A new Netflix documentary explores the life of pop star Robbie Williams, told in his own words.


With never-before-seen personal archival footage, the docuseries aims to tell "the definitive story" of Robbie Williams's rise to fame and stardom.

The four-part series begins with a 16-year-old Robbie Williams who had freshly joined Take That, the band that would make a name for the singer, and ends with his reunion with the group and current life.

Williams speaks openly about why he left the band in the documentary, as well as his mental state at the time.

So why did Robbie Williams leave Take That? Read on for everything you need to know.

When did Robbie Williams leave Take That?

Robbie Williams rose to fame in 1990 when he joined Take That, at just 16 years old.

In the documentary Take That: For the Record, it is said Robbie's mother read an advert asking for members for a new boy band and suggested he tried out for the group.

Formed of Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Williams, Robbie was the youngest member of the group.

They were an instant hit, but five years later Robbie left the band. The following year it was announced the four remaining Take That members were also splitting up.

Why did Robbie Williams leave Take That?

Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams and Jason Orange of Take That gathered together in front of the Statue of Liberty
Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams and Jason Orange of Take That. DaveHogan/Getty Images

It has been widely reported that Robbie chose to leave the band due to his issues with addiction and alcoholism, and in the documentary series he opened up about why he left.

Speaking to the cameras, he said: "The sense that I wasn't ready or capable to fulfil the role that was being asked of me was palpable.
"One day I went in for rehearsals, and then at lunchtime they said, 'Rob, we need to have a band meeting.' I said to the boys I just couldn't be there anymore.

"Then they said, 'Look, we wanna see if we can do this tour as a four-piece. What do you think?'

"And in the end, 'What do you think?' was me deciding to leave Take That."

What has Robbie Williams said about Take That in the documentary?

While admitting it was "fun" to be in the boyband, the fame took its toll on Robbie.

In one moment of the documentary, Williams opens up about his treatment of fellow band member Gary Barlow.

He explained: "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."

Later in the episode, the documentary cuts to Williams watching a video of him performing on stage, to which he tells the crowd: "There's somebody booing me down here that actually likes Gary Barlow. He's not selling any more records now, girls! Let's face it, he's dead."

While lying next to his daughter, who often floats in and out of the documentary, Williams says: "I'm sorry that I treated Gary like that."

Read more:

When did Robbie Williams reunite with Take That?

In July 2010, Robbie Williams announced he was returning to Take That.

A joint statement from Williams and the band read: "The rumours are true... Take That, the original line-up, have written and recorded a new album for release later this year."

The band embarked on a huge stadium tour across the UK. Describing the tour in the documentary, Robbie said it felt like Britain was theirs.

Despite being welcome to return at any time, Robbie chose not to go back to the group for their seventh and eighth studio albums and subsequent tours, and instead focused on his solo work.

Robbie Williams is available to stream on Netflix now. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10 – subscribe now and celebrate the 60th anniversary of Doctor Who with a special issue of Radio Times. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.