Union J's Jaymi Hensley opens up about depression and drinking

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Union J star Jaymi Hensley has opened up about his mental health struggles, revealing that cruel comments about his weight left him battling depression.

The pop star admitted that he had turned to booze to help him cope with his low confidence, but is back on track now.

In an interview with The Sun, he spoke about being taunted about his appearance after some holiday snaps emerged online three years ago.

Union J
Jaymi, far left, on stage with the old Union J line-up (Yui Mok/PA)

Former X Factor star Jaymi said: "I remember getting back to the apartment, looking online and there was a picture of me in the sea.

"The headlines were 'Fat Jamie' and 'Beer Belly'. All of the other boys were ending up on these sites like, 'Fit Famous Males' and I was on 'Bros with Bellies'. It was awful.

"After that it affected the holiday. I wouldn't go to the beach, I wouldn't take my top off. That stemmed the last three years. I started not eating. I would never get changed in front of people."

Jaymi Hensley
Jaymi had a rough ride with fame (David Parry/PA)

He added: "I actually made myself not very well at all and that really affected my mental health.

"I lost a good two and a half to three stone since X Factor and became very skinny.

"I would binge eat. My biggest demon was food. I would get skinny so that I could eat again, then I wouldn't eat so I could get skinny again."

Jaymi Hensley
Jaymi has been seeking help (Ian West/PA)

The singer also spoke about his battle with drink during low periods.

He said: "I was able to go to these clubs that you couldn't ever get into in your wildest dreams before. You would go out with people you didn't really know and they didn't care if you got absolutely smashed.

"I would go out to three in the morning and get up at seven and go straight to work. I was making myself ill. I was doing everything I possibly could to numb it.

"We were socialising with people who were very famous and very powerful. You'd go in and there'd be free drinks on the tables, and by free drinks I mean ridiculous amounts of free alcohol."

Union J
The original Union J line-up - Josh Cuthbert, George Shelley, JJ Hamblett and Jaymi Hensley (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Jaymi admitted that Union J's record contract with Sony ending last year had not helped, with the band trying to hide the news.

He said: "That was my safety blanket. I did the midlife crisis thing. I would go out all the time, I would make sure I was seen at events wearing posh clothes to try and cling onto the fact that people need to see us.

"I didn't tell anybody and we didn't tell anybody as a band for a year."

Casey Johnson at his X Factor audition pre-Stereo Kicks (Syco/Thames TV)
Casey Johnson at his X Factor audition pre-Stereo Kicks (Syco/Thames TV)

The group, which includes Josh Cuthbert and JJ Hamblett, booted out fourth member George Shelley earlier this year citing his lack of commitment and have now replaced him with ex-Stereo Kicks singer Casey Johnson.

Jaymi said of getting his anxiety and depression diagnosis: "I went to the doctor and said, 'Look I don't know what's wrong with me at the minute, I've got no energy. I'm really not happy. What's the matter?'

"I did this questionnaire and I ticked every single box."