Robbie Williams: It's Been 18 Years Since My Last Drink

By David Konow 12/19/17

“I’m addicted to an awful lot of things. I have to tend to that stuff and if I don’t tend to that stuff I get in trouble.”

Robbie Williams

British pop star Robbie Williams was a veteran of the boy band Take That, which had six number one singles and three number one albums before he launched a successful solo career in 1997 at the age of 21. But today Williams says getting sober is one of his greatest achievements.

As Williams told The Sun newspaper, “I haven’t had a drink for 18 years and I’m an alcoholic. I like booze. That’s the one that sort of stayed with me going to meetings, going to rehab, getting this information. It’s miraculous because I’m drawn to getting fucked up... whatever the level is. It’s like, ‘OK take this, do that, drink this and off we go.’ And for 18 years I’ve managed. Put 18 years’ worth of days together since my last drink. The truth is for most of my adult life I’ve mainly been sober.”

He also told The Sun, “I can be addicted to anything. At the moment I’m addicted to a game called ‘Gummy Blocks.’ I’m addicted to the internet, I’m addicted to an awful lot of things. I have to tend to that stuff and if I don’t tend to that stuff I get in trouble.”

In 2012, Williams told the Irish Examiner, “I regret the fact I was 19 when I realized I was out of control.” He wished his partying could have gone on longer before he cleaned up his act. “I regret the fact that I wasn’t 29 or 30 when it happened and I’d splodged my way around the world in some sort of alcoholic drug stupor. I spent most of my 20s sober.”

This isn’t to say that Williams didn’t indulge in hard drugs after giving up the sauce. He openly admitted to relapsing in his twenties and thirties before meeting Ayda Field, the woman who eventually became his wife and the mother of his children.

When a reporter for Independent asked when was the last time he had anything like cocaine or ecstasy, Williams responded, “There was a slight relapse but I won’t place the time in people’s heads. But it was over a decade ago.” (Williams also recalled reaching out to Elton John for help after going on a bender.)

He even confessed to being on mushrooms at Bono’s house a long time ago. “The great and good of the world were there and I just felt like a fish out of water. Primarily because I was on magic mushrooms! I am wandering around his house and I stop and I look, and I realize Bono has purchased the most beautiful painting that has ever existed... I said to him, ‘Bono, this is the most beautiful painting that I have ever, ever seen.’ And Bono said to me: ‘Robbie, that’s the window.’” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.