Ed Sheeran talks about downside to his success and defends Taylor Swift after recent backlash

'The Forbes list actually f***ed it up'

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Ed Sheeran has spoken out about one of the downsides of his success, in an extensive and honest interview with Rolling Stone.

The singer-songwriter, who is currently demolishing a number of music industry records with his new album ÷ [Divide], discussed his career, girlfriend, and how his achievements have had a detrimental impact on some of his friendships. 

He says of a report in Forbes indicating that he earned $57 million in 2015: "[It] actually f****ed it up.

"I was getting texts from people with pictures of cars going, 'I'd like this for my birthday, please. This one's only .06 per cent of your annual income'."

Sheeran also spoke about his friendship with Taylor Swift and tabloid rumours that the pair were dating ("I found that aspect lazy journalism - there wasn't any truth to it whatsoever") and expressed annoyance at the recent backlash against the pop star.

Ed Sheeran buys his new album from HMV Oxford Street

The latest report of ÷ [Divide]'s chart was that the album had shifted 432,000 copies in its first three days on sale, meaning that the British artist is on track for one of the best opening weeks in history.

By an astonishing margin, the most popular format for the LP is physical: 63 per cent of sales are accounted for by CD and vinyl.

Based on early sales performance and its current trajectory, the album is expected to surpass sales of 500,000 in its first week, and could even be competition for Adele's 2015 album 25, which shifted 800,307 units.

"She [Adele] is the one person I need to sell more records than," Sheeran said in a recent interview.

"That's a big f***ing feat because her last album sold 20 million. But if I don't set her as the benchmark then I'm selling myself short."