Pete Doherty Addresses His Health in Latest Interview with Louis Theroux: “Death is Lurking”

Pete Doherty of The Libertines was the latest guest on Louis Theroux Interviews…, the BBC interview series with journalist Louis Theroux, and he got vulnerable, open, and honest about his health and sobriety during the hour.

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Doherty was known in the late 90s and 2000s for his hard-partying lifestyle, getting into crack, heroin, and heavy drinking early in his music career with The Libertines. He and Carl Barat formed the band in 1997, leading to a tumultuous relationship between the two which occasionally overruled the artistry in their work. Now 44, and clean from drugs since 2019, Doherty admitted to Theroux that he put his body through unimaginable stress over the years.

“You are looking at a very sick man,” Doherty said in response to Theroux asking after his health. “I’ve battered it, haven’t I, I’ve fucking caned it.”

[RELATED: The Libertines: “Anthems for Doomed Youth”]

He continued, “[The] heroin and the crack… I surrendered to that, and then it was cocaine and the smoking and the alcohol.” Doherty lives a much quieter life now with his wife and young daughter in a small coastal town in Normandy. But that doesn’t mean the struggles are over. “[N]ow it’s cheese and the saucisson, and the sugar in the tea,” he said.

“It’s all gotta go. They told me a little while ago if you don’t change your diet then you’re gonna have diabetes and cholesterol problems,” Doherty continued. “Death’s lurking, you know what I mean? That’s why I carry that stick.”

Theroux then asked for Doherty’s advice to anyone curious about trying drugs. “My life in using was so chaotic and the consequences of [it]… you’ll be in prison and you’ll fuck your body up, and you’ll be skint, and you’ll lose your family and you’ll lose everything you love,” he replied. “Is it really that good? That’s beyond curiosity, that’s a right mess.”

Of his sobriety, Doherty said, “At the moment I think I’m still reeling a bit – it’s almost like I’m still in shock from having got clean. Maybe in 10 years I’ll be able to talk with pride about being clean.”

The Libertines’ new album, All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade, is due out next March. Both Doherty and Barat have said the recording and writing process felt like a time where all four members of the band were connected, where “we were all actually in the same place, at the same speed,” Barat said in a press release.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

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