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'My mind told me I shouldn’t go anywhere.' For 3 years, Robbie Williams didn't leave the house.

He was the wise-cracking, charismatic party boy of Take That who’d rarely be seen without an infectious cheeky grin on his face.

But for three years following the success of his solo career, Robbie Williams says he was bound to his sofa, crippled with anxiety to the point where he was physically unable to leave the house.

The popular British singer – now 45 and married to actress Ayda Field with three children – was diagnosed with agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder whereby its sufferers fear and avoid places or situations that might cause panic, in many cases rendering them house-bound.

How to talk to people with anxiety. Post continues after video.

Speaking to the The Sun, Robbie revealed that at his lowest point, he turned down a $26 million (AUD) offer to host American Idol because he simply could not face going out in public.

So how did the cherub faced boy band member fall so far from grace?

Take That, 1992. Image: Getty.
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It all began in 2006, after his Australian Close Encounters solo tour. He tells The Sun when he returned from the tour, he needed to find "equilibrium".

“My career had gone stratospheric and taken me to Mars, and I needed some time to get my equilibrium back and get myself back together,” Robbie said.

“It was my body and mind telling me I shouldn’t go anywhere, that I couldn’t do anything. It was telling me to just wait – so I literally just sat and waited.

“I was agoraphobic from around 2006 to 2009. Those years were just spent wearing a cashmere kaftan, eating Kettle Chips, growing a beard and staying in.”

In 2017, Robbie discussed his mental health struggles in the pages of his memoir, Reveal, sharing how he was once taking a cocktail of prescription and recreational drugs to try and overcome his anxiety.

It detailed how at different times from 2006 to 2009, he was taking morphine, Adderall (used to treat ADHD), Vicodin (painkillers) speed, Seroquel (used for treating schizophrenia) as well as cocaine, magic mushrooms and “a few more things”.

The book also delves into how he was struggling with drug addiction in the early stages of his relationship with now-wife Ayda Field, telling the story of the 2006 night they met.

Robbie Williams and Adya Field attending Princess Eugenie's wedding in October last year. Image: Getty.

An extract published in The Sun in 2017 revealed he "took a bunch of pills" before his first date with the Days of Our Lives actress and ended up in a Jacuzzi at a party, clucking like a chicken.

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"So I was in the Jacuzzi with a very, very hot girl in Hollywood doing a Hollywood thing, but then I got ill, started to cluck, had to leave, embarrassingly."

Ayda left the party with him and stayed by his side for three weeks, nursing him back to full health. As Robbie disclosed in the book, he was ‘taking so much speed’, all they could do was eat cake.

In 2007, he checked himself into rehab, and three years later, he and Ayda married.

 

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But not only is the singer's past riddled with drug addiction, he's also long battled poor body image, and was once diagnosed with an eating disorder.

Dubbed “Blobby” Williams by the British tabloids and “the fat dancer from Take That” by Oasis singer Noel Gallagher, Robbie has spoken candidly about his struggles maintaining a positive body image, admitting he has been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder.

“I have appalling self-image and remember going to see this therapist and telling him I was hugely overweight,” he told The Sun.

“He told me I was dysmorphic, and it explained a lot.

“I went away feeling amazing.”

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But before his therapy breakthrough, he was faced with another blow to his mental health.

In a since-removed video blog released in 2017, Robbie discussed that he had suffered from Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder; which causes sufferers to get out of bed and eat while in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness with no control over their actions.

Robbie Williams, 2002. Image: Getty.

A number of different things can trigger the disorder, including anxiety and substance abuse.

As reported by The Telegraph, Robbie had explained in the video: "I'm doing this very weird thing, and it's been for over a year now, where I night-eat. I am absolutely asleep and I get up, and I go and eat. I don't do it on purpose – I'm not aware I'm doing it – but it happens.”

But after years of battling what he calls his "demons", a song on the radio, of all things, is what pulled him out.

Robbie credits The Killers’ song 'Human' as his light-bulb moment. From the moment he heard the lyrics, its message resonated, and with extensive therapy he slowly made a return to public life.

After three years away from the spotlight, his return wasn't without his hiccups – a performance of his comeback single 'Bodies' on the UK version of The X Factor in October 2009 garnered cruel backlash, with commentators claiming he wasn't the superstar he used to be.

“I remember listening to that Killers song and something in that moment made me think, ‘I had better get my a**e in gear, put an album together and tour’,” he recalled.

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“There was no rhyme or reason why five minutes before that it hadn’t happened. But when I did come back, it felt so unnatural. It’s why that 'Bodies' performance was so bad – I didn’t know what the f**k I was doing, it didn’t seem natural to me any more.

“I had to relearn how to entertain. It wasn’t an easy process – it was like having a car crash and then learning how to walk again.”

However, he was soon invited on a reunion tour with Take That – a career move which was instrumental in pulling him out of his deeply anxious state, giving him a reason to face the public.

“If it wasn’t for Take That and rejoining them, I don’t know if I’d have come back at all,” he told The Sun.

Robbie – who has sold nearly 90 million albums and won a record 18 Brit awards throughout his career – credits counselling for his ability to bounce back.

Now, he's not only reached peak pop stardom again, but is an adoring and energetic father to his three children; 10-month-old Colette, four-year-old Charlton and six-year-old Theodora, who was a bridesmaid in Princess Eugenie's wedding to Jack Brooksbank last year.

Teddy Williams as a bridesmaid at the 2018 Royal Wedding. Image: Getty.

“Therapy should be mandatory. Everybody should be made to have it in the same way we are all made to do PE at school,” he said.

So what's next for Robbie Williams?

He is planning to renew his vows with Ayda next year, after proposing again on her birthday.

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