‘I was watching him die’ Alan Carr opens up on how his husband Paul overcame a crippling alcohol addiction

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  • He’s known as the comical Chatty Man, having made us laugh on-screen since the early noughties.

    But for many years, behind closed doors, Alan Carr had to deal with his husband Paul Drayton’s alcoholism, which almost broke their relationship.

    The pair started dating back in 2006, with Paul proposing during a holiday to Indonesia in 2016. They tied the knot in 2018 – with 43-year-old Alan’s close pal, chart-topping singer Adele officiating.

    But, while Alan has described their wedding day as the best day of his life, it took a long time for the couple to get their happy ending.

    Downward spiral

    For the first time, Alan has now described the painful journey to get former party planner Paul to sobriety. Explaining how their ‘social drinking’ spiralled, Alan told the Daily Mail, ‘I mean, we drank drank. We’d wheel in the drinks globe after Chatty Man and finish whatever was in it. Our attitude was, “It’s a Monday. Let’s have a rosé”.’

    Realising Paul had a problem, Alan added, ‘It’s horrible when you realise how bad it’s got. You’re watching someone kill themselves.

    ‘I wanted to leave him. It’s the lies that get you – the, “Oh I’ll never drink again”. And then you go out, realise you’ve forgotten your car keys, go back and…[Paul would be drinking.]

    ‘I couldn’t cope, because when I left the house, I didn’t know if he was going to have a fall, or put something on the hob and fall asleep. He was grey and shuffling around. It was like watching someone die.’

    But Alan has previously admitted he feels partly to blame for Paul’s issues, because his career took him away on tour so much.

    He said, ‘He had a few issues with alcohol, and a lot of the time that was because I was away so much. I was out there working hard, earning the money, and I neglected my personal life, really, so I feel a little bit to blame for that.’

    Things came to a head in 2015 when, eventually, Alan took Paul to rehab. ‘That’s horrible, too,’ he said. ‘You get them there, and then have to leave them.’

    Rehab struggles

    But, while once he had been tempted to leave Paul, admitting, ‘I didn’t want to be with an alcoholic forever,’ leaving for good was never an option for Alan. ‘You can’t. Not when he’s the one you love,’ he said.

    Paul later admitted himself to rehab a second time, at which point it was Alan who turned to drink for comfort. He confessed, ‘I’d come home and end up having a bottle of wine because I couldn’t cope.

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    The first dance. @chattyman & Paul Drayton.

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    ‘I was drinking too much and I was losing my spark a bit. I started to become a bit flat. I put on loads of weight.

    ‘You start to understand that alcoholism isn’t really about drinking– it’s about control, habit, self-worth, depression, escape.’

    Going teetotal

    After a tough few years, Paul finally got sober – and Alan decided to join him in cutting out booze.

    ‘I want to be there for him because he’s the best thing that’s happened to me,’ he said at the time.

    He also joked, ‘He’s been sober for 161 days. I haven’t had a drink during this time either…or a smile.’

    But, in all seriousness, Alan says that Paul is doing better than ever now. ‘He’s doing great. He’s focused, he goes to the gym, he has a six-pack. He’s perfect,’ he smiles.