the things that make peo­ple do drugs and drink loads; those are the mo­ments that kill pop stars.”

Sam’s been off the booze for three months now (though he’s look­ing for­ward to get­ting back on the wine at Christ­mas). He con­fesses he “could go off the rails 100 per cent”, but for now has found con­tent­ment in friend­ships, a new re­la­tion­ship and new­found con­fi­dence in speak­ing about is­sues close to him.

He poured this feel­ing of be­long­ing and peace into ‘Palace’, his favourite track on ‘The Thrill Of It All’. “It’s a love song,” he ex­plains. “My heart is a palace and in every sin­gle door of the palace there’s a room that opens to a past lover, a ghost of my heart. It was about com­ing to terms with ev­ery­one I’ve ever loved and say­ing that real love – if that’s what we had – is never a waste of time.” Sam Smith, a man who’s de­clined to keep his heart un­der lock and key, seems stronger than ever.

What Sam loves to watch on the box Louis Th­er­oux

“I’m cur­rently watch­ing his doc­u­men­taries – they’re un­be­liev­able. I’m re­ally new to the whole Louis Th­er­oux thing. He’s fit. I re­ally fancy him.”

Ge­orge Michael: Free­dom

“It makes me so sad that he’s not here but it also makes me think of his mu­sic and what he’s left be­hind. It’s just in­cred­i­ble.”

WILL & Grace

“I’m f**king ob­sessed. I wanna meet all of them. I wanna be in an episode. That would be my dream. Please put this in the in­ter­view.”

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