In his first in-depth interview since revealing his struggles with depression, singer/songwriter and actor Max George tells HELLO! of the support of others, including his partner Stacey Giggs.
"It doesn't matter what you do or who you are, you can literally have everything you want, but as success happened, mentally I was breaking down," says the Strictly Come Dancing star who was performing at sold-out gigs and achieving number one hits with The Wanted before they split in 2014.
"My first proper episode was when The Wanted went to Number One. I'd achieved everything I had ever wanted but I couldn't handle how it exploded so fast."
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"It is a question I have been asked before, if I'd had any problems in my life with mental illness and, to be honest, I have not told the truth. I always would say no," Max, 32, tells HELLO!. "It took me a hell of a long time to accept myself that I had these problems, and then to be able to speak to my family and close friends because it was so out of character for me."
He has the support of Stacey, who he has described as 'The One'. The couple met over two years ago, introduced by mutual friends. However, rather than open up to her, it was more "an episode" that happened, he tells HELLO!
"I remember I'd just had a really bad day with it, and she said, 'What is wrong with you? What do I need to do,' and I said: 'Just try to be normal around me. There is absolutely nothing you can do, unless I'm actually curled up in a ball on the floor and need you to pick me up'."
"It took me a hell of a long time to accept myself that I had these problems," Max admitted
It was a doctor in LA, where he was living when starring in Glee, who diagnosed depression.
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"I know it is a mental illness, but it was a physical illness for me, too. From getting out of bed in the morning, I'd get in the lift to go down from my apartment, and I'd get this overwhelming feeling, a bit like claustrophobia, and I'd have to run out and be sick, I couldn't handle anything. I had brain scans and every test under the sun, and they kept saying there is nothing we can physically see, but I knew there was something badly wrong."
The actor and singer also spoke about his partner Stacey Giggs
Of taking part in Strictly Come Dancing last year, he says he was "so nervous", adding how Caroline Quentin supported him. "She is an absolute sweetheart, I love her. I was so nervous on that show, it killed me, and she'd come in, sit me down on the floor, two metres apart, and talk me through it. It was dead nice of her."
Could marriage and children of his own with Stacey be on the horizon? "Yeah, I feel the sky is the limit. I know that whatever we do, our lives are going to be great together. I love every day of being with her."
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