Matt Willis reveals his exercise 'addiction' after struggling with drugs and alcohol

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·3-min read
Willis says that he has developed an unhealthy addiction exercise in a bid to overcome his drug and alcohol problems. (Getty Images)
Willis says that he has developed an unhealthy addiction exercise in a bid to overcome his drug and alcohol problems. (Getty Images)

Matt Willis has revealed how he replaced his drug and alcohol addiction with a new compulsion: exercise.

The 39-year-old Busted bassist rose to fame in the early 2000s, but by 2005 he had checked into rehab – where he received treatment for alcoholism.

Two years later, the star spent five weeks at the Providence Project rehabilitation centre in Bournemouth – this time for drug issues. He has since remained alcohol and drug-free.

Read more: Davina McCall, 51, addresses fitness backlash and admits she's addicted to exercise

Nevertheless, speaking to Fearne Cotton on her Happy Place podcast, Willis admitted that he now obsesses over working out, so much so that he is 'triggered' if he isn't able to go to the gym.

Matt Willis, pictured with Fearne Cotton in back 2007, opened up about his struggles with addiction. (Getty Images)
Matt Willis, pictured with Fearne Cotton back in 2007, opened up about his struggles with addiction. (Getty Images)

He says that he turned to exercise after realising that drugs and alcohol were no longer serving him.

“Exercise was a big thing for me... when I found it I was completely and utterly addicted to it. It was great because everything about it was positive," Willis explained.

"And then it became a problem where if I didn't or something got in the way of it I was triggered or I became angry or upset."

Read more: Matt Willis reveals substance abuse began aged 7

Willis has been open about his addictions in the past, admitting that he began experimenting at a very young age.

“I’d be getting high in my bed at seven years old, so I have always had this in me to find ways to get away from dealing with who I am and how I feel," he admitted. "Quitting drinking was one of the hardest tasks in my life,” he told Matt Johnson and Ben Bidwell on The Naked Professor podcast back in 2019.

And following a reported marriage ultimatum from wife Emma Willis, with whom he raises three children, Willis decided it was time to get sober.

The TV presenter and former model has been vocal about her struggle to “understand” Matt’s addiction troubles.

Willis has been sober for 12 years, since a reported marriage ultimatum from his wife Emma. (Getty Images)
Willis has been sober for 12 years, since a reported marriage ultimatum from his wife Emma. (Getty Images)

She previously revealed his relationship with drugs and alcohol 'really changed' following the birth of their daughter Isabelle.

“He was already recovery for himself, then Isabelle arrived and that made him even more determined,” she explained.

Willis is set to candidly share his battle with drug and alcohol addiction in a heartbreaking new documentary with BBC.

Read more: Matt Willis says he didn't cry until the age of 29

The musician will touch on his time as a member of Busted and speak about receiving treatment for alcoholism when the band split up.

The pop punk band Busted (pictured in 2018) first rose to fame in the early 2000s. (Getty Images)
The pop punk band Busted (pictured in 2018) first rose to fame in the early 2000s. (Getty Images)

In the documentary – which is set to air in 2023 – Willis details how his addiction was linked to his experiences in childhood and speaks on how starting a new life with his wife Emma saved him.

"This will be equally personal for Matt, as he has never delved so deep into his past before, at least not in public,” an insider revealed.

“It will reveal how some of his problems stemmed from a childhood where his parents made him feel he should conform to male stereotypes. That included telling him that 'boys don’t cry', which meant he never shed a tear until he was 29 years old.”

Watch: Why Matt Willis turned down 'Strictly Come Dancing'