Ed Sheeran: Taylor Swift and I ‘Take It a Bit Far’ Competitively Because We Weren’t Popular in School

Ed Sheeran Taylor Swift
Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift attend the 58th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 15, 2016, in Los Angeles. Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Thanks, haters! In a new interview with British GQ, Ed Sheeran credits high school classmates with helping him and BFF Taylor Swift succeed in the music world.

“There’s an underdog element to it,” explained the 25-year-old British crooner, who will release his third studio album, Divide, on March 3. “Taylor was never the popular kid in school. I was never the popular kid in school. Then you get to the point when you become the most popular kid in school — and we both take it a bit too far.”

In other words, the pair — who toured together in 2013 — aren’t done racking up multi-platinum albums, Grammy awards (they have 12 between them!) or hit singles. Sheeran recently released “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” while Swift, 27, partnered with Zayn Malik to create “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” for Fifty Shades Darker.

Ed Sheeran British GQ cover
Ed Sheeran on the cover of 'British GQ.'

“She wants to be the biggest female artist in the world and I want to be the biggest male artist in the world,” said Sheeran, who is dating high school pal Cherry Seaborn. “It also comes from always being told that you can’t do something and being like, ‘F–k you. I can.’”

Taylor Swift Ed Sheeran
Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran onstage during Taylor's 'RED' tour at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Sept. 21, 2013. Larry Busacca/TAS/Getty Images

The singer-songwriter has already identified his next challenge: besting 10-time Grammy winner Adele, whose latest record, 25, was one of the bestselling albums in the world and earned her five more Grammy nominations.

“Adele is the one person who’s sold more records than me in the past 10 years,” noted Sheeran. “She’s the only person I need to sell more records than. That’s a big f–king feat because her last album sold 20 million. But if I don’t set her as the benchmark then I’m selling myself short.” 

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!