Richard Osman opens up about his ‘ever-present’ addiction to food

Presenter and writer described it as the ‘drum beat’ of his life

Maira Butt
Thursday 18 April 2024 11:58 BST
Richard Osman reveals Queen Elizabeth played Pointless and was 'very competitive'

Richard Osman has opened up about the “absolutely ever-present” food addiction he has experienced since he was a child.

The 53-year-old TV star and bestselling author described addiction as “running away from your pain” during a candid chat on Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail podcast.

“Alcoholics will tell you the same, like it’s absurd that there’s a bottle of vodka in front of you or there’s a packet of crisps in front of you and it’s more powerful than you,” he shared, adding: “It makes no sense.”

The TV personality, who stepped down as a co-host of Pointless in 2022, has recently achieved huge success as an author. He published The Thursday Murder Club in 2020 and, earlier this year, his second platinum bestseller, The Bullet That Missed, was announced to have sold a million copies in the UK.

However, he described food addiction as the “drum beat” of his life.

“We’ve all got human minds and we’re all crazy in slightly different ways.

“That’s my version of it since I was probably nine years old. It’s been absolutely ever-present in my life – weight, food, where I am in relation to it, where I am in relation to happiness because of it, hiding it.

“All of that stuff, it’s been absolutely like the drum beat of my life.”

Osman had previously shared that his father left when he was nine, in an interview on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

Richard Osman writes second platinum bestseller with million copies sold in the UK (Ian West/PA)
Richard Osman writes second platinum bestseller with million copies sold in the UK (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

He described the moment the family learned he had been having an affair and how he stopped travelling to Sussex for visits to his dad before eventually reconciling with him in his twenties.

Describing it as “the end of that innocence”, he told Day about the judgement he has faced from others because of his challenges with food ever since.

“People are very judgmental in this world. I think, ‘How can you judge anyone in this world and how they behave, or how they act, or what their instant reaction to something is when you are less powerful many times in your life than, like, a big bar of chocolate in front of you?’”

For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677. You can visit their website here.

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