"By the time he entered rehab in 2007, Robbie admitted he was smoking 60 cigarettes and day and downing up to 36 shots of espresso coffee."
ROBBIE WILLIAMS TELLS HOW ADDICTION NEARLY KILLED HIM
ABOVE: Robbie says "Death came knocking at my door"
25th September 2009
By Tom Savage
ROBBIE Williams was nearly killed by his addiction to prescription drugs, he revealed yesterday.
The troubled singer told shocked fans that death “came knocking” before he checked into rehab.
He was so hooked on painkillers and anti-depressants that he realised he had to quit – or die.
So Robbie, whose hits include Old Before I Die, checked into Meadows rehab centre in Arizona on his 33rd birthday after years of taking medicines for pain and depression.
He said he used them to help him beat previous addictions to booze and cocaine. At one time he was spending £1,700 a day on coke.
But the prescription drugs proved as dangerous for him as the illegal ones, and his spiralling addictions to them, along with other highs such as caffeine and cigarettes, gave him a near-death experience.
“It was damn serious,” he said. “Robbie Williams does not go into rehab just if his life gets a bit out of control. Death had to knock on my door to help me with my decision.”
Robbie’s descent into addiction began during his wild days in Take That, when he began boozing heavily and hoovering up cocaine after joining the band as a 15-year-old in 1989.
Kevin Kinsella, who managed him just after he left the band, said: “Drugs came very close to destroying the Robbie we all know and love.
“And there were three occasions when he nearly died. He was so out of it.
“At the height of his drug-taking he was doing an ounce of coke a day. That’s no exaggeration.
“He was totally out of control. Robbie would have snorted the white lines off the M1.”
He got “clean” after joining Alcoholics Anonymous – but only with the help of mood-enhancing pills such as Effexor, which is similar to Prozac.
And by 2003 that had left him “physically and mentally ill”, he revealed.
By the time he entered rehab in 2007, Robbie admitted he was smoking 60 cigarettes and day and downing up to 36 shots of espresso coffee.
He spent 21 days in the Meadows centre, where other patients have included wild rocker Pete Doherty, 30, and football legend Paul Gascoigne, 42, but checked out before the recommended 28-day minimum stay was up.
But he was confident he would recover because he fell straight into the arms of Will And Grace star Ayda Field.
He credits the 29-year-old beauty with changing his life for the better, although he still lives with the constant fear of a relapse.
“I’m aware I have a self-destructive character,” he said. “But does this hold me back from being happy? No.”
In the amazing interview for German magazine Stern, he told how he was introduced to Ayda by a mutual friend.
“He said: ‘Robbie, I know a woman who would be perfect for you.’ He was right,” said the star.
“She didn’t try to change me and, just like that, she changed me for the better. I am a very happy man at the moment.
I'm now in love with someone who returns this love as strongly as I love her. I’ve never experienced that before.
“That’s what makes me so careful in this relationship, because I don’t want to hurt Ayda.”
Robbie – who recently moved back to the UK with Ayda after spending much of the past decade living in Los Angeles – will make his first British live performance in three years when he appears on The X Factor next month.
The star is due to perform new single Bodies on the first live show of the ITV1 series on October 10.