Andrew Flintoff reveals he battled bulimia during his England career

'Freddie' Flintoff admits that the image of being 'bulletproof' meant that he did not tell anybody about his condition

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff spent many of his days as an England cricketer battling bulimia.

The former all-rounder, who has previously spoken of his struggles with depression, has revealed for the first time - on 'Piers Morgan's Life Stories: Andrew Flintoff', to be broadcast on ITV on Friday evening - that he was troubled too by the eating disorder.

On occasion, if he thought he had over-indulged, he would hide away from team-mates in the toilets during the lunch break and make himself sick - before going back out to bowl or bat for his country.

"I can't remember the first time," the 36-year-old told Morgan.

"But I did it when I had eaten something which I thought 'I'm going to put weight on with this', or I had too much to drink - that's when it started.

Flintoff reveals reason behind infamous pedalo incident

"Then it slowly crept in more and more."

Flintoff was wary of sharing his difficulties with anyone.

"I was on tour in India and I was doing it a lot," he said.

"I was doing it at lunchtime. I would come off (the pitch), have something to eat - and then I would go and bowl again.

"I've done it at lunchtime a few times. In India I would have a curry and naan bread and then end up in the toilet."

"I was cautious - you looked to see if there was anybody in the toilet with you and then you would find somewhere to go."

He was tempted to open up about his bulimia to a health expert who addressed the England team, but was put off when he realised how shocking it would seem.

"There was a woman who was a dietician - and she started saying about diet and how she dealt with models, actors and athletes who have had eating disorders," Flintoff said.

"I thought 'I can have a chat with her afterwards' and then she said 'but I can't imagine there is any of that in here' - so I thought 'I can't say anything now'.

"I thought I couldn't really tell anyone because of the world I was in - professional sport, you don't want to give anything away."

"You almost want to come across as being bullet-proof, and that was part of my make-up."