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Does Sting Really Have Bipolar Disorder?

Gordon Sumner's Listing Bipolar Celebrities List May Be Wrong

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Updated October 12, 2012

Sting in 1984

Sting in 1984

Tim Roney / Getty Images
In a May 1996 interview with Live! Magazine, musician and actor Sting was quoted as saying, "Anyway, during that period with the Police, the most successful time of my life, I was suicidal. My first marriage and my relationship with the other members of the band was collapsing. I just felt adrift. I was manic-depressive and I just wasn't chemically balanced enough to enjoy it. I was out to lunch."

On the strength of this single off-the-cuff statement, Sting now appears on lists of bipolar celebrities all over the internet.

The musician and actor known as Sting was born Gordon Matthew Sumner on October 2, 1951 at Wallsend, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. His pianist mother introduced him to music, and in 1977 he and two others formed the Police. This successful band released several albums, but after a "triumphant" world tour, Sting decided to move on.

His solo albums, including Soul Cages and Ten Summoner's Tales, gave Sting continued success. His film career began in 1979 with Quadrophenia and includes several appearances as himself as well as what this writer considers a highlight-of-the-film performance as Feyd-Rautha in the legendary sci-fi extravaganza Dune (1984).

His 2005 autobiography, Broken Music, earned rave reviews from both critics and audience alike.

Was Sting seriously revealing a bipolar condition when he described himself as having been "manic-depressive"? Or was it a figure of speech? I couldn't find a single other statement where he said he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I wasn't able to find any accounts of obviously manic, hypomanic or depressive episodes, nor mentions of mood swings. In my opinion, Sting's presumed bipolarity is only a rumor.

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