Useless star Richard Osman has revealed how he has battled food addiction since he was nine years old.
The television host-turned-crime novelist compared the need to secretly snack to alcoholism, saying he has accepted that he will face a life-long struggle with compulsion.
In an extremely candid interview broadcast today on Radio 4’s Desert Island records, the 51-year-old reveals: “My addictive behavior has always been food. It has been since I was incredibly young.
Richard Osman pictured with his new girlfriend Ingrid Oliver together in West London. The Pointless star has revealed how she has battled food addiction since she was nine years old.
‘He doesn’t have the kind of glamor doomed to drugs or alcohol or anything like that …
“There hasn’t been a day in my life since I was nine that I haven’t thought about food problems and how it affects me, and it will be with me for the rest of my life.
‘I know I am controlling it or I am not controlling it at any given time. And these days, I control it more often than I don’t. ‘
He added that while alcoholics may find it difficult to have bottles of untouched liquor at home, he had similar cravings for food, such as chocolate bars or potato chips.
“The addiction is identical,” he said. ‘The secret of consuming these things, the shame behind’.
However, the father of two pointed out some important differences when addressing the issue. “Food is complicated,” he said.
The television host-turned-crime novelist, pictured, compared the urge to secretly snack to alcoholism.
“ Because you can give up alcohol and drugs, incredibly difficult, but, you know, zero tolerance policy.
Whereas if you are addicted to food or love, all these things that sustain you, you still have to have them. So it’s quite difficult to get out of it.
“Since you have to eat, it’s actually quite difficult and sometimes you slip. I’m doing my best and I’m certainly not ashamed now. ‘
Osman, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall, said he grew up feeling uncomfortable because of his height, noting that “anyone who is an idiot will tell you something stupid.”
Alexander Armstrong (left) and Osman, who spoke about his food problems in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
He suffers from the condition of nystagmus, which causes the eye to perform uncontrolled movements. As such, he is unable to drive and compared his eyesight to being in permanent fog.
It was television that allowed him to see a bird in a tree or a cricket ball for the first time and, he added, the inability to read an autocue has done wonders for his career because he has had to learn to improvise.
“I have been able to use it to my advantage,” said the BBC stalwart. But I prefer to be able to see well.
Osman also spoke with host Lauren Laverne about the life-changing moment when her father summoned the family to the living room and announced that he was having an affair.
The presenter said: ‘My father left when I was quite young, when I was about nine years old. And that was probably the end of that innocence, I suspect.
For several months, Osman traveled by bus from the family home in Sussex to Rugby to see his father, but soon cut ties.
He recalled: ‘Eventually I just said,’ Look, this is not for me. I threw a little tantrum and said, ‘I don’t want to see you anymore.
Which, of course, was seeking attention, but was taken at face value, so I never saw it again.
The couple reconciled when Osman became a father in his 20s. He was married from the late 1990s to 2007 and is now in a relationship with actress and comedian Ingrid Oliver.
Osman, pictured with his girlfriend, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall, said he grew up feeling uncomfortable due to his height.
But it is his mother Brenda, an elementary school teacher, to whom Osman credits his success.
“She is an extraordinary woman and she did extraordinary things and I am beyond grateful for that,” he said.
“Now what I like most about my success are the things I can give him.”
Osman bought his mother a home in a retirement community in Sussex, which inspired his wildly successful thriller series Thursday Murder Club.
In addition to his mother, Osman said he was inspired by his older brother Mat, who co-founded chart-topping rock band Suede.
“It was as if someone had put a hole in the sky for me,” he explained.
‘You just think,’ Wow, we’re where we come from, and you’re on Top Of The Pops with your friends doing these songs! ‘
I was so proud of him and also selfishly thought, ‘We can do it.’ There are opportunities out there. You can do it if you want. ‘ I will never forget it as long as I live.
Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 at 11am today and repeats on Friday at 9am