Robbie Williams’ recent documentary “Robbie Williams” on Netflix has sparked curiosity among viewers, particularly regarding his feud with former bandmate Gary Barlow and the current state of their relationship. As many may recall, Robbie and Gary were both members of the immensely popular ’90s pop group, Take That, hailing from Manchester.
Robbie, being the youngest and most rebellious member, joined the band at the tender age of 16, while Gary, who was positioned as the group’s leader, was a few years older at 19. In the docu-series, Robbie reflects on his time in the band and reveals a sense of rivalry between himself and Gary.
During interviews for the show, Robbie candidly expressed his dislike for Gary, primarily because he believed Gary had everything and the successful career that he himself desired. Robbie admitted to feeling vengeful and wanting to make Gary pay for his perceived advantages.
Robbie said, “I disliked Gary the most because he was the one that was supposed to have the everything, and the career. I wanted to make him pay. I was vengeful.”
Despite Robbie’s departure from Take That after just five years, which left fans devastated, the band split the following year. Robbie embarked on his solo career in 1996, initially achieving moderate success with a few singles entering the charts. However, it was his collaboration with songwriter and producer Guy Chambers, along with the release of the hit song “Angels,” that truly propelled his music career to new heights.
In the documentary featuring one of Robbie’s earlier solo performances, archive footage captures him taunting the audience and directing his hostility towards Gary. He said,“I’m sorry that I treated Gary like that. You can understand why a younger me and a younger you would bump heads, I’d be like, ‘It’s my game’, and you’d be like, ‘No, it’s my game… it’s my ball’.”
Williams revealed that he did not seek Barlow’s input during any phase of the documentary’s creation. Williams clarified that he was not obligated to do so by law. Although the two had previously discussed the concept of a biopic, Williams admitted that their conversations on the topic were awkward. Robbie said, “Legally I didn’t have to. I’ve had to have chats there, yeah, and they are uncomfortable.”
Take That appeared to have a clear leader in Gary Barlow, with all attention and management focused on him. As a youth, I couldn’t help but feel envious and resentful towards him. Robbie said “And it seemed like there was one person being managed in Take That, and it was Gary Barlow. It was all geared around him and as a young person, I would’ve been jealous of that. I suppose a lot of me resented him.”
In 2006, Take That produced a documentary about their band, during which Robbie offered a brief and apology to Gary. However, Gary appeared to have little to add, stating that he had already expressed his thoughts on the matter in previous interviews. Gary said, “I think I’ve said it all in my interviews, yeah.”