Belfast Telegraph

Tony Slattery thanks fans after opening up about substance abuse, mental health

The comedian was once well known for programmes such as Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Just A Minute and Have I Got News For You.

Tony Slattery (PA)
Tony Slattery (PA)

Comedian and actor Tony Slattery has thanked fans for their support after giving a revealing interview about struggling with substance abuse and bipolar disorder.

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 has disappeared from the spotlight in recent years.

He said on Twitter that he had amassed 2,000 new followers after the article in The Guardian, and also apologised to fans who thought he had died.

He tweeted: “Oh my god, I’ve jumped 2,000 followers in a day.

“Can I just say: thanks to everyone for your best wishes, I am trying to respond to everyone but it’s moving so fast that people’s tweets keep disappearing from my feed.

“Sorry if I missed you.

“Also sorry if you thought I died xx.”

Slattery also expressed surprise to have received so much support from fans and celebrities including Keeley Hawes, who tweeted: “Such a talented man – I wish him all the luck in the world and look forward to seeing more of him in the future. I hope he knows how loved he is x.”

“Flabbergasted,” said Slattery.

“Huge fan of Ms Hawes. What kind words.”

Slattery said in the interview that he had a breakdown in 1996 after a period when he had been working constantly, and drinking two bottles of vodka and using cocaine every day.

He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

“The manic part of me was not because of the drugs and alcohol. I think it was there already,” he said.

“But the drugs and alcohol certainly ignited it.”

He said he used to feel “a lot of rage”, which he attributed to “something that happened when I was very young”.

“Not to do with family. A priest. When I was about eight,” he said.

Slattery is now touring again and is hoping “to get back into the swing of things”.

“I had a very happy time until I went slightly barmy,” he said.

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