Bill English reveals past struggle with acne

Prime Minister Bill English has opened up about a humbling experience with bad acne, in a revealing interview with Newshub's Ryan Bridge.

Mr English disclosed he'd had bad acne for five or six years, which he described as a "pretty interesting experience about how the world sees you, and learning cope with that".

"You know what it's like to be in a room and feel like you're the only one who looks like that, and thinking everyone's looking at you."

He said going through the experience taught him resilience and empathy for others.

Reflecting back on it now he saw it as a lesson and a positive experience.

"It helped me understand how, in different versions, that happens to other people - whether they've got a disability or whether they're seen in a particular way because of the colour of their skin or how they look."

He also blushed when mentioning his wife Mary, and described the "incredible good fortune" of meeting her.

"I had pimples, she was beautiful...we had so much in common that has enabled us to have an incredibly rich life together."

The revelations came during an interview with Mr English at his official residence in Wellington as part of Newshub and RadioLIVE's 'At Home with the Leaders' series, presented by Ryan Bridge.

Highlights of the interview will air on The Project tonight at 7pm and the full interview will be available online at from 9pm tonight.