Inspector Montalbano author Andrea Camilleri dies

Italian author Andrea Camilleri, famed worldwide for the Inspector Montalbano books, has died at the age of 93.

RAI state TV, which produced popular television versions of his detective stories, interrupted programming to announce his death on Wednesday morning.

Rome’s hospital system also announced the death, a month after he suffered a heart attack and was admitted to hospital in a critical condition.

His books, most set in his native Sicily, sold 25 million copies in Italy, and he also had legions of readers overseas thanks to the enduring popularity of his character, police chief Salvo Montalbano.

The TV adaptation of Montalbano’s adventures, which starred Luca Zingaretti, further propelled Camilleri’s popularity.

Image: Actor Luca Zingaretti plays Inspector Montalbano

Repeats of the show consistently recorded the highest audience ratings and shows were also exported to Latin America, Australia and across Europe.

Camilleri was a regular best-selling author in Italy and often had several books high in the ranking in the same week.

More from Italy

He was also becoming increasingly popular in the UK – with BBC Four broadcasting the Montalbano TV series from mid-2011.

However, he did not publish his first book until he was 70 years old, previously working as a successful theatre and TV director and scriptwriter. He produced his 100th book in 2016 at the age of 90.

“After 30 years in the theatre as a director, dialogue for me becomes fundamental in the structure of the novel,” Camilleri told the Associated Press in an interview in his Rome apartment in 2009.

Writer Andrea Camilleri speaks on stage at Rome Film Festival in 2010

Image: The writer previously worked as a successful theatre and TV director and scriptwriter

Following his death, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini expressed his condolences on Twitter.

He wrote: “Goodbye to Andrea Camilleri, Montalbano’s father and tireless narrator of his Sicily.”

David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament, also tweeted: “‘Words that speak the truth have a different vibration to all others.’ Farewell to Andrea Camilleri. You gifted us the love of reading.”

Fans have also been paying tribute on social media.

Rachel Roddy said: “So so sad to hear Andrea Camilleri was died, he helped me understand Sicily, its beauty and brutality, with wit, ingenuity and food grandissimo man and writer.”

Camilleri’s works were translated into 30 languages, including Chinese.

Harvard University romance languages professor Francesco Erspamer said he did not believe “there has ever been another Italian author with so many books translated into English” in such a short space of time.

Mirren slams 'heartbreaking' move to axe free TV licences

Dame Helen Mirren has joined the fight to save free TV licences for all over-75s – describing the decision to axe the provision as “heartbreaking”.

A free TV licence will only be available to households with someone over 75 who receives pension credit from June next year.

Dame Helen, 73, is one of 20 celebrities – including Sir Lenny Henry, Lionel Blair, Christopher Biggins, Len Goodman and Angela Rippon – who have signed an open letter calling on the government to ensure the funding continues.

Image: Pensioners are angry about losing the entitlement

She said: “It’s just absolutely heartbreaking that so many older people are going to lose their free licence, when television plays such an important role in their lives.

“In many cases it acts as an important contact with the outside world.

“I would urge all those involved, including the government, to do the right thing and to carry on funding free licences for all over-75s – the cost of which is surely a small price to pay for keeping so many vulnerable older people connected.”

The BBC – which took over the cost of providing the free licences four years ago – announced its plans to scrap the universal benefit last month.

More from UK

It said continuing to fund the scheme – which amounts to £745m a year – would result in “unprecedented closures”.

And its chairman Sir Davd Clementi has dismissed the suggestion the corporation could fund the benefit by cutting the pay of stars, saying “the sums don’t add up”.

Age UK said it has received around 36,000 letters, which will also be delivered to Conservative HQ, asking Tory leadership hopefuls Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson to reconsider the government’s decision to hand responsibility for the funding to the BBC.

It said 83% people surveyed want the government to stick to its manifesto promise to fund free TV licences for over-75s.

Its research shows two in five of all over-75s consider television to be their main form of company, while nine out of 10 in this age group watch TV every day.

Stock photo ID:692996056 Upload date:June 05, 2017

Image: Two in five people over 75 say that television is their main form of company

Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: “The government should never have outsourced this welfare entitlement in the first place but the new administration that is about to come into place at least has the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and right the wrong that’s been done to our older population.”

The charity’s online petition has reached more than 600,000 signatures.

MPs are expected to quiz BBC bosses over the proposed changes later.

Mr Clementi and BBC director-general Lord Tony Hall are among those due to appear before the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee (DCMS).

A government spokesman said: “We’re very disappointed with this decision – we’ve been clear that we want and expect the BBC to continue this concession.

“People across the country value television as a way to stay connected, and we want the BBC to look at further ways to support older people.

“Taxpayers want to see the BBC using its substantial licence fee income in an appropriate way to ensure it delivers for UK audiences, which includes showing restraint on salaries for senior staff.”

R Kelly refused bail as he is 'still a danger to young girls'

A judge in the US has ordered R Kelly to remain behind bars without bail after a prosecutor claimed the singer would still pose a danger to young girls if he was set free.

Speaking in court on Tuesday, assistant US attorney Angel Krull told district judge Harry Leinenweber: “If he was attracted to middle school girls in 1999 then he’s still attracted to middle school girls.

“That’s who the defendant is and that, your honour, makes him a danger today.

“Electronic monitoring can’t stop obstruction of justice, witness tampering.”

She added: “He can entice victims to his own home.”

Mr Leinenweber said Kelly would have to prove that he was not a danger to the public under federal law, and that Kelly’s lawyer had failed to do this.

Image: The denial of bail could mean that the 52-year-old spends the rest of his life behind bars

The R&B singer was arrested in Chicago last week while out walking his dog, and faces a number of sex-related charges in the city, and in New York – which he denies.

More from Chicago

Kelly, who appeared in court wearing an orange jumpsuit with shackles around his ankles, said only two words in court, “yes, sir”, when asked if he understood the charges.

The ruling in Chicago means he will remain in prison to face separate charges in New York, where he is charged with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labour and the sexual exploitation of a child.

The denial of bail for Kelly could mean that the 52-year-old spends the rest of his life behind bars, due to the length of time it is likely to take for each count to go to trial.

Ms Krull said the singer was a predator who went to great lengths to find young girls and keep them under his control, adding that the evidence against him is overwhelming.

Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was first arrested on sex-related charges in 2002 after a video allegedly showing him having sex with a 14-year-old girl was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times.

However, after lengthy delays, he was acquitted in 2008, in part due to the girl deciding not to testify in court.

Ms Krull claims Kelly paid the victim and her family off and that the alleged victim from the video had since testified before a federal grand jury and confirmed it was her.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 16: Attorney for R. Kelly, Steve Greenberg speaks with reporters following his client's arraignment at the Dirksen Federal Building on July 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Image: Kelly’s lawyer argued that preparing for a trial could take a long time

Kelly’s legal problems intensified in February after he was arrested and charged with 10 counts in Illinois of sexually abusing three girls and a woman.

He pleaded not guilty and was released on bail.

Cook County lawyers added 11 sex-related counts in May, involving one with the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.

Kelly’s lawyer said that preparing for a trial will be a long and difficult process, due to the rapper’s inability to read, meaning someone will have to visit him and speak to him about the documents that the case is likely to generate.

He has previously filed for bankruptcy, with his lawyer saying: “How could he flee? He has no money.”

Lion King director looked to Attenborough and Babe for inspiration

The director of Disney’s The Lion King has revealed he looked to David Attenborough documentaries and the animated pig Babe for inspiration for his stunning reimagined version of the classic.

Jon Favreau said the film Babe made him realise what was possible.

He said: “I connected so much with the little pig and there’s no human expression… mostly it’s the voice and it’s the way it’s edited, and the pig when it’s happy jumps up and down like a pig does, it doesn’t smile, it doesn’t cry tears of joy… it’s the emotion that you would get watching a documentary.”

Favreau: Animal ‘naturalism’ evokes emotion in Lion King

The original Lion King is considered a crown jewel in Disney’s collection. Favreau has remade it using game-changing technology.

He worked with the Oscar-winning visual effects artist Adam Valadez and his team of over 1,000 artists at MPC in London’s Soho using virtual reality and the latest visual effects and animation techniques to present the characters and sets in a way that appears to be photo-realistic.

”Instead of just treating this as an animated film, we created all the environments and all the performances and brought them into VR and set cameras using a live action film crew so the processes that we used emulated live action, even though every environment was completely digital and animated.”

Adam Valadez, who also worked with Favreau on Disney’s remake of The Jungle Book, told Sky News that over the years they’ve been getting better and better at creating highly detailed organic life on screen and this comes from a combination of technical skill and the vision of directors like Favreau.

More from Ents & Arts

He explained that they research everything seen on screen meticulously, travelling to Africa to ensure this “photo realism” continues throughout the movie.

Every single plant and how they are arranged and the proportions of “landscape, from rock to dirt, to trees to grasses, needed to be just right”.

To ensure the animals were perfect they used a technique perfected on The Jungle Book which saw each constructed inside out.

Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen aren't sure whether their characters in Disney's "The Lion King" are gay, but say that more family films should include openly gay characters.

Are Timon and Pumbaa more than friends?

He said: “You have to figure out where the bones are, where the muscles are, how the skin sits on them and how the fur sits on top of that, and you have to think about how every muscle in the face works because that’s how you get expressions in the face.

“So we have to move through every anatomical part of the animal and construct it from the inside to the outside.”

The film boasts a stellar cast – James Earl Jones reprises his role as the voice of King Mufasa and is joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, Beyonce Knowles Carter as Nala, Donald Glover as Simba and John Oliver as Zazu.

:: Beyonce tells Meghan ‘we love you guys’ at Lion King premiere

Ejiofor said it seemed the right time to revisit this classic 25 years on from the original.

He told Sky News that because everything was so realistic this time round, they had to be mindful of how it would effect audiences, particularly children seeing the iconic stampede scene.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the European Premiere of Disney's The Lion King

Harry and Meghan arrive at Lion King premiere

“I feel like the animated version for some reason is so visceral, whereas there is something subtler and gentler in this version, it’s not quite so brutal, in a way.

“I think it’s done with a view to all those people 25 years ago who watched the animated and thought, ‘What, oh wait’, so I think it’s really well constructed so that it’s still within the context of the family dynamic.”

The Lion King is Disney’s third remake this year and they’re continuing to look to their past in the future with more reimagined classics in the pipeline.

Game of Thrones receives record-breaking 32 Emmy nominations

Game of Thrones has received a record-breaking 32 Emmy Award nominations, beating the drama series record set by NYPD Blue in 1994.

The hit fantasy is up for outstanding drama series, as well as awards for sound, visual effects, costume, make-up and casting.

Kit Harington has been nominated for best leading actor in a drama series for his role as Jon Snow, while Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, is up for best leading actress.

While the eighth and final season received mixed reviews earlier this year, it picked up the most nominations for any programme in a single season, breaking the 25-year record held by NYPD Blue, which had 27.

Another top nominee was Sky’s nuclear disaster miniseries Chernobyl, which received 19 nominations, including best limited series.

Image: Sky Atlantic series Chernobyl was also a top nominee. Pic: Sky Atlantic/ HBO

The recreation of the 1986 Russian nuclear power disaster also secured Jared Harris a nomination for best actor in a limited series.

British stars were also honoured at the ceremony in Los Angeles.

More from Ents & Arts

Jodie Comer plays psychopathic assassin Villanelle in the hit series

Image: Jodie Comer plays psychopathic assassin Villanelle

Jodie Comer was recognised for her turn as psychopathic assassin Villanelle in Killing Eve and is up against her co-star Sandra Oh for outstanding drama actress.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag gained her an outstanding lead actress in a comedy series nomination, while Hugh Grant was nominated for A Very English Scandal in the outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie category.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the writer and star of Fleabag

Image: Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the writer and star of Fleabag

The nominations were announced by The Good Place actress D’Arcy Carden and Crazy Rich Asians actor Ken Jeong on Tuesday.

The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards honour the best in TV from 1 June 2018 to 31 May 2019.

The ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on 22 September.

Here is a partial list of nominees:

Comedy series

Barry, Fleabag, The Good Place, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Russian Doll, Schitt’s Creek, Veep

Drama series

Better Call Saul, Bodyguard, Game of Thrones, Killing Eve, Ozark, Pose, Succession, This is Us

Actor in a drama series

Jason Bateman, Ozark; Sterling K Brown, This is Us; Kit Harrington, Game of Thrones; Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul; Billy Porter, Pose; Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us

Actress in a drama series

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones; Robin Wright, House of Cards; Jodie Comer, Killing Eve; Sandra Oh, Killing Eve; Laura Linney, Ozark; Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder; Mandy Moore, This Is Us

Limited series

Chernobyl; Escape at Dannemora; Fosse/Verdon; When They See Us; Sharp Objects

Actor in a limited series or movie

Mahershala Ali, True Detective; Benicio Del Toro, Escape at Dannemora; Jared Harris, Chernobyl; Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us; Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

Actress in a limited series or movie

Amy Adams, Sharp Objects; Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora; Aunjanue Ellis, When They See Us; Joey King, The Act; Niecy Nash, When They See Us; Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Guest actor in a comedy series

Luke Kirby The Marvelous Mrs Maisel; Rufus Sewell, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel; Adam Sandler, Saturday Night Live; John Mulaney, Saturday Night Live; Matt Damon, Saturday Night Live; Robert De Niro, Saturday Night Live; Peter MacNicol, Veep

Guest actress in a comedy series

Fiona Shaw, Fleabag; Kristin Scott Thomas, Fleabag; Maya Rudolph, The Good Place; Jane Lynch, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel; Emma Thompson, Saturday Night Live; Sandra Oh, Saturday Night Live

Television movie

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch; Brexit; Deadwood; King Lear; My Dinner with Herve

Variety talk series

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah; Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; Jimmy Kimmel Live!; Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; The Late Late Show with James Corden; The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Kylie Jenner opens up about struggling with anxiety

Kylie Jenner has opened up about struggling with anxiety, saying that it “isn’t normal” to grow up with “a million eyes on you”.

In an Instagram post, the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star spoke out about the issues she lived with as a teenager and has dealt with since the birth of her daughter, Stormi, in 2018.

Alongside a picture of herself standing on a beach at sunset, the 21-year-old told her 140 million Instagram followers that she was proud of herself for how she has handled living in the limelight.

“Growing up in the light with a million eyes on you just isn’t normal,” she wrote. “I’ve lost friends along the way and I’ve lost myself too sometimes.

“My first tattoo was ‘sanity’ to remind myself everyday to keep it. I’ve struggled with anxiety my whole young adult life and after my baby I dealt with all the internal ups and downs.

“I felt like I had to find myself completely again. I keep a whole lot to myself but just wanted to share and let you know I’m human.”

Jenner has been in the public eye since she was just 10, starring alongside sister Kendall and half-sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian in their family TV series.

More from Kylie Jenner

She is now the youngest self-made billionaire of all time in her own right, according to Forbes, following the launch of her make-up and beauty range, Kylie Cosmetics, in 2015.

In her post about her life, she admitted it is “not perfect and what you see here on social media is just the surface”.

Image: Kylie Jenner (right) stars in Keeping Up With the Kardashians alongside her famous family

She urged her followers to “be gentle with yourself, move on, and let go”, adding: “We are all capable of great things, worthy of love, and allowed to express ourselves.

“Do more of what makes you happy and be unapologetic. Now is your season. We all have a magnificent destiny.”

Within nine hours, the post had been liked almost five million times.

Khloe Kardashian congratulated her for her honesty, writing in the comments: “Amen sweet sister!!!! I am proud of you always.”

Kourtney added: “I am proud of you, let it out.”

Lewis Capaldi and Noel Gallagher feud: Chewbacca mask raises £5k

A Chewbacca mask worn by singer Lewis Capaldi as part of a feud with Noel Gallagher has raised more than £5,000 in a charity auction.

Scottish-born Capaldi, 22, wore the Star Wars mask for his main stage set at TRNSMT in front of around 50,000 people on Glasgow Green.

His appearance as the Wookiee warrior came after the former Oasis songwriter called him “Chewbacca”, referred to Scotland as a “third world country” and said Capaldi should “enjoy his 15 minutes”.

The mask had raised £5,300 for the mental health charity Tiny Changes just over 13 hours after it was listed on eBay on Monday.

Tiny Changes was set up in May in memory of Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison, who took his own life last year.

Image: Lewis Capaldi performed on the main stage at TRNSMT in Glasgow

The Star Wars item is owned by a manager at DF Concerts, who said: “I had a feeling after all the Noel Gallagher back and forth with Lewis Capaldi, that they may be in need of a Chewbacca mask so I got in touch with Lewis’s team and offered my mask.”

The manager, who asked not to be named, added that the answer was “bring it!”.

More from Noel Gallagher

He continued: “I’ve worked with Lewis since he was doing small club shows so to see him play in front of a sold out crowd at TRNSMT was a special moment, made all the more special by seeing my mask out there.

“The whole team at DF were devastated by the loss of Scott Hutchison last year and Frightened Rabbit are another band that we’ve shared some special moments with.

“So I thought I’d see how much we could raise for Tiny Changes, the charity set up by his family in his memory.

“Its main focus is to raise awareness about young people’s mental health issues. Hopefully there will be a bidding war and lots of money will be raised.”

Noel Gallagher has referred to Scotland as a 'third world country'

Image: Noel Gallagher has referred to Scotland as a ‘third world country’

Frightened Rabbit wrote in a tweet on Monday: “The bold @LewisCapaldi has signed the Chewbacca mask he wore for @TRNSMTfest and it is being auctioned off with proceeds going to @tinychanges.

“Who agrees @NoelGallagher should chip in with a bid?”

Capaldi, whose second cousin once removed is the Dr Who actor Peter Capaldi, covered the Oasis favourite Don’t Look Back In Anger during his performance on Sunday.

He changed the lyric at one point to “Don’t Chewbac In Anger”.

Lewis Capaldi mocks Noel Gallagher during Glastonbury set

Lewis Capaldi mocks Noel Gallagher during Glastonbury set

The dig comes after Noel rubbished the Scottish star, famous for his tear-jerker ballads, and joked his music upset his young son.

Speaking about the feud ahead of taking to the stage, Capaldi also admitted he would “love” to collaborate with Gallagher.

He said: “I’d love to just… me and him get in there.

“He doesn’t like co-rights so probably wouldn’t, but he can write it and I’ll sing it and I’m sure it would be a lovely one.

“I love him to bits. He’s just bamming it up isn’t he? He loves a bam up, Noel.

“I too enjoy a bit of a bam up although maybe I wouldn’t call a country a third world one at that but I thought it was funny.”

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

TRNSMT festival director Geoff Ellis added: “Capaldi fever is sweeping the world and I was delighted to watch his outstanding set from the side of the stage [on Sunday] night – it’s a performance I will remember for years to come.

“The Tiny Changes Charity is very close to our hearts, here at DF Concerts, and I hope we manage to raise a great amount of money for a charity that’s work is very important, not only within the music industry, but for raising awareness about children and young people’s mental health.”

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

Austin Butler 'beats Harry Styles' to play Elvis Presley

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic has found its King – and it’s sad news for One Direction fans as it’s not Harry Styles.

While Styles, along with Ansel Elgort and Miles Teller, had been rumoured to be in the running for the role, it has now been confirmed that it will be played by the relatively unknown actor Austin Butler.

The 27-year-old posted a picture of a Deadline article confirming the announcement on his Instagram page, alongside the lyrics from Presley song Love Me Tender: “You have made my life complete, and I love you so.”

Image: Harry Styles was reportedly in the running for the role

Luhrmann said it had been a competitive casting contest.

In a statement, the director said that through “a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures”.

Butler appeared last year in the Denzel Washington Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh, and also has a role in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie.

Production on the as yet untitled Elvis Presley project is due to begin early next year, with Tom Hanks also confirmed to co-star as Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.

More from Elvis Presley

Butler’s girlfriend, High School Musical actress Vanessa Hudgens, also posted the announcement on Instagram, saying: “I AMMMM OVERRRR THE F****** MOOOOOOOOONNNNN. I CANT WAIT… SO PROUD OF MY HONEYYYYY!!!”

Other stars responded to Butler’s post to congratulate him, with fellow High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale saying: “You’re whole life is about to change.” (sic)

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Into The Wild actor Emile Hirsch posted: “Congratulations buddy!”

Netflix removes graphic 13 Reasons Why suicide scene

A graphic scene depicting a teenager’s suicide is being removed from young adult drama 13 Reasons Why following advice from medical experts.

Netflix said it had decided to edit the controversial scene in a statement released on Twitter on Tuesday, more than two years on from when it first aired.

The show, based on a book of the same name, tells the story of protagonist Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, who leaves behind a series of 13 tapes describing why she decided to take her life.

In its statement, Netflix said: “We’ve heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide.”

The company said it had “decided with the creator Brian Yorkey and the producers of 13 Reasons Why to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life”.

While critically acclaimed, the show drew criticism from groups including the Parents Television Council (PTC), which accused it of glorifying teen suicide.

The PTC, which had previously called for Netflix to drop the show, has praised the move to edit the scene.

More from Netflix

“Netflix has finally acknowledged the harmful impact that explicit content, such as the graphic suicide scene in 13 Reasons Why, is capable of inflicting on children,” it said in a statement.

The American Association of Suicidology and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are among others welcoming the move.

Image: The show is based on a Jay Asher novel and has been criticised for glorifying suicide

Suicides by young people in the US rose by almost a third in the month following the 2017 streaming debut of the series, a US study found.

The National Institutes of Health-supported study found a 28.9% increase in suicide rates among US youths aged 10-17 in April 2017. It said there was an additional estimated 195 suicide deaths in that age bracket from April to December 2017, versus expectations based on past data.

:: Listen to the Backstage podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

However, the researchers said the study had limitations and that they could not make a direct “causal link” between 13 Reasons Why and the rise, or rule out other factors.

At the time of its release, the streaming service had defended its decision to include the scene, which came with a warning for viewers that it “may not be suitable for younger audiences”.

Following the initial backlash, Netflix added information about crisis helplines.

A second season was released in May 2018 and a third season has been ordered.

Ed Sheeran opens up about crippling 'social anxiety'

Singer Ed Sheeran has spoken about living with “crippling social anxiety” that means he can’t face rooms full of people.

Despite performing at stadium gigs around the world, Sheeran says he get claustrophobic and doesn’t like being in crowds.

Speaking to The Sun as his latest album comes out, he said: “I don’t like large groups of people, which is ironic given I play shows to thousands of people.

Image: Sheeran said the anxiety worsened with his big 2017 hit Shape of You

“I feel claustrophobic and I don’t like being around many people. I have no problem with talking to people. But it’s when people film me and stare at me. It makes me feel weird.”

He said he has been working on the condition for eight years, and that it has been sparked by his worldwide fame, particularly with the surge in 2017 when Shape of You was released and the album Divide went platinum.

He hinted at his battle with mental health issues in his latest single I Don’t Care, which includes the lines: “With all these people all around, I’m crippled with anxiety, But I’m told it’s where I’m supposed to be.”

But the Lego House singer went into more detail in the interview, saying having people take photos of him in public makes him feel like a “zoo animal”.

More from Ed Sheeran

He also said he now goes on tour with four of his friends and has closed down his social circles to ensure he is closest to people he truly knows.

Sheeran said: “If I lived in central London and hung out with people, I wasn’t sure if they were friends with me because of me, or who I am.”

He now lives in Suffolk, close to where he grew up, in a £2m estate.

Ed Sheeran and Cherry Seaborn at an Ipswich Town match

Image: Sheeran with his now-wife Cherry Seaborn

His wife, Cherry Seaborn, works in an office job and so the singer explained he doesn’t get to spend as much time with her as he would like while he is away on tour.

There has long been speculation over the status of his relationship with Ms Seaborn after he announced their engagement on Instagram just after Christmas, but then refused to disclose whether they had tied the knot.

Rumour emerged that they had in February, and he has included a lyric about his “wife” in a new song, in which he also confessed would have given the game away if it had not already slipped out.

The line “My wife wears red, but looks better without the lipstick” comes in a song with 50 Cent and Eminem.

In the interview he also admits his anxiety means he questions why his wife married him every day, but says she never jokes or exacerbates his fears when he asks.

The pair knew each other from childhood, but grew apart after Ms Seaborn moved to the US when they were 11. When they reconnected in 2015, they started dating and have been married for five months.

Sheeran’s latest EP, No. 6 Collaborations Project, is the singer’s fourth studio album and consists entirely of songs performed with other artists.

I Don’t Care was at number one in the UK for eight weeks, until it was knocked off by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello.