Richard Osman opens up about his life with food addiction

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Richard Osman
Image: BBC

Best selling author and Pointless co-host Richard Osman has revealed that he has suffered from food addiction since he was a young child and he will do for the rest of his life. The star was speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs when he opened up about his addiction.

Osman said he wants to destigmatise the shame surrounding the addiction and spoke about his own “difficult journey” with it. “There hasn’t been a day of my life since the age of nine where I haven’t thought about problems with food and how it affects me,” he said.

“And 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, and these days I control it more often than I don’t.

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“But again, because you have to eat, it’s actually quite hard and sometimes you do slip but I try my best and I certainly have no shame about it now and anyone at home who overeats or, and thinks it’s ridiculous, you’ve just got to divorce that.

“That’s a difficult journey and it doesn’t come naturally to me but the more I try it, the happier I get.”

Richard Osman explained there was a time when he was successful in his professional life but he was feeling “directionless” personally. He was writing for quiz shows Have I Got News For You and Whose Line Is It Anyway.


“I think it is that thing of, my career was going well and I was successful, and I had kids, so I had all the things that I thought were the thing that I needed or the thing that was going to make everything okay, and none of them did,” he added.

“And getting older and older and just working out that I was slightly directionless, and I had various addictive behaviours as well.”

He reflected on how an addiction to food does not have the same “doomed glamour of drugs or alcohol” but he sees them as “identical”.


“It’s just booze but food… The secrecy of consuming these things, the shame behind it”. Richard Osman also noted that while people can quit alcohol and drugs, usually with “unbelievable difficulty” but they can cut them out completely, food cannot be avoided, which makes tackling the addiction “tricky”.


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