Matt, who rose to fame in the early 2000s with Busted bandmates James Bourne and Charlie Simpson, has been sober for more than five years. He is the subject of a new BBC One documentary titled Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction.
Portions of Fighting Addiction explore how Matt’s drug addiction, which was so severe that he was once ingesting six grams of cocaine a day, impacted his family. He and Emma, who wed in 2008, share three children: Isabelle, 14, Ace, 10, and Trixie, six.
Appearing in the documentary to tell the story of how addiction impacted their relationship and family life, an emotional Emma recalled nights in which she would drive to local pubs trying to find Matt after he did not return home.
BBC viewers were left stunned by Matt’s “brutal honesty” and openness about his addiction journey, but many turned their praise towards Emma for “standing by” her husband through the darkest of times.
“Matt Willis’ documentary was an emotional and hard watch, but what an incredible family unit he has in Emma,” wrote one Twitter user.
One fan added: “Emma Willis is a remarkable woman not many women would have stayed in her situation. And that diary she kept was heartbreaking,” pointing towards the log that Emma kept to track Matt’s substance use.
“Emma is one strong woman for having put up with all of it,” commented another.
In the documentary, Matt said that reflecting on how his addiction affected Emma left him “in pieces” at times.
He said: “She was so focused on keeping me clean that she neglected her care, and I did too.”
The TV presenter said that her anxiety spiked on occasion when living with Matt, adding that she had feared he might die. “It’s not easy,” she said. “It’s been incredibly heavy at the time.”
Emma said that she noticed Willis’s issues with alcohol and drugs before they got married in 2008, revealing that the musician was in rehab just five weeks before their wedding day.
Willis has been to rehab four times, telling cameras that he especially struggled with substance abuse when on tour. “The fun had gone for a long time,” he said.
Busted are due to go back on tour in September, but Willis said he is confident that he will remain clean on the road. “I’ve been really honest with the band and everyone knows what I’m dealing with. Everyone wants to help,” he said.
Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.
In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.