Robbie Williams ‘I think Gary Barlow still hurts from what I did to him’ | Music | Entertainment

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When the biggest boy band in the land announced they were splitting on February 13, 1996, the grief of their fans quickly became legendary. Helplines were even set up to deal with the ensuing devastation. Robbie had sensationally walked out five months earlier and Gary later admitted he had privately been rather relieved. As he has admitted in his current UK theatre tour, A Different Stage, he was also sure his former bandmate would sink without a trace. Instead, Robbie soon scored ever more impressive chart success and would publicly taunt and then later even embarrass Gary over the next few years.

Robbie achieved number two hits with his 1996 cover of George Michael’s Freedom, followed by 1997’s Old Before I Die. But it was Angels, the fourth single from his debut album Life Thru A Lens that transformed Robbie into a superstar while Gary’s own solo career eventually went into decline.

Robbie’s public taunts escalated while his depressed bandmate eventually battled eating disorders and addictions.

Looking back, decades later, Robbie told Dermot O’Leary on Reel Stories how much he now regrets his actions.

Gary said: “I think the thing is when I left Take That in 1995, it paid to be obnoxious. And I had beef with Gaz, but the levels I took it to were unnecessary and unkind.

“I can’t help but think that there might be a little bit of him that still has an “I hurt” from those moments.

“It might be imagined, it might be real, but I love him and I just want him to know that I am genuinely not that guy.”

It wasn’t until 2010 that years of public slurs and animosity were laid to rest, followed by a reunited Take That album and tour the following year. Gary described how it all came about and why it was important to him.

Gary said: “They were in LA and we all got together and I managed to get things off my chest and Gaz managed to get things off his chest and I managed to get rid of a huge rucksack of resentments that I had, that I had been carrying around that I didn’t need to carry around. I just thought, ‘we can do it…'”

Footage of their first meetings showed Gary asking: “I’m not in trouble?” and then Mark Owen giving him a hug and saying: “That’s why we’re all here, to deal with this sh**.”

Elton John is there too, adding: “Tears in my eyes to see all you guys together.”

In the new documentary, Gary says; “If there was a film from 2011 to 2022 it would be a love story to Gary Barlow. It vanquished a lot of demons for all of us this tour. We are linked universally and we will be for the rest of our lives.”

Robbie has a new album out, 25, lead by a new single Lost. But he says he actually feels like he finally knows where he is going.

He even pays tribute to the band one last time when he adds: “There’s been a lot of extraordinary moments throughout my life and my career and I get to have another chapter. But if it all ends today, I did it, didn’t I? We did it…

“I have a wonderful life and I’m immensely pleased that I get to do what I do. But I’m always thinking, ‘what’s next?’ I want more. I think I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I’m capable of doing… I have hopes and I have dreams and I’m looking forward to exploring what comes next.

“And there’s a lot to come next. I’m going places…”

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