Jelly Roll Opens up About His Mental Health, Struggles With Addiction in New Documentary

Jelly Roll is the subject of a new documentary, which follows the artist's rise to fame as a rapper-turned-country music superstar. Among the many topics covered in the ABC News special are the singer's mental health and struggles with addiction, which he freely opens up about. "I've been a drug addict, I've been a stealer," Jelly Roll, real name Jason Bradley DeFord, says in the doc, per Entertainment Tonight

He continues, "I'm really a street kid that didn't have any self-worth. I don't know if I thought I deserved a better life, but I was willing to do whatever it took to have one." Noting that his troubled youth eventually landed him behind bars, Jelly Rolls shares, "I came out of jail with a plan. I was gonna put every piece of energy I had into music. It's almost like something just clicked right then. I came home and jumped out of the window with no parachute." He later adds, "If I wasn't a musician, I'd be dead." Jelly Roll: Save Me debuts on Tuesday, May 30, on Hulu.

Back in 2022, Jelly Roll sat down with Taste of Country to discuss his life and career, eventually getting around to his song "She," which deals heavily with substance abuse. "I've had so much addiction around me and so many people around me lose their life or lose their families, or lose somebody they love over an addiction," he explained. "When I wrote 'She,' you gotta think 'She' is my mom. For me, 'She' is my child's mother. These are both people who have overcome addiction in my immediate life. So that's just the closest tentacles to me, but that stretches to uncles and nephews and nieces and beyond."

"That goes back to my pot rants I go on all the time," Jelly Roll continued. "I think we should take a lot of these prescriptions off the streets — fentanyl and heroin off the streets — and I think we should subdue it with CBD and THC and give people an alternative."

The "Need A Favor" singer then addressed his own alcohol use, saying, "The drinking thing, to me, it's a joke. I'm glad we get to dive deep about this. I do party and people who party with me know I really party. But people also know I'm a grown man who parties when it's time to celebrate. 

He added, "We make a big joke because when you do go out with me, it gets really dark, but I'm not going out every night. So it's cool to actually be able to talk about this on a real level and not in a funny way. I definitely enjoy a drink and a cocktail but right now I haven't drank in two weeks because it's been all focus for what I got going on in my life."