He appeared on a British talk show hosted by Jonathan Ross. Sheeran said, (quote) “I didn’t have any growing up time into getting famous. I just found myself slipping into substance abuse. It starts off as a party and then you’re doing it on your own.”
So two years ago, he took a hiatus to ground himself. He reconnected with a high-school friend, Cherry Seaborn. She helped him quit drugs cold turkey. Sheeran admitted, (quote) “I can’t work under the influence. I can’t write songs under the influence. I can’t perform under the influence.”
The Divide album was the result of cleaning up his act. The first single, “Shape of You” became the biggest song of the year, until “Despacito” came around.