Olly Murs has revealed he suffered a panic attack and “couldn’t breathe” after he forgot his own lyrics on stage before a performance on The Graham Norton Show.
The star, who shot to fame when he came in second place on The X Factor in 2009, told the Daily Mirror that the room began spinning and he was paralysed by fear as he prepared to perform.
He said: “My heart was pounding and I couldn’t breathe. I’m standing behind the mic and I’m talking trying to calm myself down, thinking: ‘What’s going on? I’ve never ever been like this’. It was genuine panic.”
The 34-year-old Wrapped Up singer also said he suffered a “sudden, overwhelming panic” when he received the call confirming he was set to join The Voice as a coach.
Murs said he sought therapy after these events and has been able to trace them back to his ill-fated gig as co-host of The X Factor in 2015 alongside Caroline Flack.
He said: “I tried to piece it together myself but I couldn’t. It made me feel down and I said: ‘I need to go and see someone about this’.”
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Murs and Flack took over from previous host Dermot O’Leary, who reclaimed the job the following year after heavy criticism of the replacements.
His experience with therapy suggested that the X Factor hosting experience may have been behind his anxiety attacks.
“It was the idea of going on TV again, maybe making a mistake and being put in the spotlight again with people saying negative things about me,” he said.
“I’ve only ever had a career that’s been so positive. And when you get that little bit of negativity, it hurts.”
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Murs said he believes men are “too scared” to talk about their mental health struggles.
The singer is now part of the way through his second series as a coach on The Voice UK and released his sixth studio album You Know I Know in November 2018.