The Busted musician has three children with his wife, presenter Emma: Isabelle, 13, Ace, 11, and Trixie, six.
Appearing on Giovanna Fletcher’s Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast, Willis opened up about hitting “rock bottom” on his wife’s birthday, just months after his first daughter was born.
“When Isabelle was born, I stayed clean for a while and then I relapsed again when she was about six months old,” he said, explaining that he’d been filming a TV show at the time.
“It was the wrap party and someone handed me a glass of champagne and I was off to the races that night. I turned up at [Emma’s] parents’ house at four in the morning off my head. It was the worst.
“But then the next morning, I walked down and I knew what I’d done. Then Emma told me that I’d missed Isabelle crawling for the first time,” Willis said, with an audible lump in his throat.
“She’d kind of bum shuffled and stuff but she never crawled and she crawled that night and I was in a pub in Watford with strangers… I missed that, you know, and it dawned on me that I was going to be a terrible father.”
Willis said that in that moment, “it hit me like a ton of bricks” as he “saw everything, that cycle of s*** repeating”.
“Everyone talks about rock bottoms and things and I’ve always been scared of those words because people die at rock bottoms… They’re a scary thing to define,” he said.
“That, for me, was the turning point. I ran out of the house, I walked down the road to this pub and I didn’t go in. I had some gear in my pocket which I chucked in the bin. I bought a Lucozade and I walked back to the house and I got on my knees and I apologised and I said I was so sorry and I was going to change and I really meant it.
“For the first time, I really meant it. I’d said it a thousand times, but that moment, it wasn’t so much about stopping drinks and drugs. It was about being a terrible father and losing everything and them having to live with that. It became about something else.
If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction, you can confidentially call the national alcohol helpline Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or visit the NHS website here for information about the programmes available to you.
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.