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Image / Living / Culture

Robbie Williams says he was once targeted by a hitman at the height of his fame


By Sarah Finnan
19th Apr 2022

Robbie Williams / Instagram

Robbie Williams says he was once targeted by a hitman at the height of his fame

The singer gave a very telling interview about how fame has affected him throughout his career.

Opening up about the outlandish story for the first time, the Take That singer told The Mirror that it was actually his “dodgy pals” who saved him. “I’ve never, ever said this, but I had a contract put on me to kill me. I’ve never said that publicly before. It went away. I have friends. That stuff is the unseen stuff that happens when you become famous.”

Robbie didn’t divulge any further details about the very scary experience, though he did go on to speak about how being in the public eye has affected him. Admitting that dealing with fame has been one of the most challenging aspects of his career, the singer said that it’s taken him the guts of 30 years to really come to terms with it. 

“At one point in my life, I was ridiculously famous. Michael Jackson-style famous. I became famous when I was 17, doing a boy band when I was 16. The boy band took off. When I was 21, I left and then had a solo career – sold 80 million albums, held the record for the most tickets sold in a day for a tour, and blah, blah, blah…

“Extreme fame and extreme success meets with anxiety and depression and mental illness. There’s a few levels of fame and what it does to you. The first one is ‘f*ck’. There’s a couple more I can’t remember but the fourth one is ­acceptance. You sort of rally against your privacy being taken away from you and you rally against it by trying to be normal, trying to be normal but also I’m gonna be small so people don’t beat you up. Like, ‘I’m a d*ckhead, don’t hurt me.’”

Pointing out that it takes time to get to that level of acceptance, Williams continued by saying that he wants to “go to all the normal places I can’t go because people want to kill me”. While being in the spotlight has enabled Robbie to live out his dream, such insatiable interest in his life has come with a price and despite being one of the world’s most charismatic performers, he’s much shyer offstage than you might expect. 

“I have anxiety and don’t like meeting strangers, but strangers want to meet me, and I feel really uncomfortable about it. Thinking about it actually gives me anxiety. It’s a trigger. Also, you’ve got to be the mayor of the best town people have ever visited, or else people go, ‘He’s one of those famous people that are a d*ck.’ Actually, I hate having my picture taken.”

Now happily settled in LA with his wife Ayda Field and their four children, Robbie said that he made the conscious decision not to push his music over in the US. Why? To allow him to live “a normal life in relative anonymity”. 

“I came to America to promote an album and I’m in Milwaukee and doing a radio station to eight people at seven o’clock in the morning and I already have millions in the bank and a huge following and I’m depressed and I’m anxious,” he said on the This Past Weekend podcast recently. “So, I’m going around America doing all this stuff and I’m going, ‘Hang on, all of this fame is making me anxious and depressed… Then I’m like, ‘Hang on, what am I doing here?’

“This realisation is happening as I’m travelling through America trying to break America,” he continued. “So, I moved there and turned everything down that I was offered in the States. Basically, what happens is I live in anonymity here and I really enjoy that, then I try to move back to my home country and remember that I have no anonymity there and that makes me feel anxious and depressed and then I move back to the States.”