AceShowbiz - Gareth Gates is battling speech problems again after becoming "complacent" in recent years. The 39-year-old singer has lived with a speech impediment since he was a child, but he made huge progress 20 years ago when he started working with the McGuire Programme, a course to help people with a stammer, and employing a coach to come on the road with him, but Gareth has since let his hard work slide and is now having troubles again.
He told the Guardian newspaper, "I'm not in the best place with my stammer. I became complacent after achieving a lot of success with my speech and it became harder and harder, and now I'm in a place where I have to kind of start again."
Gareth admits he faces a "constant battle" and struggles with tasks such as placing an order in a restaurant and dealing with strangers. He added, "Saying your name, for a stammerer, is always the hardest thing to say, because there's only one answer ... There's situations and challenges I avoid, and that's not good, but at times it's too much. That's something I have to work on."
The news comes after Gareth was forced to stand up to a group of bullying grannies while working on a cruise ship. The singer was onboard P+O's Arvia with his girlfriend Alanna Taylor when he realized the female travellers in the cabin next door, who were in their 60s, were poking fun at his speech impediment by singing the stuttering chorus of David Bowie's "Changes" at him.
In a post on Instagram, he explained, "Every time we've been out on our balcony ... it's been constant verbal abuse. They started by [singing] the song 'Changes' by David Bowie and it progressed on to 'G G G Gareth Gates'. It's gotten worse and worse. I'm more than used to this and can handle it and at first I was like 'Let's just leave it' but three days is relentless. It was three girls in that cabin, the same age as my mum."
Gareth went on to reveal the women stopped after they were confronted by Alanna over their behavior and the couple were then moved to a new cabin by P O bosses who gave the group a warning. He added, "I could hardly head round there myself as it was three women, so my other half said, 'Look, I've had enough of this' and went round and politely asked them to stop and it actually worked ... I'm the first person to take the Mick out of my speech but knowing the person that you're taking the Mick out of can hear, takes a completely different person."
"If you are those three women in cabin 8206 on my ship then shame on you, we've heard your conversations. You obviously have kids and grandkids so what kind of example are you letting to your children? Let's stand up to bullying," he added.