Robbie Williams claims he nearly died of mercury poisoning due to fish-heavy diet

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field attend the Pride of Britain Awards
(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Robbie Williams has claimed he once had a narrow escape after his high fish diet gave him mercury poisoning.

The former TakeThat singer revealed that he only went to get tested because of his wife. Ayda Field, who married Robbie in 2010, inspired him to visit the doctors. In doing so, she could just have helped save her husband’s life.

How did Robbie Williams get mercury poisoning?

Whilst speaking to Radio X, Robbie opened up about his doctor’s appointment. “I was eating fish twice a day”, he revealed before claiming, “I’ve got the highest mercury poisoning (opens in new tab) the doctor has ever seen”. 

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In a humorous twist, Robbie even shared that the results gave him an unusual ego boost. The singer stated that after he’d heard the news he thought, “I've won!”. Cheerfully, he explained, “that's how my ego (opens in new tab) works! I've got the highest… did you say the highest? Thank you.” 

With such high mercury levels, Robbie said, “I literally won the mercury award!”

How did Robbie Williams’ wife help save him from mercury poisoning?

Whilst Robbie’s high mercury levels were definitely cause for concern, the singer has suggested that it’s all thanks to his wife (opens in new tab) that the poisoning was discovered. Playfully claiming that wife Ayda is “neurotic” and “gets all sorts of tests all the time”, Robbie explained that’s why he got his “mercury tested”. 

Expressing his relief at following his wife’s suggestion, he added: “thank God! I could've dropped dead of mercury and arsenic poisoning”. 

What is mercury poisoning and what causes it?

Mercury poisoning is the term given to a toxicity caused by consuming mercury. The most common source is when someone consumes too much methylmercury. This has been linked to eating large amounts of fish (opens in new tab) and shellfish.

Swordfish, Xiphias gladius. Azores, Portugal.

Fish and shellfish get mercury from the water they live in and larger fish are believed to have higher levels due to preying on other fish with mercury. Swordfish and tuna (opens in new tab) are amongst those with the highest mercury content. 

Symptoms of mercury poisoning include sickness and muscle weakness, nerve loss, trouble walking and issues with vision and coordination. 

How has Robbie changed his diet?

Singer Robbie went vegan in 2017 and it could be that this reported brush with death inspired this choice. During his interview, Robbie displayed his cheeky sense of humour once more, declaring: “I went plant-based the next day!'

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Robbie’s interview comes after he recently debuted the video for his new Christmas single, Can’t Stop Christmas (opens in new tab).

Making reference to the pandemic and many familiar figures, it remains to be seen whether Robbie might be able to claim the prestigious Christmas No1 spot this year. 

We can’t wait to find out! 

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.