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Matt Willis addictions: What was the Busted star addicted to?

Emma Willis' husband speaks openly about his vices in Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction

Matt Willis in glasses on TV© Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
May 17, 2023
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Any Busted fans wills be familiar with Matt Willis' cheeky, energetic side, but the bassist shows a different side to himself in his new documentary, Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction.

In the programme, which features emotional footage of his wife Emma Willis sharing she worried her husband would die, Matt reveals he's struggled with substance abuse since childhood, before becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs in his twenties.

When was Matt Willis addicted to drugs?

The Busted star shared that he first knew he had an addictive personality aged seven, when he remembers going under his bedcovers and taking big puffs of his asthma inhaler, holding it in until his head felt like it might explode.

Matt Willis in glasses on Lorraine© Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
Matt Willis has struggled with drug abuse since he was a teen

He also drank alcohol and smoked cannabis as a teenager, but took it further than his friends. "I'd be drinking to black out or have big cuts on my face from falling over," he told the Guardian.

 Exclusive: Busted star Matt Willis shares his motivation for getting sober

With cannabis, Matt shared he tried to come up with ways to make the effect stronger. "It wasn't a casual smoke in the park, it was always: 'Let's get as [expletive] up as I possibly can.'"

Matt began taking cocaine at the height of Busted's fame around 2002, but said he was a 'functioning addict,' using the drug as a way to keep sober after a night of heavy drinking, and that he found taking drugs fun.

Matt Willis, James Bourne and Charlie Simpson© Alan Davidson/Shutterstock
Matt Willis took cocaine to function while in Busted

"I loved it, that's the thing – it wasn't always dark. It was exciting, and people wanted me to come places and go to parties," he told the Guardian.

Matt Willis, Charlie Simpson and James Bourne© Nils Jorgensen/Shutterstock
Busted split in 2005

The 40-year-old said his addictions became an issue after the band split in 2005, and he checked into rehab for a two-week stint, funded by his solo management, but said he began drinking again the day after he left.

How did Emma Willis react to Matt's relapse?

Matt checked into rehab voluntarily in 2008, ahead of his wedding to Emma when he realised he was using drugs to function, and he remained sober for eight years before Busted reformed in the mid-2000s, and he was offered cocaine at a party.

Matt Willis in red on This Morning© Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
Matt Willis checked into rehab several time

The final relapse was most difficult for Emma, with Matt sharing: "That last relapse was really hard for her, because we had three kids. I'd been eight years sober – we'd thought that it was behind us."

Matt Willis on Lorraine in 2023© Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
Matt Willis' children helped him to get sober

Matt is now sober again, and in an exclusive chat with HELLO! he shared how he his children motivated him in his healthier life choices.

"[Having children] changed me in so many ways, I can't really express it. It got me sober – I was struggling so much with drink and drugs for so many years. My wife is an unbelievable person, but I couldn't stay sober or clean for her.

Matt Willis and Emma Willis in 2021© James Veysey/Shutterstock
Matt Willis was sober on his and Emma Willis' wedding day in 2008

"When I had [my first child] Isabelle, I realised I was going to be a terrible father and it hit me like a ton of bricks. That was what changed me. Everything was about me being a better person for her.

Busted in 2023 sitting on stools© Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
Busted have reformed for a 2023 tour

"That's why I do most things. Some things are for me, but I'd say 90 per cent of the things I do are so I can be a better father or a better husband."

Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction is available to watch on BBC One

Listen to Matt Willis' episode of HELLO!'s In A Good Place podcast below

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