Ex-'EastEnders' star Paul Nicholls feared he would die amid recent drug relapse

·2-min read
Paul Nicholls has opened up on the relapse he suffered last year. (ITV)
Paul Nicholls has opened up on the relapse he suffered last year. (ITV)

Former EastEnders star Paul Nicholls has said he feared he would die amid a drug relapse last year. 

The actor, who played Joe Wicks in the soap, has now been clean for several months after his addiction peaked in 2020.

In a new interview with The Sun, he recalled the binges that led him down a "rabbit hole" where he ended up in flats with strangers while taking cocaine and opiates.

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“At certain points I’d be gone for three or four days and not sleep at all. I stopped caring, I pressed the ‘f*** it’ button," he explained. 

“The last time I ended up in a flat with people smoking stuff, doing this and doing that. They recognised me. I was looking around and I thought, ‘If I don’t stop, I will die’."

Watch: Paul Nicholls rescued in Thailand after fall

Nicholls added he still felt "so much shame" around his addiction. 

He also detailed several events that prompted him to turn to drugs in his recent relapse, including an incident in Thailand in 2017 where he was trapped under a waterfall for three nights after breaking his legs, which led to a six month hospitalisation. 

Nicholls went on to suffer a stroke in 2018, just as he'd returned to work in theatre. He underwent physiotherapy in order to get the right of his body mobile again after it was paralysed. 

Paul Nicholls, pictured here in 1997, played Joe Wicks on 'EastEnders'. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)
Paul Nicholls, pictured here in 1997, played Joe Wicks on 'EastEnders'. (Photo by Tim Roney/Getty Images)

“I just sank into a deep depression. I sank like a stone," he shared. "I did my physio. I went through the motions of life, but I was in bed most of the time. The whole of 2019 was basically a write-off.” 

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With help from friends he began attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings towards the end of 2020. He explained to the publication he hoped to get back to work after a year of sobriety. 

Nicholls appeared on EastEnders between 1996 and 1997 and has enjoyed roles in Channel 4 comedy-drama Ackley Bridge as well as Kay Mellor's In the Club in recent years.

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