One simple word in an Ed Sheeran song hinted at just how much the British musician’s life had changed.
Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest names in music, and he has been for going on a decade now. But while the British singer-songwriter has won multiple awards and collaborated with A-listers including Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, he largely keeps his personal life under wraps. That is, until now. Yet it still took the megastar months to confirm a much-talked-about rumor that had been swirling around his personal life. And the confession understandably broke the hearts of legions of his fans.
After all, the songwriter has the eyes of the world upon him – whether he likes it or not. So whenever the star does or says something new, the act seems to get heavily scrutinized. In October 2019, for example, Sheeran planned to update his Suffolk-based estate in the U.K., and his ideas were reportedly met with raised eyebrows. And unsurprisingly, the media has always loved it whenever Sheeran has been seen with a woman in tow. The singer rarely speaks up about his personal circumstances in public, though.
Yet the Brit does occasionally use his music to hint at things happening behind the scenes. For instance, in the song “Remember My Name,” with 50 Cent and Eminem, Sheeran observes “the lyrics in the songs might get twisted.” Is that a rebuke to the media for perhaps insinuating things that aren’t true? Or is he telling his fans not to take his songs so literally? Whatever the case, Sheeran did actually use the next line on the track to confirm news of a major life event.
This must feel like quite a turnaround for the young man, though. After all, Sheeran hasn’t actually been on the music scene for all that long. The musician in fact spent much of the ’00s as an unknown artist – opening for other bands and befriending various British musicians. But at the end of the decade, he found his fanbase growing thanks to YouTube and social media. And even music legend Elton John praised his work.
Then in 2010 Sheeran released three EPs: Loose Change, Ed Sheeran: Live at the Bedford and Songs I Wrote with Amy. The last of these is a compilation of songs about love that Sheeran had written with singer-songwriter Amy Wadge. Notably, Wadge would go on to play a pivotal role in Sheeran’s career – as she actually co-wrote the hit “Thinking Out Loud.”
Yet Sheeran’s big break really came along in 2011 with a different album. This was when the star released No. 5 Collaborations Project – and the EP shot to second place in the iTunes chart with little promotion. So Sheeran was suddenly massively popular. And when he performed free shows, thousands of people apparently turned up. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the singer lent his signature to a contract with Asylum Records later that year.
Thereafter, it seems that all of Sheeran’s songs went onto be hits. “The A Team,” “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” “Lego House,” and “Drunk” all reached the U.K. top ten, for instance. And gradually it became clear just how much of Sheeran’s personal life he poured into his songs. So if the pop star was in a relationship, it seemed that he really wanted to sing about it.
For example, Sheeran dated musician Nina Nesbitt for about a year beginning in 2012. Sheeran fans probably know, then, that Nesbitt is actually the subject of his song “Nina.” But the track was written after the pair broke up, in 2014. And therefore it can arguably be seen as a song about lost love, rather than a romantic ballad. “I put my job over everything except my family and friends/But you’ll be in between forever so I guess we’ll have to take a step back,” Sheeran sings.
To add to that, in June 2014 the musician discussed the details of the song with Spotify. “When you date someone, they kind of fall in between the family and friends and career, and you don’t really know whether they’re more important than the career or whether they’re more important than family – so this is a song about that,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, Nesbitt herself did not appear happy about the song. A month after Sheeran’s interview, after all, he was set to play at the British T in the Park festival in between sets from Biffy Clyro and Ellie Goulding. “I’ll probably not see him play. I’m going to see Biffy and Ellie. That’s it,” Nesbitt told the Daily Record at the time.
Nesbitt also claimed that she hadn’t been kept fully informed about the song named after her. “He warned me it was happening, but I didn’t know it was going on the album,” she told the Daily Record. And when asked why her latest album was called Peroxide, she may have been talking about Sheeran. “Peroxide is a strong word that sums up a love-hate relationship I’ve been in,” she responded.
Interestingly, Sheeran has actually been romantically linked to fellow T in the Park artist Ellie Goulding. The star attended the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards with Goulding, in fact, and the pair were spotted holding hands. Although when the tabloids got wind of it, Goulding tweeted out a denial. “I love that holding hands with my friends means we’re an item. In that case I am in many relationships,” she wrote.
But what exactly happened between Sheeran and Goulding is still a matter of debate. In September 2013, you see, Sheeran claimed that they actually had been in a relationship – seemingly contradicting Goulding. As he explained to radio station Click 98.9, “I mean, normal people don’t hold hands if they’re just friends. It was going on. And now it’s not.”
Rumors have even spread that Goulding had cheated on Sheeran with singer Niall Horan, formerly of One Direction. But Goulding, for her part, has always said nothing happened. “I did go on a few dates with Niall, but I was never in a relationship with Ed,” she told Elle UK in 2015. “I have absolutely no idea where that came from and why it was turned into such a big thing.”
But perhaps one of Sheeran’s songs does indicate that he, at least, believes Goulding had cheated on him. In 2014, you see, the star spoke to Billboard about his single “Don’t,” which is about an affair. “The story in ‘Don’t’ is 100 percent true. I could have gotten nastier. There was more s**t that I didn’t put in,” he explained.
But how to know the song is about Goulding? Well, fans have apparently pointed to some of the lyrics. “Me and her we make money the same way / Four cities, two planes, the same day,” Sheeran sings in the song, implying that the “her” is another musician. And then there’s the line, “She was only looking for a lover to burn.” And one of Goulding’s more famous songs is called “Burn.”
The musician also told Billboard about how he, like many artists, poured their personal life into their lyrics. He explained, “If you date a songwriter, be prepared to have songs written about you. If you do nice things, you’ll have nice songs. And if you do f**ked-up things, you’ll get a horrible song.”
Fortunately, Sheeran has seemingly been luckier in love since then. And some of it has been down to his longtime friend Taylor Swift. Swift might have actually matched Sheeran up with quite a few girls, in fact, going by the red-haired musician’s comments. “Taylor’s world is celebrity,” he told Rolling Stone in 2017. “I was this 22-year-old awkward British kid going on tour with the biggest artist in America, who has all these famous mates.”
And being in Swift’s inner circle apparently had other perks. “I would often find myself in situations just kind of waking up and looking over and being like, ‘How the f**k did that happen?’” he told Rolling Stone. But Sheeran was insistent that he had never dated Swift herself – even though TMZ once claimed he had.
Swift helped out for what would transpire to be one of the most important relationships of Sheeran’s life too. Yes, this was the singer’s relationship with risk consultant Cherry Seaborn – a woman he’d known since childhood. It seems that Sheeran reconnected with Seaborn at a Fourth of July party thrown by Swift.
To begin with, though, Sheeran kept his relationship with Seaborn very much on the down-low. But through his songs he spoke about how much he’d fallen in love with her. In fact, Seaborn inspired his track “Perfect,” he told Us Weekly in 2017. “I didn’t see her first reaction to the song because she lived in New York at the time. So I just emailed it to her, but she did really like it,” he said.
Touchingly, the songwriter also revealed in 2017 to People that his best buddy Swift even approved of Seaborn. “Her and Taylor have hung out without me quite a few times; I think they have gal chats,” Sheeran said of Seaborn. “I don’t know what they get up to, talking about cats or whatever.”
Then, in 2018, Sheeran announced that he and Seaborn had gotten engaged. In January he shared a snap of himself and Seaborn smooching and captioned it, “Got myself a fiancé just before new year. We are very happy and in love, and our cats are chuffed as well xx.” And as you would expect, congratulations poured in from Sheeran’s fans.
To add to that, his ex Nina Nesbitt even offered her congratulations when speaking to Bang Showbiz. By that point, you see, she too had moved onto another romance, with Mike Duce of Lower Than Atlantis. “I’m really happy for him, he deserves to be with somebody nice. We’ve kept in touch and are on really good terms. I wish him the best, and I’m proud of how well he has done,” she said.
But naturally the engagement begged the question of when the couple would make it official and tie the knot. And for a while Sheeran certainly kept quiet. At a Heart Live radio gig in November 2018, for instance, presenter Sian Welby pressed the musician on the matter. Welby even asked Sheeran whether he had already married Seaborn.
And the response, though vague, may have provided a glimpse of the future. Sheeran told Welby, “It’s not my life anymore, it’s hers, so I don’t like speaking too much on it. When it’s me I’m like, ‘Of course!’ But now there’s another human being in my life. If she wants to talk about it she can talk about it, but I want to respect her privacy.” And considering that Seaborn is not a celebrity herself, that seems fair.
However, taming the speculation would not last. In February 2019 British tabloid The Sun reported that the pair were, in fact, married. Yet despite the revelation, the paper’s story only relied on “a source close to the singer.” According to this alleged insider, “[Sheeran] got married a few days before Christmas. It was very quiet – just [Sheeran]’s oldest school pals, limited family and the priest.”
As the source supposedly went onto explain, the wedding was very small and private. “There were only 40 people – so no Taylor Swift, record company executives or any royals or pop star pals,” they reportedly said to The Sun. “[Sheeran] wanted no fuss, and he wanted it to be something entirely for them – just a tiny winter wedding.”
The newspaper also reported that Sheeran’s local council had refused him permission to build a private wedding chapel back in 2018. This, naturally, would allegedly have gone up on the site of his Suffolk mansion. However, The Sun wrote that “a spokeswoman for Ed Sheeran declined to comment on anything wedding-related.”
Then five months later, in July 2019, the musician appeared to confirm himself that a wedding had in fact happened. And he did it, of course, via his lyrics. Yes, on his track with 50 Cent and Eminem, “Remember the Name,” Sheeran referenced not a partner but a wife. At the beginning of the song, you see, Sheeran sings, “My wife wears red, but looks better without the lipstick.”
And if that weren’t confirmation enough, Sheeran re-confirmed it in an interview with Charlamagne Tha God on iHeartRadio. Yes, he revealed, “I knew that we’d be married by the point that the song came out.” He added, “I didn’t know how that would be construed, but obviously it’s already come out.”
And the musician kept spilling the beans. Indeed, he mentioned his marriage to Seaborn again while talking about the collaboration “I Don’t Care,” featuring Justin Bieber. “Bieber just got married. I’d just got married,” he told Charlamagne Tha God. “That song is about being at an industry event with the woman you love, or the person you love, and kind of being like, ‘F**k this, let’s just have fun ourselves.’”
To add to that, the song “I Don’t Care” also appears to be about Sheeran’s struggles with fame. “I’m at a party I don’t wanna be at/And I don’t ever wear a suit and tie, yeah,” go the first lines. He also sings of his significant other, “You know I love ya, did I ever tell ya?/You make it better like that.”
The singer has spoken before about how difficult he sometimes finds the spotlight, of course. He has even indicated that it has affected his friendships. “You just see people you’re close to seeing you as a cash machine rather than a mate, like if they hang around you they’ll get stuff from you,” Sheeran told The Guardian in 2017. In the same interview, he also mentioned having panic attacks and suffering from claustrophobia. But let’s get back to the wedding.
So according to the supposed source quoted by The Sun, Sheeran purposely ensured that his and Seaborn’s ceremony was private. “It’s amazing that he’s the biggest pop star in the world, but he was just able to quietly slide off and wed,” the source reportedly said. “Neither of them were that fussed about making a big deal about it. [Seaborn] just wanted to get it out of the way without any problems or intrusions.”
Yet the source apparently claimed that Sheeran and Seaborn would have another, bigger party to celebrate their marriage later on. “[Sheeran and Seaborn] are planning a festival-style party for a wider list to happen at the end of the summer,” they allegedly said. “That will be all singing and dancing, and they’ll be able to invite Taylor [Swift] and their record company colleagues and royal friends.”
Another British newspaper, the Daily Mirror, reportedly spoke to an anonymous source about what Sheeran and Seaborn’s wedding had been like too. This supposed insider also appeared to confirm the claim of their wedding having taken place in December. “[Sheeran] had managed to schedule a break in his world tour for December so that’s when they tied the knot,” they apparently said. “It was held at the church in Wingfield, and the reception was at the local pub.”
Touchingly, Sheeran revealed more information about his married life in his interview with Charlamagne Tha God. For example, the star said his new wife helps him navigate fame and cultivate healthy relationships. “I’ve made it like my friends can just come here now rather than me going out,” he said, referring to his home. “Cherry’s always trying to get me to go out more and more.”
And the singer emphasized how being married to Seaborn has improved his outlook on life. “Constantly I wake up every day with Cherry and I’m like, ‘Why the f**k are you with me? You could literally be with whoever you wanted and you chose me… All of the things that I think are wrong with me and you still want to be with me.’ I find that amazing,” he said.
In fact, marrying Seaborn seems to have changed everything for Sheeran – including his career. “I’m starting a life with Cherry. I can’t spend the next 20 years on the road,” he said. “Kids would be the different thing. I wouldn’t mind sacrificing for them.” So maybe fatherhood is the next big thing for the singer.