Matt Willis on addiction: I went to rehab three times for other people

Busted star Matt Willis has opened up about entering rehabilitation treatment saying he did it “for other people”.

The 40-year-old musician, who rose to fame alongside other members of the 2000s pop punk band, has previously opened up about his battle with drugs and alcohol and believes he is still working through his “recovery”.

Willis told Times Radio on Thursday: “I mean, I’ve had many, many people sit me down over the years and say, ‘Matt, I think you’ve got a problem’. And I just brushed it off, I wasn’t ready to hear it.

“I went to rehab three times for other people, kind of like because at one point, my record company were going to drop me because I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing.”

Emma Willis Launches Collection with Next – London
Matt Willis with his wife, Emma (Ian West/PA)

He added that his then girlfriend, now wife, TV presenter Emma Willis, had also said she was going to “leave” before he entered a treatment centre to “stay out of trouble”.

He also spoke about being a “master manipulator” and “constantly lying” when he was going through addiction.

Willis also said: “It wasn’t till I was about to get married and I kind of realised that I was not going to be able to be there, or I was going to be there and just an absolute mess and let everyone down.

“I was trying desperately to stay sober and I just couldn’t make it to 12pm I just (would) wake up in the morning (and) I couldn’t get to 12pm, I just (would) try really hard but I just, I couldn’t, I couldn’t do it. I had to drink.”

Busted 20th anniversary
Matt Willis, right, with his Busted bandmates James Bourne, left, and Charlie Simpson (Ian West/PA)

Willis also detailed being medically detoxed at a rehabilitation centre which he says was something he was “very fortunate” to be able to afford.

He added: “The thing is, at the end of the day, people are dealing with pain, and they’re trying to find something to soothe that pain. And, until we address what that underlying pain is, I don’t think we really will turn a corner.”

The singer also said he is still “searching” for his recovery and is dealing with it on a “daily basis”.

He added: “I was lucky enough to have people around me who showed me (love) and kind of (listened) to me and (helped) me, and professionals, which I think is really important, but today there (is) a real problem with a lack of that, (people are) not … getting that kind of care.”

Speaking about his experiences visiting detox units as part of a BBC documentary, Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction, released in May, he said the NHS is fighting addiction well but “just needs more money”.

He added: “You’ve got the stigma attached to addiction (and) people say, ‘I’m not paying my money to fix drug addiction’, which is so sad, because those people are people, you know, and they’re just the same as everybody else, just have issues they’re dealing with, it’s sort of breaking them, and it’s breaking their family.”

Willis rose to fame alongside Charlie Simpson and James Bourne through Busted, known for hits Year 3000 and What I Go To School For.

The band has upcoming tour dates next year and recently released their song collection Greatest Hits 2.0 in September.