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Max George has spoken about his struggles with depression, saying he turned to alcohol to deal with it during the height of his fame with The Wanted.
Singer George may have been in a boy band with hordes of adoring fans, but behind closed doors he says he was struggling with low mood and poor mental health.
He spoke to Good Morning Britain on Monday as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, saying he found it difficult to square his depression with his success at the time.
Watch: Max George suffered first mental health episode as The Wanted topped the charts
George, 32, said: "I almost felt it can't be to do with me feeling down or depressed or my mental health because I felt ungrateful for that.
"I thought it must be I'm drinking too much. I went out and drank and tried to forget about it."
The Glee star said that when The Wanted first became famous, he noticed some physical changes including rashes and acne.
He said: "I’d never had that before and it was weird to be getting it at the age I was at. So I was having treatment for that. And then I started to feel that I wasn’t enjoying the stuff that I loved the most."
'The struggle began when The Wanted took off.'@MaxGeorge has opened up about his struggle with depression and how he began to notice changes during The Wanted's success.
Max is supporting the Network Rail & @ChasingStigma campaign There is Always Hope. pic.twitter.com/VkccvDsVI0
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) May 10, 2021
George added: "It was a weird position to be in, because I’d just started to achieve everything I wanted and being on stage in front of thousands of people, that was the best feeling I’d ever had, but at the same time, it was that that was causing me to feel the way I was feeling."
But it was his bandmates – Jay McGuiness, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes – who started to realise what was going on.
George said: "No, I didn’t raise it. It was one of them... I probably just went out and drank and tried to forget about it."
After the group decided to take a break, George found fame again in the US when he was cast in TV show Glee, but said it brought his mental health to the worst point it had been at since his first year in The Wanted.
He said: "I woke up one morning and felt like my jaw had locked up. As soon as I went to get up, I felt sick. I thought I had some sort of bug or something.
"That went on for a week, then into a month. And I thought, there's something seriously wrong."
George was speaking to Good Morning Britain guest host Alastair Campbell about how going to therapy had helped him to deal with his problems.
Campbell is presenting the show during Mental Health Awareness Week and recently published his memoir Living Better: How I Learned To Survive Depression.
Watch: 5 top tips to boost your mental health