Richard Osman opens up about struggling with food addiction

Richard Osman, the TV presenter and bestselling author, has opened up about his 40-year battle with food, saying ‘There hasn’t been a day in my life since the age of nine when I haven’t thought about problems with food and how it affects me’.

Richard Osman

Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Osman said that his addiction to junk food, including chocolate bars and crisps, did not have the ‘doomed glamour of drugs or alcohol’ but described the addiction as ‘identical’ to being an alcoholic.

‘If an alcoholic came to my house they would be shocked to see bottles of gin and bottles of wine, completely untouched,’ Osman told presenter Lauren Laverne. ‘Because an alcoholic couldn’t have that in their house.

‘And if I came to your house and there were crisps or chocolate bars untouched in the fridge, I’d be like “What? How are they untouched?” – if I’m going through an episode.’

He described how being addicted to food is ‘tricky’ because whereas those with drink and drug problems could give them up entirely, nobody can go without food completely. ‘Because you have to eat it’s actually quite hard, and sometimes you do slip, but I try my best and certainly have no shame about it now’ he explained.

Osman said that his problems started at the age of nine, which is when his father left home, an event that the presenter said ‘fundamentally changed’ him.

Of the food addiction, Osman explained ‘It will be with me for the rest of my life. I know that. I’m either controlling it or not controlling it at any given time. These days, I control it more often than I don’t.’

Food addiction and emotional eating is an issue You has previously covered – read our beauty director Edwina Ings-Chambers’ powerful account of her own battle with her weight here. And we applaud Richard for help to destigmatise an issue that often has so much shame attached.