Singer Cliff Richard suffered bouts of depression after being accused of sexual abuse.
The 76-year-old singer was subject to an almost two-year long investigation by South Yorkshire Police in 2014 when four men claimed that the star had assaulted them between 1958 and 1983.
The “Devil woman” hitmaker, who is now a free man, says that the process left him with anxiety and illness, and feels that he is “forever tainted”, reports theguardian.com.
The singer, who is suing the BBC and South Yorkshire police after a raid on his home was televised live, spoke at a private meeting as part of a campaign to guarantee anonymity for suspects accused of sex crimes.
“As you would expect, I had trouble carrying on with life as normal. The stress was physical and not just mental. Over the course of the 22 months of the investigation, I suffered from episodes of depression,” Richard said.
“As well as my faith, I am fortunate to have an incredible support network which, I have no doubt, I could not have done without.
“But I felt as though I was in a hole and I had no means of escape. It was the first thing that I thought of in the morning, and the last at night,” he added.
The “Summer holiday” star believes the way the investigation was handled will “forever” taint his reputation.
“Had I not been ‘named’ worldwide I feel I would still have been able to look people in the eye and not feel afraid that they might be thinking that there is ‘no smoke without fire’. Instead, I fear I will forever be tainted by the lurid and intrusive coverage I received,” he said.