Paul Nicholls: Ex EastEnders actor feared ‘he’ll die’ after cocaine drug relapse

The star has now been clean for several months

Former EastEnders actor Paul Nicholls said he feared he would die amid a drug relapse last year.

The soap star, who played Joe Wicks on the BBC show, has now been clean for several months after his addiction peaked in 2020.

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‘If I don’t stop, I will die’

Nicholls revealed that he has been attending Narcotics Anonymous for the last few months to help stay clean (Dave Benett)

In an interview with The Sun, Nicholls recalled the drug binges that led him down a “rabbit hole” where he ended up in flats with strangers while taking cocaine and opiates.

At certain points I’d be gone for three or four days and not sleep at all. I stopped caring, I pressed the ‘f*** it’ button," he explained.

“The last time I ended up in a flat with people smoking stuff, doing this and doing that. They recognised me. I was looking around and I thought, ‘If I don’t stop, I will die’."

In the interview, Nicholls also detailed several events that prompted him to turn to drugs in his recent relapse. One incident took place in Thailand in 2017 where he was trapped under a waterfall for three nights after breaking his legs, leading to a six months hospital stay.

The actor, 42, also suffered a stroke in 2018, just after he returned to acting in the theatre. He underwent physiotherapy in order to get the right of his body mobile again after it was paralysed.

“I just sank into a deep depression. I sank like a stone," he told The Sun. "I did my physio. I went through the motions of life, but I was in bed most of the time. The whole of 2019 was basically a write-off.”

Nicholls revealed that he has been attending Narcotics Anonymous for the last few months to help stay clean.

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Who is Paul Nicholls?

Paul Nicholls is most known for his role as Joe Wicks in EastEnders. He joined the soap opera in 1996 at the age of 16, playing the son of character David Wicks.

His main storyline focussed on Joe’s battle with schizophrenia, which earned Nicholls critical acclaim for his portrayal.

He left a year later after revealing he was suffering with depression as well as drink and drug problems.

Nicholls has also appeared in The C Word with Sheridan Smith, BBC detective drama Death in Paradise and most recently Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge. He also starred in the second Bridget Jones Diary film in 2004.