Robbie Williams has revealed it was his penchant for drinking and drug-taking which led to him leaving Take That, after sternly being told that his actions were “not how you behave in a boy band”.
Talking in a new Netflix documentary set to air today, the 49-year-old candidly explained: “I was ingesting everything I could get my hands on: cocaine, drinking… I [was] literally drinking a bottle of vodka a night before going into rehearsals.”
Robbie continued that he was told he was “letting the side down” with his wild antics and was invited to meetings where he was urged to “behave”.
“I was told this is not how you behave in a boyband. The sense that I, essentially, I wasn’t ready or capable to fulfil the role that was being asked of me was palpable,” the Let Me Entertain You star mused.
Eventually, things came to a head during a band meeting, when he told the other four – Jason Orange, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Gary Barlow – that he “just couldn’t be there anymore”.
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The others told him they were keen to try touring “as a four-piece” instead and asked him what he thought – and Robbie, who’d apparently missed important rehearsals after prioritising partying, agreed he’d leave the group.
The then baby-faced star left in July 1995, devastating some hardcore fans, and went totally silent for a year before releasing a cover version of George Michael’s Freedom as his first ever solo song.
He started partying with Oasis, an era in his life which gave him the inspiration to write his own songs as the group he’d been in became a “painful distant memory”.
Robbie’s new comments in his eagerly awaited Netflix documentary are more candid than ever before, with the ITVX Take That documentary, 30 Years In The Making, covering the issue in much less detail earlier this year.
Howard had told the world that the group had been having communication issues.
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“To have someone close to you that you can speak to about your feelings, that’s one of the things we never ever did in the 90s, hence why Robbie left,” he stated.
“We never discussed what he was feeling before he left that room. We look back at that moment and think we wished we could have talked more.”
He added: “‘I wonder if it could have saved him leaving. It was a massive lease of life for me to get everyone back together again.”
When Robbie previously discussed the matter with Scott Mills on BBC Radio 2 for Life Thru A Lens, the star suggested that he was experiencing “a nervous breakdown” at the time.
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He has also discussed how he felt despised and “constantly unsafe” after becoming aware of an alleged plot to kill him – and once even found bullet holes in a window of his house.
Robbie now feels the time is right to tell his side of the story, having revealed at a launch party in London last night ahead of his new documentary that he felt he had “scores to settle”.
“For me just as an individual, it’s really, really important that I get to tell my story,” he voiced.
“So if you’re gonna judge me, judge me for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons!”
Robbie’s new self-titled Netflix documentary premieres today.
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