Rylan Clark says he was ‘broken’ after devastating divorce: ‘I would pray I wouldn’t wake up’

Rylan has spoken openly about how he would "pray he wouldn't wake up" after his marriage ended. (Getty)

British TV presenter Rylan Clark has spoken candidly about the devastating impact divorce had on his mental health.

Warning: this article contains discussions of suicide.

Rylan shot to fame on ITV’s The X Factor in 2012, then charmed his way to winning Celebrity Big Brother the following year, before going on to become a  regular fixture on some of the biggest TV shows, from co-hosting the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals this year to holding a regular presenting spot on This Morning.

But despite his bubbly on-screen persona, Rylan has, he admits, struggled with his mental health in recent years, particularly following his split from husband-of-six-years, Dan Neal

The pair met on set during Neal’s stint on Big Brother in 2013, when Rylan was presenting Big Brother’s Bit on the Side. They were married in 2015, but announced in 2021 that they’d made the decision to split-up.

Last year, Rylan revealed in his memoir, Ten: The Decade That Changed My Future, that he had cheated on Neal, which contributed to the breakdown of their marriage.

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Rylan Clark-Neal and Dan Neal
Rylan (L) and Dan Neal divorced in 2021. (YouTube/ This Morning)

Speaking to a member of British boyband Busted, Matt Willis, on his On The Mend podcast, broadcaster said that the end of the marriage “had more of an impact [than he] ever would have thought” possible.

“I am so strong but I was broken, like to the point where I physically couldn’t dress, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do none of these things,” he revealed.

In a harrowing admission, Rylan explained that he tried to end his life on several occasions, but failed – a fact he is now “grateful” for. 

After splitting with Neal, Rylan took a few months off from his TV and radio work and moved in with his mother Linda, who he is sometimes seen sitting alongside him on Channel 4’s Gogglebox.

“I just remember going to sleep at night after doing nothing all day, living at my mum’s, frightened to leave the house, didn’t want anyone to see me, I think that’s the fame side of stuff… I would pray that I wouldn’t wake up because then it wouldn’t be my fault.

“I can’t remember what made me disappear, basically, from the person I knew, but the next thing I knew, I could not see, hear, eat, breathe, sleep, I couldn’t do anything,” he said.

“It was like I’d had a stroke and my mum thought I was having a stroke.”

Two years on from his mental-health crisis, Rylan appears to be on the road to recovery, telling Willis that he would “never let [himself] get like that again”.

In addition to his work on Eurovision earlier this year, Rylan has also been focusing on his series How To Be A Man, and the TV show, Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour, alongside gay TV judge Rob Rinder.

Suicide is preventable. Readers in the UK who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

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