David Walliams has reportedly experienced “suicidal thoughts” since he was dropped from Britain’s Got Talent.
The comedian left the ITV show last year after he was recorded in 2020 making “disrespectful” remarks towards contestants on the series, for which he later apologised.
“These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry,” he said at the time.
Walliams is now suing producers Fremantle Media, and is reportedly seeking £6.1million of damages in lost earnings over the next few years, as well as an unspecified amount for psychiatric harm, distress and upset, and loss of control of private information and legal costs.
According to documents (via The Sun), Walliams has been experiencing “active suicidal thoughts” and has “lost the ability to be funny” for fear that what he says could be used against him.
The suit adds that he has had “a return of severe depression, including suicidal thoughts”, with his consultant psychiatrist Dr Mark Collins saying that Walliams’s depression was “possibly the worst since I first met him”.
He added that the leak “has had a profound, severe and, at times, very worrying effect on his mental health,” and that Walliams has “severe problems with his sleep” and “is plagued by uncontrollable negative thoughts”, including “active suicidal thoughts”.
Walliams alleges in the suit that Fremantle “recorded, transcribed and retained” private conversations over the course of a decade, claiming that other judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon were monitored in a similar way, accusing the producers of an unlawful data protection breach.
Responding to the suit, Fremantle said in a statement: “We had a long and productive relationship with David and so are surprised and saddened by this legal action.
“For our part, we remain available and open to dialogue to resolve this matter amicably. However, in the interim, we will examine the various allegations and are prepared to robustly defend ourselves if necessary.”
NME has reached out to Walliams’s representatives for comment.