Andrew Flintoff has revealed he is still suffering from bulimia, eight years after going public about the problem.
The former England cricket captain said that while he feels ‘in control’ and has a ‘coping mechanism’ to live with the eating disorder, he has struggled with it as recently as this year.
‘I probably should get help – I know it’s a problem and I know it needs addressing,’ he admits in a BBC documentary due to be broadcast next Monday.
The former England cricket captain said that while he feels ‘in control’ and has a ‘coping mechanism’ to live with the eating disorder, he has struggled with it as recently as this year
The 42-year-old father of four, now a co-presenter of Top Gear, told how the problem first surfaced in the early days of his cricket career when he was pilloried for his weight.
In the programme Freddie Flintoff: Living With Bulimia, he spoke to other men seeking help for the problem and to the family of one who died of a heart attack brought on by it.
Confronting his bulimia, Flintoff said: ‘I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed the results.
‘I don’t know whether it’s just being a bloke, you feel you should be able to stop it.’
But while feeling ‘in control’ of the situation, he admitted: ‘I probably should get help. I know it’s a problem and I know it needs addressing.’
‘I probably should get help – I know it’s a problem and I know it needs addressing,’ he admitted in a BBC documentary
Although he said he has now developed a ‘coping mechanism’ which means he mostly manages to avoid the urge to make himself sick after eating, he said: ‘I’ve had periods when I’ve done it this year.’
He also confessed to hiding the true scale of the problem from his wife Rachael, 42, saying he ‘lied a few times’.
‘If I didn’t do it, I didn’t feel good about myself,’ he said.
It was while filming a documentary about training to be a boxer in 2012 that Flintoff first revealed he had bulimia.
In the documentary he said he believes the reason he hasn’t dealt with it is ‘because everything else is going so well’ now, including his TV career and ‘amazing family’.
He added: ‘I have this new career as a television presenter, which I love; I have an amazing family who support me through everything.’
The BBC programme quoted statistics about how an estimated 1:4 bulimia sufferers are male, but 60 per cent of them do not seek help.
Flintoff said that making the programme – particularly interviewing Pam Nugent, whose young son Laurence died in 2009 – had make him ‘question how I deal with my eating disorder’.
He added: ‘A 24-year-old had a heart attack through bulimia. It’s that thing where you think it’s never going to happen to you.
‘I don’t want to be a statistic, I don’t want to be something that’s read about in years to come, that something’s happened to me’.