James Arthur (winner of "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012) and Hannah Barrett (a Top 10 contestant on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2013) have gone public about being marijuana users. Meanwhile, Arthur (who says he's been battling depression for years and he sometimes gets panic attacks) has also confessed that he contemplated suicide earlier this year after getting his heart broken in a failed romance.
In an interview published by the Daily Mirror on Oct. 25, 2013, Arthur (who is 25) said he's had problems coping with fame, and smoking pot helps him relax when he is feeling stressed out: “I wasn’t sure how to cope with the transition from being nobody, a person that didn’t contribute to society, to someone who had a purpose. I had come from nothing, living rough or staying in awful bedsits. Then suddenly everyone had an opinion about me and I was staying in nice hotels. I would read everything that was said about me, all the criticism about the way I looked. I had been meeting a lot of influential people in music and it was freaking me out a bit ...
"I’m not proud but it’s been a tough few months. If I had any vice it would be smoking weed. If I’m stressed out and I want to switch off than that’s what I do. I hate cocaine, MDMA, all that stuff. I’ve seen it bring demons out in people I love. It’s not for me, especially with my heart palpitations. If I did a line of coke I’d have a seizure."
Arthur has been telling the media that he is unattached but looking for a girlfriend who understands his work in the music industry. Although Arthur didn't go into details about the breakup (including naming the woman) that sent him on an emotional tailspin, he did say that the breakup led him to contemplate suicide: “One morning after I got back from New York, I wanted to fall flat on my face and never wake up. Everybody wanted something from me, and with my family, I’ve never been the person they look up to. Then I felt like I had to sort everything out for everyone.
"I thought about killing myself but I would never do it because my little sister looks up to me as an example. I know I have responsibilities now and I don’t want to let anyone down ... I have a habit of throwing money at things now. People say money can’t solve things, but it can solve everything.”
Arthur said that he is also coping with the death of his beloved grandmother Isobelle, who passed away during the week of Oct. 14, 2013. Arthur told the Daily Mirror: “She was head of the family. My mum went off the rails when we were younger and Nana was the rock. The last conversation I had with her I told her Cilla Black sent her love. Cilla is my nan’s idol, and I was on Jonathan Ross with her. So I told her that Cilla Black said ‘hello’ and I think it made her year. That was our last conversation. I think she was proud of me.”
Whether or not his emotional problems have caused Arthur to get into conflicts with other people, he has also been making news for insulting people on Twitter and in the media, and for feuding with "The X Factor" U.K. 2010 winner Matt Cardle. Arthur has also denied tabloid reports that he has paid for prostitutes and that he asked a 17-year-old fan to send him topless photos of herself. The females involved in these alleged incidents gave tabloid interviews saying that Arthur did do these things.
One person whom Arthur definitely has a good relationship with is his former "X Factor" mentor Nicole Scherzinger, who became a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2012. Arthur told the Daily Star that he still has a crush on Scherzinger, but he can't date her because he think she's out of his league: "I love Nicole. She's an incredible person and we are close friends. We chat to each other like we've known each other for years. I think that's because we are both a bit mad and are both tormented.
"We click. If she weren't a million miles out of my league and a Pussycat Doll I'd get down on one knee. I definitely don't think I'm good enough for Nicole Scherzinger, though. She's a goddess. We confide in each other as friends do. I listen to her advice on girls and I lend my opinion to what's going on in her life.
"She says I'm her only real, real friend in London and I feel the same way. I'd reciprocate that sentiment. I'm single but I do want a girlfriend. My life is so disjointed it would be nice to have one constant thing."
Arthur's self-titled debut album on Syco Music is due out in Europe on Nov. 4, 2013. His first single, a cover version of Shontelle's "Impossible," was an international smash hit, having reached the Top 5 in several countries, including being a No. 1 hit in the U.K., Ireland and Greece. Arthur's second single, "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You," isn't as big of a hit, but it still managed to debut at No. 2 in the U.K. this week.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror reported on Oct. 27, 2013, that "X Factor" contestant Barrett has a "hidden" Twitter account in which she posted this message: “I want to smoke a spliff & go to bed tbh. I’m so bored.”
According to the Mirror: "Hannah has confessed that she 'fell in with the wrong crowd at school and got into trouble regularly' but since reaching the live shows has denied ever taking drugs. However she referred to drug-taking on March 30, four months before she auditioned for The X Factor. She made the comments with her account @hannahlevine_ox, which was deleted shortly afterwards. We can also reveal that Hannah joined the pro-cannabis group, “Boys that think girls are vile because they smoke weed are t**ts”, through her personal Facebook account. The group, which currently has 88 members, is public and available to anyone with a Facebook account to join."
An X Factor spokesman told the Mirror: “'The X Factor' does not condone the use of drugs.”
Barrett has had no comment so far.
"The X Factor" has a policy in which contestants are not allowed to use illegal drugs while they are "X Factor" contestants. Any illegal drug use that happened prior to being an "X Factor" contestant is not automatic grounds for disqualification, especially if the allegation is hard to prove.
The revelation about Barrett comes just two months after the Mirror published "X Factor" U.K. contestant Tamera Foster's Twitter comments from 2012 and early 2013 in which she stated that she smoked marijuana, sometimes laced with PCP. Foster, who is 16, is also in the Top 10 of "X Factor" U.K. contestants in 2013. After the tabloid exposed these Twitter comments, which have since been deleted, Foster made a public apology and said that's she trying to avoid using illegal drugs.
In 2011, Frankie Cocozza was famously kicked off of "The X Factor" U.K. after he admitted that he used cocaine while he was an "X Factor" contestant. Cocozza, who was 18 at the time, had made it to seventh place on the show before he was disqualified. After his "X Factor" ouster, Cocozza appeared on a few other reality shows in the U.K. (including "Celebrity Big Brother," where he came in second place) and he released some music independently, but he has since faded back into obscurity.