So much of Alexander Rybak’s music is joyful and upbeat, bringing good vibes and positivity to the people. But away from the spotlight, his personal life has not always been as easygoing and uplifting. Recently the singer revealed to Norwegian paper VG that he is recovering from long-term addiction to sleeping pills and antidepressants. The “Fairytale” singer said that he doesn’t want to pretend everything is alright when it’s not. Instead, he wants to embark on a new chapter in his life and potentially help those facing similar issues.

Revealing such a personal story isn’t easy. Mental health struggles frequently come with a stigma attached, which explains why so many people choose to hide their battles. That Alexander is willing to share his experiences is both courageous and admirable — especially for someone living in the public eye.

The singer-songwriter took to his social media and wrote that he had been addicted to sleeping pills and antidepressants for 11 years. He started receiving treatment in January of this year. He wrote:

“It started out harmless, but in the end it almost ruined my life. This January I started rehab (with good help from my doctors) and little by little I’m starting to feel like myself again.

During the past years the pills made me weak and scared. It affected not only my brain but also my muscles and stomach. It destroyed my relationships to people, but most importantly it almost destroyed my will to live.”

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I’ve been living with a secret. For 11 years I have been addicted to sleep medications and antidepressants. It started out harmless, but in the end it almost ruined my life. This January I started rehab (with good help from my doctors) and little by little I’m starting to feel like myself again. During the past years the pills made me weak and scared. It affected not only my brain but also my muscles and stomach. It destroyed my relationships to people, but most importantly it almost destroyed my will to live. I know there are many out there who are struggling with the same problems, so over the next weeks I will be sharing my experiences with you and if somebody can learn from them, it will make me feel better. * ? ???? ???? ??????. 11 ??? ? ??? ??????? ?? ??????????? ? ????????????????. ??????? ??? ???? ??????, ?? ? ????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ???????????.
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A post shared by ? ALEXANDER RYBAK ? (@rybakofficial) on

Overwhelming support for opening up about addiction

Alexander Rybak wants to raise awareness about the important issue of addiction.

“I know there are many out there who are struggling with the same problems, so over the next weeks I will be sharing my experiences with you and if somebody can learn from them, it will make me feel better.”

His social media posts resonated with his fans and followers. Many thanked the violinist and singer for his honesty and bravery. Some also shared their own mental health problems, along with their own learnings and tips.

Speaking to VG, Rybak said that he felt about “a 100 kilo lighter” after sharing his personal battle. He told Dagbladet that he could breath freely for the first time in a long while.

Norwegian Eurovision stars support Alexander Rybak

Norwegian Eurovision stars and showbiz icons quickly voiced their support, too.

Per Sundnes was one of first people to reply. He served as head of the Norwegian delegation at Eurovision 2009 and was one of Rybak’s first mentors.

Speaking to Dagbladet, Per said that society needs someone who’s as open as Rybak has been, as there are many people who struggle with similar problems, especially in his industry. Per added:

“He is a role model to many, and it’s nice that people understand that the life he has lived in the limelight is not always fair. The pressure he has lived under as a young boy was inhumane at times.”

Shortly after his statement, Rybak told VG that he started taking sleeping pills around the time of Eurovision in Moscow, when he was the odds-on favourite to win the contest.

Norwegian Eurovision veteran Elisabeth Andreassen worked extensively with Alexander as early as 2008. Upon hearing the news, she called him a role model, sending a warm hug and support.

Melodi Grand Prix 2020 stars Lisa Børud and Ulrikke Brandstorp sent Rybak support too. Lisa — who performed as a backing singer and dancer as part of Rybak’s act in Lisbon — acknowledged that she was pleased to hear that he had sought help.

Alexander Rybak releases “Give Me Rain” and “My Whole World”

A day after his message, Rybak released two new singles to spread his story to the world. Writing on Instagram, he explained that “Give Me Rain” is about healing his mind, while “My Whole World” told the story of healing his heart.

With “Give Me Rain” and “My Whole World”, Rybak brings two completely new faces to his already multi-faceted repertoire.

“Give Me Rain” is a contemporary pop song with clear dance and reggae influences. It oozes power and strength, telling the story of slowly overcoming a string of negative experiences, ranging from depression to dark hallucinations. As he sings: “Give me rain and I’ll dance/Let me fall and I will rise.”

“My Whole World” could have come from a Common Linnets album in terms of style and sound. It’s Rybak’s first real country track and discusses the heart-felt story of a break-up. Thematically, it follows on from Rybak’s earlier break-up songs, such as “I’m Still Here” and “Funny Little World”, with its strong focus on regretting the loss of a love interest.

We would like to wish Alexander Rybak strength during his recovery.

Read all our Norway news here

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CarlosM
CarlosM
1 month ago

I wish him luck! His 2009 entry was my first favorite ESC song ever (before I realized WATERLOO, ERES TU, and OOH AH, JUST A LITTLE BIT! were also ESC entries).

oscillate
oscillate
1 month ago

I wish him well. I can totally empathize with him. It was one of the worst periods of my life too.

Ermin
Ermin
1 month ago
Reply to  oscillate

Mikey Rourke said ,,I,ve been to hell, and I am not going back,,
Stay strong!

Una
Una
1 month ago

I wish Alexander all the best. On the flipside. it’s good that he spoke out about this. There is a lot of stigma for men in what regards mental health. Much more for men than for women. It’s just the way our patriarchical societies have been made across times. So I salute Alexander’s courage to speak out about his problems and I wish him the best from the bottom of my heart. And to all those who suffer in silence. Even small steps matter. Even small drops will eventually fill up the glass.

Ermin
Ermin
1 month ago

I had the same problem and the wake up call was a destroyed liver and 3 months in coma. Be healthy Alexander!

CRAIG
CRAIG
1 month ago

I empathise with his situation and wish him well. Many people take anti-depressants for years and even their whole adult life. I’m not sure this long term use is considered addiction.
But, regardless of those semantics, I’m pleased he’s getting the help he needs and hope to see that big, broad smile of his again soon.

Ana
Ana
1 month ago

I always felt that there is something very artificial and forced in his joyful behaviour. Like he’s playing a character instead of being authentic.

Kungfrederik90
Kungfrederik90
1 month ago

Even if we have different stories and backgrounds I can relate with addiction and depression (I’m bipolar) . All began when I was 17 years old and I am still facing the problem . I have been addicted to alcohol, sleeping pills, drugs and food. Our lives are rollercoasters and we have to learn to live with this neverending struggle.

Fionn
Fionn
1 month ago
Reply to  Kungfrederik90

Aww so sorry to hear that. Just know that everyone here in the Eurovision fan community is here to support u and get u through it xxx

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Kungfrederik90

We’ve all got your back

Erasmus
Erasmus
1 month ago

Well fame brings good and bad. I’m hope he will recover, he and his talent deserve it. Love his music, it’s always meaningful and never mainstream, which I love <3

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago

I’m glad he’s doing better. I’m sorry this has been connected to his Eurovision glory, and I hope it hasn’t sullied his memory of that great moment in his life. Good luck for the future.

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Me too. Poor guy.