Entertainment Music Ed Sheeran Announces 'Honest' New Album, Reveals Wife Cherry Seaborn Had a Tumor During Pregnancy "I felt like I was drowning, head below the surface, looking up but not being able to break through for air," says Sheeran of his deep struggles with mental health during a life-changing year By Daniela Avila Daniela Avila Instagram Twitter Editorial Assistant, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 1, 2023 04:06 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Ed Sheeran is back with the latest installment of his mathematical albums. With - (pronounced Subtract), he'll cover a difficult period that spurred him to musically reflect on his "deepest, darkest thoughts," he announced Wednesday in a press release. "I had been working on Subtract for a decade, trying to sculpt the perfect acoustic album, writing and recording hundreds of songs with a clear vision of what I thought it should be. Then at the start of 2022, a series of events changed my life, my mental health, and ultimately the way I viewed music and art," he said. ANNIE LEIBOVITZ "Writing songs is my therapy. It helps me make sense of my feelings. I wrote without thought of what the songs would be, I just wrote whatever tumbled out. And in just over a week, I replaced a decade's worth of work with my deepest darkest thoughts. "Within the space of a month, my pregnant wife got told she had a tumour, with no route to treatment until after the birth," he continued of wife Cherry Seaborn, whom he welcomed a second daughter with in May of last year. JMEnternational/Getty "My best friend Jamal, a brother to me, died suddenly and I found myself standing in court defending my integrity and career as a songwriter. I was spiralling through fear, depression and anxiety," added the singer, 32, referencing a plagiarism lawsuit involving his song "Shape of You." "I felt like I was drowning, head below the surface, looking up but not being able to break through for air." Ed Sheeran Says 'Heavy Exercise' and Comfort Foods Are 'Great' for His Mental Health He added that this inspired him to put out an album that accurately represented what he was experiencing. "It's opening the trapdoor into my soul. For the first time I'm not trying to craft an album people will like, I'm merely putting something out that's honest and true to where I am in my adult life," he said. "This is last February's diary entry and my way of making sense of it. This is Subtract." ANNIE LEIBOVITZ The album is set for release on May 5 and is available to pre-order here. In January, the "Shivers" singer announced he was back on social media after a two-month break to focus on his personal life. "The reason I'm making this video is, just being totally honest, I've had some turbulent things going on in my personal life so I just didn't really feel like being online and pretending to be something I'm not, when I wasn't feeling like that," he said at the time. "And I know that sounds weird." He added that "things are looking up" and he's "back online." "Weird s--- is gonna start being posted," he joked. In October, he announced dates for the North American leg of his ongoing + - = ÷ x (pronounced "Mathematics") Tour, which will span stadium venues across the United States and Canada from May to September 2023.