He's sold 75 million records worldwide and has an estimated £73million in the bank, and today The Weeknd will solidify his status as one of the world's biggest stars by performing the coveted Super Bowl half time slot. It has been a stratospheric rise for The Weeknd - real name Abel Tesfaye - who quit school at 17, left home and spent his teenage years partying, shoplifting and using the money to buy drugs.
The 30-year-old Canadian once told the Guardian how he took everything from ketamine and cocaine through to MDMA, mushrooms and cough syrup. Living in a drab but since gentrified part of Toronto with a friend and no parents to lay down the law, the star described those bacchanalian years of staying up for days on end as a 'dark hole'.
“I could have ruined my whole life by dropping out of school. The consequences might have been horrible," he told the Guardian.
Desperate to make money, Abel took a job folding clothes in American Apparel and started writing music for other people. He released his own material online but with a severe lack of confidence, he kept himself anonymous, instead overlaying his tracks with pictures of scantily clad women.
“I was everything an R&B singer wasn’t,” he told Rolling Stone.
“I wasn’t in shape. I wasn’t a pretty boy. I was awkward as f**k. I didn’t like the way I looked in pictures - when I saw myself on a digital camera, I was like, ‘Eesh. '"
And as his star started to rise, he refused to do interviews, fearing he wasn't smart enough. He turned to crosswords to improve his vocabulary. But in the studio, he turned to drugs.
Of his 'hazy years' of 'heavy' drug use between 2008 and 2010, he told the Guardian: "I never needed detox or anything. But I was addicted in the sense of ‘F**k, I don't want to spend this day without getting high.
"When I had nothing to do but make music, it was very heavy. Drugs were a crutch for me. There were songs on my first record that were seven minutes long, rambling - whatever thoughts I was having when I was under the influence at the time. I can't see myself doing that now. You have writer's block. And sometimes you're like, I can't do this sober."
His 2015 track, Can't Feel My Face, is widely believed to be about cocaine, and on his song, Reminder, he sang about winning an award on a children's TV show by "Talking about a face numbing off a bag of blow."
His on-off girlfriend Bella Hadid's step-dad David Foster even waded in, telling TMZ.com: "I know what it's about but I still love it."
However, last year the Blinding Lights singer said that nowadays he spends large chunks of time being sober.
Asked if he still takes drugs by CR magazine in 2020, he said: "I have an off-and-on relationship with it. It doesn't consume my life but occasionally helps me open up my mind, especially when I'm creating, but when I perform I'm completely sober and try not to even drink."