Zoe Ball says her alcohol addiction was linked to being ‘quite shy’

Zoe Ball attending the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Zoe Ball attending the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 14, 2016. See PA Story SHOWBIZ Baftas. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Zoe Ball has said that her former struggles with alcohol addiction were connected to the fact that she is “quite shy”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the presenter said that she felt “a bit more at ease” when surrounded by musicians and other people she looked up to if she was drinking.

Ball added that she has previously sought treatment for her addiction in rehab.

She told Lauren Laverne: “It is kind of a strange thing when you face things in your life, you know like addictions, that often you will find that you will deal with it a little bit but then you will slip back into old ways.

The programme airs on Sunday (BBC Radio 4/Amanda Benson/PA)

“I’d sort of deal with one thing and then another thing would sort of affect me and it took me a couple of attempts to sort that out.

“It is weird because you do this job and you are talking and you are gregarious and all these things but I am actually quite shy.

“I think that was a little thing that you could walk into a room, if you had had a drink you could be in a room with full of musicians or you could be in a room full of people who were some of your heroes and you could feel like you could hold your own if you had some sort of prop or something that made you feel a bit more at ease.”

She said that she “started leaning on those things a little bit too much”, adding: “You lose sight of who you are and who you are without those things.”

In June 2018 the Radio 2 breakfast host announced that she was celebrating two years of sobriety.

Zoe Ball remembers her late boyfriend
Ball praised her former husband during the show (Yui Mok/PA)

Ball also praised her former husband and father to her two children Norman Cook, known by his stage name Fatboy Slim, during the programme, saying: “I have so much love for him.”

Describing her early encounters with the DJ, she said: “There was this bonkers, brilliant chap who played records and made people dance and he would like conduct the crowd and the audience and I just thought he was wild and free and great fun and it was sort of the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

She added: “When I first met Norm it took us a while to get to know each other.

“There was a little bit of wooing involved and the old way of wooing of course was the classic mixtape, and I made Norman a mixtape.

“Who makes a DJ a mixtape, what was I thinking?”

University honours DJ Fatboy Slim
Ball and Cook were married for 18 years (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The pair announced their separation after 18 years of marriage in September 2016.

Ball added that she found living in the public eye difficult while they were together.

She said: “It was really hard living your life through a lens at that point.

“Whichever way you went it was quite hard to escape.”

The presenter also spoke about the pressure of taking on the Radio 2 morning programme.

She said: “Following on from Terry [Wogan] and Chris [Evans], their shows were huge.”

Ball added that she is “still learning” about the presenting slot, adding: “Hopefully the figures will go up with time.”

Desert Island Discs airs on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds on Sunday at 11.15am.


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