help be affected by the cruel comments, despite his attempts to stand up to them.
He added: “We all have privilege too. All of us. Whatever colour or creed. The richest and the poorest. Some see it. Some don’t. Some have more than others. Billionaires have bad days and beggars have good ones. I’ve spent time with both and I know it to be true...”
Fox said he will miss Twitter and will spend his time reading more books.
He ended with a joke: “I’ll probably be back on in ten minutes taking the p*** out of Lily Allen!”
Fox is father to sons Winston, 11, and Eugene, seven, with ex-wife Billie Piper.
A member of the Fox acting dynasty – his father is James Fox, his uncle is Edward Fox and his cousins are Freddie and Emilia Fox.
He attended British public boys’ school Harrow but was expelled a few weeks before his A-Levels.
He is best known for playing detective James Hathaway in long-running ITV drama Lewis.