X Factor hopeful Anthony Russell fears he would have died if Louis Tomlinson had not intervened in his battle with addiction.
Russell, from Liverpool, made it as far as Judges’ Houses during last year’s X Factor, and was poised to make it to the live shows before quitting after admitting he was struggling with drink and drugs.
He returned this year and has made it through to the final stage. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Russell revealed Tomlinson contacted him last year and convinced him to go to rehab.
Russell, who describes the former One Direction star as his “guardian angel”, told the newspaper: “Louis is a godsend, I would be dead now if it was not for him. I think about it every day and pray for the kid every day, I owe him my life.”
At his worst stage, Russell said, he was drinking every day and got sacked from his job at Network Rail for turning up drunk.
As he prepares for the live shows, Russell said he hoped to make Tomlinson proud.
He said: “I’m always going to be a recovering addict. Since rehab Louis has called me. He proper cares. I need to make him proud.”
The X Factor live shows air from Saturday October 20 on ITV.