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Before settling down with Ayda Field, Robbie Williams was known as Take That’s resident ‘bad boy’.
After quitting the band in 1995, Robbie soon went off the rails and spent time in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.
But meeting Ayda, 41, on a blind date in 2006 changed him. As Robbie, 46, puts it, ‘Ayda is my rock, she’s looked after me through thick and thin.’ The couple tied the knot in 2010 and are parents to Theodora, seven, Charlton, five, Colette, two, and seven-month-old Beau. We look at how Ayda tamed rebel Robbie…
Robbie has been a smoker for most of his adult life and has struggled with his weight. But with Ayda’s encouragement and support, he managed to get his health back in check.
He said of his lifestyle change, ‘There’s the relentless weight battle I’ve had forever, but the most recent thing that triggered this whole thing – I relapsed on smoking.’ He added, ‘The wife said, “You’ve got to give up smoking, January 1st.”
‘In May that sounded like a good deal and also I didn’t want to do the early death, then it got to November and Ayda was like, “Remember January 1st!” And my toes curled – but I thought, hang on, maybe I can view this differently.
‘Not only could I give up smoking, but I could be fit, healthy and have a clean head and clean vision of how I want my future, and I found that moment to be very powerful.’
Robbie – who is now a WW ambassador – added, ‘January came and the smoking stopped and I started boxing, but it wasn’t until April that I started to do it properly.
So instead of picking up Cadbury, I cut up a couple of oranges, put them in the fridge, had them cold and it satisfied my sweet tooth.’
Life or death
Robbie’s new lifestyle was desperately needed after years of abusing his body – and he is certain that if Ayda hadn’t supported him with his journey, he wouldn’t be here today.
‘Normally my history is being overweight and being dreadfully unhappy, then counteracting that with extreme measures and being depressed because there’s no nutrients in my body, which is why I started smoking,’ he admitted.
‘I basically lived on fresh air, broth and some mango. This thing with food can literally be a life or death thing. And it’s those things you trick yourself into doing that could end your life early. I knew I had to take action or I was going to die.
‘I seem to have found a middle way. This is the best I’ve been solidly for a long time.’
A rocky start
Ayda came into Robbie’s life when he was at rock bottom. The pair were introduced by a mutual friend in 2006 and their first date was at Robbie’s LA mansion. But before meeting his future wife, Robbie had vowed never to get married or have children. ‘I have a long history of mental illness with depression and agoraphobia, so having children would have been like passing me a human to hold when I was drowning. Why on earth would I want that?’ he said.
Ayda said about his home at the time, ‘The energy was weird, Rob was like a Dickensian pop star holed up in his mansion. The house was dark, it didn’t feel like a home. It was quite sad.’
They headed to a party and hit it off, although for the first three years of their relationship, Robbie ended it with Ayda three times. But it was bumping into Hollywood actor Cameron Diaz that made him realise he wanted Ayda back in his life for good.
He recalled, ‘I started talking about this person I’d just ended a relationship with and was listing all these things about her brilliance when Cameron said, “I don’t think it’s over.”
‘At that moment the universe spoke to me. I left and went straight to Ayda’s house and committed to her. I’m monogamous and I’m with the person I want to spend eternity with.’
Now that’s a love story!