Louis Walsh has said false claims that he had sexually attacked a stranger in a night club have ruined his life. In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Louis confessed the being made "physically ill" by the allegations and suffering from panic attacks.
The Irish X Factor judge - the only remaining panelist from last year's series - was wrongly accused of groping a man's privates in a Dublin hotel back in April. Despite the alleged victim confessing to making up the claims, and currently on bail for making a false statement to the police, Louis says the claims hit him hard.
“I’ve changed forever. This has made me physically ill. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I’ve lost so much weight that my suits don’t even fit me anymore," he said today. “When I drift off [to sleep] I suddenly wake up in a blind panic. The panic attacks are awful. I have to calm myself down and say, ‘It’s over, I’m going to be OK’.”
Speaking about the day the claims first made the papers, when Louis was in London filming for Channel 4's Chatty Man, Louis said: “I locked myself in my hotel room in London. I wouldn’t speak to anyone… I was devastated. That night in the Kensington Hotel I did think about a way out. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever considered ending it. I was serious.
“Even today I’m still a shell of my former self. The pressures this business brings are immense. With good you get bad so I’m going to be suspicious of everyone I meet now.”
And the star even admitted that the incident made him think about quitting showbiz. “I thought ‘I just want to get out of this business, I want my life back,’” he said. “Nothing, nothing, nothing is worth what I went through. No job, no money, nothing.”
But the biggest problem for Louis was where the allegations were made. “I can’t believe it happened to me in Ireland, by Irish people. I wouldn’t expect it. I always felt safe here,” he told the tabloid today. “I’m questioning everything now. I think time will heal it all right but I’ll never be me, the old person that I was, ever again.
“I don’t know if I’ll quit Ireland. I like living here because I like the people here, but you never know what’s going to happen. I’ll be on my guard all the time.”
Fortunately Louis Walsh put on a brave face at auditions and was quickly back to his usual self.
The X Factor returns to TV next month.