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After years of substance abuse, Robbie Williams struggles to remember his own lyrics.

Robbie Williams relies on a teleprompter to remind him of the lyrics to his own songs.

Although audiences can sing along to songs like ‘Angels’ and ‘Let Me Entertain You’ without missing a beat, the 46-year-old singer relies on the help to get him through concerts due to his former drug use.

The 46-year-old, who is now sober, told The Sun on Sunday his mind is not what it used to be.

This is what your body is like after one year without alcohol. Post continues below.

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“Now if you were in a stadium full of people and you had done drugs in your life, your brain is not going to be working properly,” Williams told the publication.

“And the last thing you want to do when you are staring at 80,000 people is go, ‘Yep I do not remember these words’. That’s why I got an auto cue because I suffer with anxiety and it is a high-pressure scenario.”

Williams said he would be honest with his four children about his past involvement with drugs, with the hope of “terrifying” them with the truth so they would not make the same mistakes.

Williams has experienced addiction, as well as anxiety, depression and body image issues.

Robbie Williams in 2002. Image: Getty.
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During his years with boy band Take That, Williams battled alcohol and drug addiction.

In 2019, Williams spoke about how Elton John helped him get into rehab early in his solo career on The Jonathan Ross Show.

"He really tried to help. In the early days when I was first getting sober, there was a week until I had to go to rehab and I had two vocals to do on my first album, one of them was 'Angels' and one of them was 'Let Me Entertain You'.

"I was going to do these vocals then go to rehab. Elton invited me to his house to listen to the work that I'd done so far," he recalled.

"That morning I got in a black cab and I had this game that I used to play where I'd stop at every pub I saw and have half a pint. I'd had 10 half pints before I'd got to the studio.

"I ended up under the mixing desk, had a bit of red wine and then I knew I had to get to Elton's for three o'clock."

He turned up to Elton's house with wine stains down his shirt, and when Elton opened the door he told Williams he needed to get to rehab. He agreed, stayed the night at Elton's home and the next day was taken to rehab.

"Elton is the most loving, generous man you could imagine and he has helped so many people over the years," Williams said.

 

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Years later, now known as one of the most famous and bankable artists in British music, Williams became crippled with anxiety to the point where he was physically unable to leave the house.

He 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.

It all began in 2006, after his Australian Close Encounters solo tour.

"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," he told The Sun.

"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," he recalled.

"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 shared his mental health struggles in 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".

In a deeply personal part, he shared how he "took a bunch of pills" before his first date with his now-wife Ayda Field in 2006, and ended up in a Jacuzzi at a party, clucking like a chicken.

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field
Robbie Williams and Ayda Field. Image: Getty.
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Field stayed by his side for three weeks, and in 2007 they married.

Along with addiction and substance abuse, Williams has spoken candidly about his poor body image and a nocturnal sleep-related eating 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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Robbie credits The Killers' song 'Human' as his light-bulb moment, with lyrics "And sometimes I get nervous/When I see an open door". From then, and with lots of therapy, Williams turned a corner and returned 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 ar*e in gear, put an album together and tour'," he recalled.

"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*ck 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 said.

Now he's very much family man and an entertainer.

Williams was in Australia to perform at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2020 in Melbourne, just as the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.

After three weeks quarantined away from his family, he was reunited with his wife and children seven-year-old Theodora, five-year-old Charlton, 18-month-old Colette and two-month-old Beau last month.

Feature Image: Getty.


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