Ed Sheeran has revealed that global fame has negatively affected his life and mental health, increasing his anxiety and impacting his ability to trust people.
The Grammy-winning music artist, 28, opened up about the downsides of fame in a candid new interview with Charlamagne Tha God to launch his latest album, No.6 Collaborations Project.
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Sheeran said the pressures that come with worldwide fame have left him with intense social anxiety on a daily basis, particularly in public.
Sheeran expressed his frustration at constant attention and photographs, particularly those who engage in conversation for the sole intention of getting a photo.
"It makes me feel like I'm not human... What instantly cuts me off is that you're having a moment with [fans], which is so genuine and so nice, and then at the end they ask for a picture.
"You feel like a zoo animal. I don't mean to complain, I have a cool job and life. But I just want to avoid that."
The 'Shape of You' hitmaker revealed the success of his 2017 platinum project Divide resulted in a surge of public interest, propelling him to "a new level" of stardom.
As a result, the notoriously private artist felt he could no longer keep himself away from the limelight.
Sheeran said he will often request private rooms at restaurants to avoid people filming and photographing him while he eats.
The star admitted he drastically reduced his social circle to four key friends, keeping his friendships at "the bare minimum, just so I can trust everyone".
"I felt myself getting drained. If I lived in central London and hung out with people, I wasn't sure if they were friends with me because of me, or who I am."
As a result, Sheeran purchased his sprawling £2 million Suffolk estate (NZD$3.7 million) to retain as much privacy as possible.
His growing distrust also made him question his relationship with Cherry Seaborn, 27 - a childhood friend he reconnected with years later, and is now married to.
"I constantly think, why the f**k are you with me? She could be with anyone she wants to."
The candid interview is in the same vein as his latest album, which provides insight into his insecurities and mental health struggles through lyrical candor.
"Money isn't the object, time is," he said.
"I've already achieved more than I thought I would, so now I'm just trying to have fun."