Singer James Arthur has confronted his parents over the ‘trauma’ of being put into foster care aged 14, in a new documentary set to air on the BBC.
The 34-year-old explores his relationship with dad Neil and mum Shirley in the documentary called Out Of Our Minds. James’ mum split from Neil when their son was two and they both went on to remarry, following the separation his stepdad moved the family to Bahrain where James and his sister enjoyed an “amazing lifestyle”.
However, when they all returned to the UK, Shirley’s partner reportedly “disappeared” – leaving her to ‘look after four children’. James says he began spending less time at home and ended up wandering the streets before his parents were called to an emergency social worker meeting and admitted they couldn’t cope, reports The Mirror.
The Saltburn -raised singer says he was sent to live with a foster family for two years. In 2020, James suffered a ‘debilitating’ panic attack which caused him to cancel his European tour after ‘battling with his mental health for decades’.
He said: “At times, depression and anxiety overwhelm me. I’ve tried everything — antidepressants, therapy, exercise.
“But I decided that to tackle my mental health issues, I had to start by going back to my hometown to revisit my past and the separation from my parents.”
He continued: “I watched both my parents decide to say, ‘He can’t live with us’. I was a kid and actually I just needed somebody to put an arm around me. I’ll never forget that day.
“I remember that drive to the foster carer and how scary it was. I used to cry at night — it felt like the worst situation I could be in. I hadn’t even done anything really. I’d just been a little bit disruptive at school.”
Admitting he “resented” his parents, James claims he’s ‘carried that situation for the rest of his life’. However, in 2012, things began to look up, the star rang his mum and asked for £5 to pay for the electric — which she lent him on the condition that he went to The X Factor auditions taking place in Middlesbrough.
When he got through to the live shows, James’ parents supported him, with the singer telling the audience it was the first time the family had been together for 22 years. After winning the ITV talent contest, James’ debut single Impossible went straight to number one and became the fastest-selling winner’s track in the show’s history.
The documentary, James Arthur: Out Of Our Minds, airs on BBC Three at 9 pm on November 13.