Reverend Richard Coles opens up about late partner's alcoholism battle in new memoir

·2-min read

Reverend Richard Coles has lifted the lid on his late partner's battle with alcoholism in his new memoir.

The priest, musician, and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant lost his husband David in December 2019 when he was only 42 years old, and in his new autobiography, The Madness of Grief: A Memoir of Love and Loss, he reveals for the first time that David died from alcoholism.

Opening up about how difficult it was to see his partner turn to drink, Richard writes, "It was really, really tough to see somebody you love destroy himself. It is like someone is drowning and you throw them a lifebelt but they are just not taking the lifebelt.

"And I did try everything I could think of to help him stop drinking, and in fairness to him he did try too, but it was too much for him."

He goes on to explain how David used to be "really, really good fun" when he was drunk before the booze turned him into an "unbearable" person.

"When he was bad and being really obnoxious, that was really difficult because he was such a kind, gentle and thoughtful man," he shares.

Richard, who married David in a civil ceremony in 2010, originally wanted to keep the details of David's addiction and death private as he was "so much more than that", and admits that his husband would have hated his memoir because he was so secretive about his drinking problem.

"David would have hated this book. Hated it. I just decided, well, it can't hurt him now – and it might help other addicts' spouses who are going through similar things," he writes. "When David was at his worst it was so gruelling, so difficult for me as his husband, I felt like I was falling through space sometimes."

Richard got permission from David's family to write about his addiction as well as his subsequent hospitalisation.