Martin Freeman quits being a vegetarian after nearly 40 years

Award-winning actor Martin Freeman has started eating meat again after 38 years (Picture: Getty)

Sherlock star Martin Freeman has revealed he has quit vegetarianism after almost 40 years.

The 52-year-old actor confirmed he had initially made the choice to turn veggie for ‘ethical reasons’ and first committed to a diet excluding meat in January 1986.

However, he recently incorporated meat back into his lifestyle to become ‘an omnivore’ after worries over the ‘processed’ nature of many vegetarian alternatives.

‘I was never comfortable with the idea of eating animals,’ he admitted, sharing that he was therefore tucking into his ‘first proper Bolognese’ in roughly 38 years.

Freeman and writer Tony Schumacher were being fed while appearing on the Dish podcast with Nick Grimshaw and Angela Hartnett to discuss series two of their hit BBC show The Responder.

Addressing the meat-free substitutes that were available, he explained that he had ‘always had veggie sort of replacements and stuff’.

The star explained the reason behind his decision was mainly to eliminate ‘very, very processed’ substitutes on offer (Picture: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

He was particularly excited to tuck into his first Bolognese in decades (Picture: Dish Podcast)

‘I think in the last several months – it’s really new, going back to being an omnivore, just sort of eating what I like.

‘It’s a funny one, because I like meat replacement things, but my reservation about them is that they can be very, very processed and I’m trying to eat less processed food.’

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Shumacher also joked that Freeman, who recently starred in controversial age-gap drama Miller’s Girl, had been especially excited to appear on the podcast because Hartnett would be cooking a spaghetti Bolognese for them.

The Black Panther star defended his eagerness by sharing he felt he’d missed out on ‘good, honest staple’ dishes such as Bolognese for ‘f**king decades’.

Dad-of-two Freeman, who shares his kids with ex-partner and former Strictly Come Dancing star Amanda Abbington, quipped that ‘it’s a free country’ as he shared that he was already tucking back into scotch eggs and pork pies.

Freeman has also been pescatarian in the past (Picture: Dish Podcast)

He revealed he had already started eating scotch eggs and pork pies again (Picture: Getty)

‘Scotch egg was one of the things, I thought, “It’s a free country, I can do what I like”, and also – do you know the other thing – a pork pie with the jelly and all that s**t.’

‘A bit of mustard on a pork pie – oh man. It’s food of the gods,’ the Marvel actor, who first found fame as Tim on The Office over 20 years ago, added.

He also claimed there could be ‘unnecessary hostility’ towards vegetarians as he shared that he was simply looking ‘for more balance in my diet’.

Freeman also shared that he hadn’t been converted by the popular belief that bacon sandwiches can ‘turn’ vegetarians back onto meat – although he did reveal that fish and chips had made him a pescetarian after ‘years and years’ as a ‘veggie veggie’.

After finding fame in The Office and going on to appear in Marvel films and The Hobbit, one of Freeman’s most popular roles remains Watson in Sherlock (pictured with co-star Benedict Cumberbatch) (Picture: Colin Hutton/BBC)

‘People would say, “Yeah, but don’t you just miss a bacon sandwich?” And I never did. I genuinely never did, until one day I was rehearsing a play in Birmingham. I was veggie, I was in my late twenties, and I found my feet taking me to a chippy. It was weird, and before I knew it, I was ordering a piece of cod. I was like, “What am I doing?” Taking it and going, “This is wrong”.

However, he said that he had always ‘liked the taste of meat and fish’ so his decision was more about where ‘his line’ was.

‘So my line shifted,’ he explained.

Freeman is an Emmy and Bafta winner whose varied career has also included The Hobbit trilogy, where he played Bilbo Baggins, Love Actually and Hot Fuzz.

A stand-out among his most memorable characters is also Dr John Watson in the BBC’s mega successful TV adaptation of Sherlock, which also starred Benedict Cumberbatch and ran from 2010 to 2017.

Dish from Waitrose is available on all podcast providers.

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