Gary Barlow felt like a "loser" compared to Robbie Williams.

Gary Barlow

Gary Barlow

The Take That singer went into hiding as a result of depression when the band split up in 1996 after the 'Angels' hitmaker quit following a near drug overdose, and he has admitted, although he was the best song writer of the group, it was hard to watch Robbie go on to have such a successful solo career.

Speaking on 'Lorraine' on Monday (08.10.18), he said: "Nine years [I stopped singing]. Just turned my back on it. I was trying to kill off the popstar, that's what I was doing. I was eating away what a popstar looked like. I was just killing him off.

"But not singing, that was another nail in the coffin. I liked doing it, I liked getting rid. Stopped dying the hair, stopped buying nice clothes, just wanted to look the opposite, physically and mentally. In some ways it sort of needed to happen. I had that ridiculous 90s period where the ego was just getting bigger and you just think, 'There's only one way back from this and it was down.'

"It was completely out of control. I was the only one at that point who was actually writing songs. I love to write music, I just felt the pressure of it on my shoulders.

"When you've been big, the only other thing you can be is really not big... is to sort of lose everything. Simply because it was a really humiliating thing that happened. I'd been in this band, it all ends, you get dropped, one of your band members goes on to be stratospheric, you're just the loser.

"There's like a big 'L' wherever you look, all over your body, you're just a loser. I just didn't want to be me. I just hated myself at that point."

Robbie, 44, and Gary have always taken little swipes at one another, but the 47-year-old singer believes their relationship is better than ever nowadays.

Gary explained with a laugh: "We'd both say it's not a rivalry, but you know it is. I'm completely fine as long as I sell one more copy of my new album... I mean, no, honestly we're probably in the best place we've ever been. We talk a lot. We email a lot. I think those days are over, I really do."