Entertainment

Friday 23 August 2019

Tony Slattery speaks about struggle with bipolar disorder

The comedian and actor is now touring again.

Tony Slattery has said he was spending £4,000-a-week on drugs at one point in his life (Yui Mok/PA)
Tony Slattery has said he was spending £4,000-a-week on drugs at one point in his life (Yui Mok/PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Comedian and actor Tony Slattery has told of his struggle with bipolar disorder, saying the only plan he has for when he turns 60 this year is to “survive”.

The 59-year-old was once well known for programmes such as Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Just A Minute and Have I Got News For You, but according to an interview with the Sunday Mirror he now spends more time watching television in a small “not nice” home that is rented, because he did not think to buy a house when he could afford to do so.

The star has also been open about battling substance abuse and was apparently once spending £4,000-a-week on drugs. He said that on one occasion, he was given a talking to by actress Julie Walters.

Speaking about his life today, Slattery said: “You wake up and, if you’re alive, cool – go from there if you can.”

The actor said of dealing with mental illness: “I could write you a book on bipolarity.

“It’s one of those hidden things, it’s complicated.

“That’s not to say, ‘Oh God, aren’t I special.’

“So many people have it – the spectrum is enormous.

“But it hugely helps to talk about it – to get it out, discuss it.”

I get very annoyed when people talk about happy pills – because there’s no such thing

Slattery, who is now touring again, told the Sunday Mirror he is pleased mental health is discussed more openly now.

“There used to be a huge stigma,” he said.

“I get very annoyed when people talk about happy pills – because there’s no such thing.

“Antidepressants can be really useful and effective, but they’re not a panacea.”

Speaking about the time Walters approached him about substance misuse, he said: “She sat me down and said, ‘One – Tony, I think you’re a good actor, but there’s a darkness inside you. Two, you smell a bit of vodka. Three… take it easy.”

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