Robbie Williams started taking drugs to try and cope with the enormous fame he experienced as a member of Take That.

Robbie Williams with the original line-up of Take That

Robbie Williams with the original line-up of Take That

The 48-year-old singer - who was in the boy band with Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Howard Donald and Mark Owen - was thrust into the limelight when he was just 18 following their the release of their hit single 'It Only Takes A Minute' in 1992.

Robbie insists he is an "introvert" by nature and started drinking alcohol and using substances to try and live up to the reputation other people bestowed upon him.

Speaking on the 'Bought The T-Shirt' podcast, he said: "I took drugs to fill in the blanks.

"When fame came to me at a very early age, I was 16 when I joined Take That, it magnified all of the negative aspects of who I thought I was. Before that I was quite content but I was vulnerable and incredibly sensitive. I felt like I’d been born with an open wound. Then when I was thrown into this mosh pit of show business it magnified the negative aspects of my own self-doubt.

“I took drugs to become the person that the world was telling me I should be. When really I’m an introvert, and it’s OK to be an introvert.

“I’m an introvert with extrovert tendencies. I’m an extrovert for a living but I’m an introvert in real life.”

The 'Angels' hitmaker - who became one of the world’s biggest solo stars after quitting the band in 1995 - realised he was an "addict" when he was 19 after a heavy night out, but it took him a few years to get help.

Robbie - who has undergone stints in rehab to get him off booze, prescription pills and other substances - has now been sober for 20 years and he is very content in his life thanks to his wife Ayda Field and there four kids, Teddy, nine, Charlie, seven, Coco, three, and two-year-old Beau.

He said: “I’ve been sober for 20 years, I haven’t had a drink for 20 years. In that period there was a period of time for a year where I relapsed on a certain substance.

“When I was 19 something happened to me one evening where I woke up the next day and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m an alcoholic and I’m an addict.’ I didn’t do anything about it for another two to three years. I have mainly been a sober person for a majority of my life.

"Where I am now, as a 46 year old, is content. There’s no binge. The last bastion of negative addictions for me that I can’t cope with is food, and I’m getting that down, I’m managing that, I’m managing that addiction."