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Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams

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Singer Robbie Williams got his start in the boy band Take That, before becoming a best-selling solo singer.

Who Is Robbie Williams?

Born in England on February 13, 1974, Robbie Williams began his career in the boy band Take That. In 1997, he went solo with his album Life Thru a Lens.

Early Life

Robbie Williams was born Robert Peter Williams on February 13, 1974, in Stoke-on-Trent, England. When he was 3 years old, his mother Janet divorced his father (entertainer Pete Conway). Growing up with his mother and stepsister, Sally, Williams rarely stayed out of trouble in school. He performed in local plays and spent school holidays with his father, watching him perform comedy acts. At 16, he was selling double glazing when his mother told him about an audition for a boy band. His rendition of Jason Donovan's "Nothing Can Divide Us" won him a spot alongside Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Jason Orange. The band was called Take That.

Professional Success

As a member of the boy band, Williams helped earn Take That six No. 1 singles and three No. 1 albums. But five years of living a squeaky-clean image turned out to be enough for the young singer, and at 21 he left the band. He kicked off his solo career by signing a contract with Chrysalis/EMI for over $1 million and singing a hit cover of George Michael's "Freedom."

His first solo album, Life Thru a Lens (1997) got a lukewarm reception from critics. But his single from it, "Angels," sold more than 800,000 copies and spent over three months in the top 10. Subsequent albums continued his winning streak: I've Been Expecting You (1998), Sing When You're Winning (2000), Swing When You're Winning (2001), Escapology (2002), Intensive Care (2005), Rudebox (2006), Reality Killed the Video Star (2009) and Take the Crown (2012). In the fall 2013, he released his sequel album Swing When You're Winning II, Swings Both Ways. He followed that in 2016 with the release of his eleventh studio album Heavy Entertainment Show.

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 09: Actress Irene Bedard attends the premiere of Vox Box Entertainment's "Ron and Laura Take Back America" at Sundance Cinema on March 9, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Irene Bedard

Joy Harjo, writer during 2005 Sundance Film Festival - "A Thousand Roads" Portraits at HP Portrait Studio in Park City, Utah, United States. (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)

Joy Harjo

In 2010, Williams reunited with Take That and recorded the highly successful album Progress. But less than a year later, reports emerged that he would be leaving the band again, leaving their concert tour in 2011. He has continued to tour in support of his latest albums.

Although the reunion was brief, he has said he'd be open to an official reunion in the future. Williams' success has made him the best-selling British solo artist in the United Kingdom, with over 70 million records sold worldwide. In 2004, he was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.

Personal Life

In 2010, Williams married actress Ayda Field. The couple met in 1997 after Williams' second stint in rehab, and have two children, Theodora (b. 2012) and Charlton (b. 2014). 

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