JLS star Oritse Williams admitted the last three years of his life had been “horrific” but he was determined to move on.
The former star of The X Factor was cleared of rape in May this year following an accusation made by a woman he met after a performance in a Wolverhampton nightclub back in December 2016.
Williams, 32, spoke out about his ordeal for the first time to Good Morning Britain, saying: “It’s been horrific. I haven’t been able to work for three years. I’ve had this accusation hanging over my head every single day from the time I wake up in the morning, to the time I go to sleep at night. It’s been tormenting me.
“But I had two choices - either I could let it drag me under and completely destroy me. Or I could stay strong and hope the truth would ultimately come out, which eventually it did.”
The former boyband member admitted it had been a very upsetting experience for his mother Sonia, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and for whom he used to be a young carer.
Williams said: “The worst moment is the effect it’s had on my family.”
He went on: “My family have been so loving. I have had so much unconditional them all, and my friend. Even my fans, who have supported me through all of this.”
The Everybody In Love singer revealed he had spent the past three years writing music which he hoped now to release.
He said: “I have had a lot of time on my hands, I have been reconnecting as a songwriter and I have written some of the best songs of my life. I have poured my heart out - bled all over them and shed tears for them.”
Asked by presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid how he felt about his name being publicly associated with rape, while his victim had remained anonymous, Williams was diplomatic in his response.
Asked if he would have liked anonymity himself he said: “Absolutely.”
He added: “I sympathise with those who have anonymity because of how it has affected my life.
“But I do understand that the police are under-resourced and under-financed, and understaffed and they are just trying to do their job. For me, I would have loved to have been able to clear my name as quickly as possible.
“But at the same time, we also have to continue to encourage real victims to come forward, and we can’t forget about that as well.”
Read more: Fire destroys Oritse Williams’ former home
Williams also spoke about the fire that broke out at his £3 million mansion in Croydon just days after he was cleared of rape, prompting police to launch an investigation into a suspected arson attack.
He revealed: “It wasn’t my house at the time of the fire. I actually handed the house over to my ex-partner when we had separated.
“But I had a lot of happy memories there. It was devastating seeing what’s happened to somewhere where I once loved.”