Former TV presenter Michael Barrymore has given his “most honest interview yet” on a celebrity edition of the Jeremy Kyle Show.
Speaking about his numerous suicide attempts – the last of which was four years ago – as well as his drug addiction, and the infamous death of Stuart Lubbock that occurred at his home, the 62 year-old was visibly emotional.
“I was a late starter, I didn’t smoke at school, I didn’t drink at school”, Michael recalled, “I found at a later date that my addiction was work. I was just part of this machine which was called Michael Barrymore and my wife, we were 24/7”.
Speaking about coming out as a gay man in the mid ’90s, he told Kyle, “I did truly believe that my drinking problems were because I was suppressing the fact that I may or may not be gay or it was getting more and more apparent that I was. Then when I did come out, actually the drinking got a lot worse”.
Barrymore told how Strike it Lucky, the TV show he hosted from 1986 through 1994, drove him to drink in order to replace the high that came with performing, “The adrenalin was so hard producing these shows and the live shows and the adulation was so much that to replace it was almost impossible”. At its peak, the show attracted 20 millions viewers and made Barrymore a household name.
The former TV star also spoke about his late wife Cheryl, who was his manager and whom he credited with being “a major part” of his success. The couple separated in 1995, and Cheryl later died from lung cancer in 2005.
Barrymore said his experience with depression, which led to multiple suicide attempts, stemmed partially from the incident that he says “wiped out” his career – the death of Stuart Lubbock, a 31 year-old man who was found motionless in the star’s swimming pool in 2001. Speaking about the incident, he said “I just froze. I ran back into the house to get help and then the two boys started giving CPR and then the ambulance was called for and that in turn calls the police, I was in shock”.
Speaking about his road to recovery, Barrymore concluded, “I haven’t got anything to do particularly, I just spend my days keeping myself well, being Michael Barrymore I was at a lot of people. The baseball hat I used to hide behind has gone and I hold my head up and I’m proud and I’ve got every right to have a place on this earth, and if people choose not to work with me fine, I didn’t chase my career when I was a kid, I ain’t going to do it now”.
Jeremy Kyle: The Celebrity Specials air daily from June 9 at 2pm on ITV. Watch a segment from the show below.
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