Robbie Williams, the former member of UK hit-makers Take That, believes that the very act of participating in a girl or boy band for any length of time will cause its members mental health problems. In his upcoming four-part documentary series set to be released on Netflix in two weeks, Williams explores his rollercoaster journey of fame and outstanding commercial success, marked by bouts of depression and other illnesses.
Speaking to The Times newspaper, Williams claims that Take That, the UK’s biggest band, serves as a case study for the detrimental effects of joining a band at a young age and achieving unforeseen success. He highlights the struggles of his former bandmates, such as Gary Barlow who developed bulimia and agoraphobia, forgot how to write songs, and slept under his piano. Howard Donald contemplated suicide, Mark Owen ended up in rehab, and Jason Orange disappeared from the public eye. Williams himself has experienced his fair share of mental health issues. This, according to him, suggests that something solidifies and calcifies in those five years, which is the typical lifespan of a boy band, leading to mental illness.
Williams has been open about his mental health struggles for years and has recently received a full diagnosis, including dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD, neurodiversity, body dysmorphia, hypervigilance, HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). He humorously remarks, “I am collecting them all, like Scout badges.”
The documentary series will showcase footage from the 1990s when Williams first found fame with Take That and will continue into his successful solo career. The series will shed light on his panic attacks, including one that was caught on camera during a live performance. For Williams, mental health problems are almost a prerequisite for being creative. He firmly believes that nobody in the extreme fame game gets a free pass and comes out the other side well adjusted, happy, and mentally healthy.
The Robbie Williams documentary will be available for streaming on Netflix starting from November 8.
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