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truly talented
post Jul 19 2015, 09:14 AM
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Will Young on fame, therapy and being in control: "My ego was too big, I was acting like a kid"

07:00, 19 JULY 2015
Singer, actor and the first ever Pop Idol, Will Young, 36, is back. And this time, heís loving every single second of itÖ

Will feels he's in a better place now

They may have won the prize of a lifetime, but itís notoriously hard for folk who triumph in singing shows to have credible careers. But Will Young, the winner of the first of its kind reality TV contest, Pop Idol, is a star in his own right.

With a not-too-shabby six top three albums under his belt (four of which were No1s), world tours and a successful acting career, itís fair to say Will has done alright for himself.

On the day of our shoot heís running late Ė heís just back from Glastonbury and arrives in full festival mode, complete with straw hat (which becomes the star prop on our cover), shorts and, of course, the mandatory post-festival bloodshot eyes and worse-for-wear complexion.

Still, if heís sleep-deprived, we wouldnít have guessed. Willís chirpy and talks constantly. Topics include how clogged up his bowels are, his dreams of releasing an exercise DVD, his favourite halloumi wraps, and how much he adores kids.

Heís engaging, asks questions, has a mega-mucky mouth (but always whispers or mouths the swear words) and, all in all, is so easy to be around he stays for an hour after the shoot chatting away, about relationships, washing machines, and again, those halloumi wraps.

Hard to imagine such a happy, smiley guy as someone who openly suffered from depression and addiction at the height of his career, which Will admits facing was one of the "toughest journeys of his life".

Having taken four years out, his latest album, 85% Proof, shot to No1. In case youíre wondering, the title refers to his life in general Ė he just doesnít believe in 100%, "There will always be 15% more that you want."

Perhaps thatís the right attitude for someone who says he still battles anxiety every day. Heís faced up to his demons, knows his weaknesses and refuses to let them drag him down with a ĎLeave Right Nowí approach (sorry). Will talks highs, lows and egosÖ

Youíre back! What have you been doing for the past four years?

I did Cabaret the musical and toured with that. I went away with my dad to Sri Lanka. We had such a good time, we went whale-watching. Then I moved house, moved label, moved management, spent some time in Cornwall, did some studying, did some teaching. Read a book. Did a programme. Hang on, this wasnít a break at all, was it?

Will on stage in Cabaret

Not really, but what made you then return to music?

I just suddenly felt ready to write music again. And make music videos, which are my favourite. Videos are just more room to show off. Theyíre 3D music. Gosh, thatís a cool line. I should be a politician or something, except Iím not that clever.

You areÖ

No. Itís because Iím posh, so people think I know what Iím talking about.

When was the moment you realised your life had changed?

Not straight after winning Pop Idol. It was Leave Right Now. That song embedded me as a singer and I thought, "Right, things are getting interesting nowÖ"

Yet when you made it to the top, you found yourself feeling depressedÖ

I had a No1 album, a TV special, had just moved into an amazing houseÖ and I wasnít happy. It happens a lot with singers and they just go mental. I suddenly thought it was all about me and I didnít trust anyone. I was making decisions that were right and they paid off, so I thought, "Why would I trust anyone else?"

You wanted complete control over everything?

I totally stopped listening to others. I even took a board meeting Ė which was hysterical, looking back. I did campaigns for marketing, PR, I thought I could do it all. But I can understand why artists do lose trust in people. Your neck is on the line every time. So I did need a great team, or else it would have gone tits-up.

Will winning Pop Idol in 2002

You also struggled with addictions to spending and pornÖ

Oh, I was spending a lot of money. And I certainly had and do have addictive behaviours. Iím a smoker. I could be addicted to over-thinking. Literally anything, but I work hard to work out what the cause of my addictive behaviours might be.

When did you realise you needed to get help?

I became a bit of a d**k. And I realised I had to stop being a d**k or else Iíd lose my job. I very clearly had a moment where I was like, "You better start enjoying this again, because this job is a pretty good gig."

My ego just got too big. And I was insecure. People were allowing me to act like a kid, but now no one ever would. I know myself really well now.

Through therapy?

God, yeah. Loads of therapy! Iím a huge advocate of therapy and mindfulness. But I worked it out and had lots of help. Iím very proud of what I did.

Do you still have to bite your tongue and stop yourself from being too controlling again?

All the time. Iíll do it 20 times a day in various situations. But now Iíll just have a moment before I do something that helps me to maintain composure.

I donít like cupboard doors open and things like that, but thatís because it irritates me. Not because of OCD. I never used to fly off the handle that much, but now I just think before I speak.

When was the last time you did fly off the handle?

I havenít in ages. Honestly. I shouted at my brother the other week about wanting a Starbucks, but then I got the giggles.

What keeps you awake at night?

"Have I wet the bed? Thank God I havenít, because Iím 36." But Iím not a big worrier. I might have something on my mind, like work, but it doesnít stick around.

So mostly itís just if Iíve wet the bed, and luckily I havenít for quite a few days now. Or if my puppy has p*ssed somewhere. Always toilet-related worries, which is very British.

How is your relationship with your family?

Great, I went to Glastonbury with my mum. I never trust anyone who says their home life is perfect, no family is perfect.

The hat that made it to our shoot

How did your twin brother Rupert feel when your career took off? Did you ever feel guilty?

No, screw him! I left him behind and hit the turbo [laughs]! No, I donít think so.
He is such a supporter of mine. I did V Festival once and this big guy tried to storm the stage. He got through three security guards, but he didnít get through Rupert. He slammed him to the ground!

I just looked out of the corner of my eye while singing, thinking, "Why is Rupert sat on this massive guy?" So heís got my back. So has my mum, but I donít think she would wrestle someone to the ground. Sheís only 5ft 3in.

Does Rupert get to hang out with your famous friends?

I donít have any famous friends. All my friends are old school and uni people. I would have gone quite loopy if Iíd have just hung out with famous people.

Dame Judi Dench is famous and we hear the two of you are quite pally after starring in Mrs Henderson PresentsÖ

Oh, she is cool. Sheís a nice person to be friends with.

She made a comment about your, erÖ

My penis, yeah. Well, sheís lucky. Sheís one of the few women who have seen it. And she gave it a good rating too. 10/10. And trust me, she got a good payout for that!

Did she give you any acting tips?

No. She told me off for being late. Well, she said, "Iíve only ever been late once in my career." I was like, "Sh*t, sheís cross!"

Whatís been your weirdest experience with a fan?

Oh, so many. The ones who write to me a lot and say weird things freak me out. I always say to my manager, "If this person kills me, you kill them for me! I donít care if you go to prison, shoot them dead."

Other than being shot dead, how can fame affect your relationships?

Iím not seeing anyone at the moment, but it depends if the person can handle the attention. Fame is what you make of it. Personally, for me, I couldnít imagine anything worse than that lavish lifestyle.

Would you ever use a dating site?

Iím on a dating site at the moment. I think theyíre brilliant.

Donít you worry people click on you just because youíre well-known?

No. Why the hell shouldnít I use a dating site? Just because Iím famous, it doesnít mean I canít do it. Iím busy and itís a great way to meet people. Iíve been on dates from it. Iím 36, who gives a sh*t? Not me. Iíll do what I bloody like.

Whatís the best and worst thing about fame?

The best is when people tell me how my music has affected their lives for the better. The worst is when people say, "Youíre Will Smith, arenít you?" Itís lucky I donít have an ego now, or else Iíd cry every day.

Would you do it all again?

Yep. Except I wouldnít do World Idol, that was f**king awful. Oh, and I regret not telling my deputy head teacher to f**k off as well. Because he was horrible. Other than that, everything I would do the same.

85% Proof is out now. For more information about Will's tour, visit

This post has been edited by truly talented: Jul 19 2015, 09:15 AM
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post Jul 19 2015, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for posting the article up TT biggrin.gif Great article again and some lovely photos wub.gif
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post Jul 19 2015, 11:25 AM
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Thanks TT biggrin.gif
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post Jul 20 2015, 07:18 PM
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Thanks TT. I really enjoyed that article, he is so tongue in cheek! laugh.gif
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