Rylan Clark experienced ‘stroke-like’ symptoms in breakdown following divorce

Rylan Clark has opened up about losing his vision and experiencing stroke-like symptoms as he struggled with his mental health, following the breakdown of his marriage.

The TV personality was married to his ex-partner Dan Neal from 2015 until 2021 when the pair divorced. He has since been linked with TV judge Rob Rinder, but has denied the friendship has turned romantic.

Clark, 35, has previously been open about his mental health issues, including the pressure to have a “marble body”.

However, in a new interview, the former X Factor finalist, opened up about the frightening symptoms he went through as he experienced anxiety and depression.

“I lost my speech. I lost my vision for a little bit. It was like having a really bad stroke,” he told Jamie Laing on the Great Company podcast. “It was just so bizarre. And yeah, it took me months to go back to work.”

Clark, who said he would rarely take four hours off work, was forced to take four to five months off his professional commitments as he recovered.

The Eurovision commentator said he regretted stopping work following the fallout from his divorce, but had made peace with the fact that he had handled it “in a different way”

“I see it as like a self destruct button, something in my mind was going to f*** up your seemingly perfect life,” he continued.

Rylan split from his partner in 2021 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Rylan split from his partner in 2021 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

“F*** it up, press this button and blow it all up. And I went, ‘Yeah’. And what then unfolded was months of me thinking, ‘Why would I do that? Why would anyone want to blow up their perfect life?’”

Clark eventually made peace with the experience as he said “It was just understanding things, learning new things and just realising that I’m not f****** mad, basically.

“I thought I was crazy. I was living with my mum at the time because I didn’t want to be in my own house. I didn’t want to do nothing. I couldn’t be trusted to be perfectly honest. Yeah, it was bad. I just have to be honest.”

TV personality has been open about his mental health struggles (BBC Two/ Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour)
TV personality has been open about his mental health struggles (BBC Two/ Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour)

For others going through the same experience, Clark recommended reaching out for help sooner rather than later: “From someone who’s been through it. Hate to say bite the bullet, but it’s true,” he said.

“You do need time, time does help. You do need to slow down, you do need to spend a bit of time on your own to actually love yourself and things that, it’s important that self care is important.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you