Robbie Williams is a British pop icon. From the heady days of performing in gay clubs as one fifth of Take That to 2003’s record-smashing concert at the Knebworth arena, and more recently packing out Wembley arena – almost 25 years into his career, might we add – there’s no question that Robbie’s hold on the nation’s hearts has grown and grown since he blasted into the spotlight in 1990.

Being the nation’s most recognisable pop star brings with it a certain level of privilege, but in his most revealing interview yet, Robbie opens up about the rough that comes with the smooth, as he discusses sex addiction, depression, and being too sensitive to be Robbie.

A self-confessed sex addict, Robbie talks about the struggles he’s faced. But while the misunderstood condition isn’t yet fully understood, he believes that there has been a “shift in consciousness.”

“Sex addiction does exist — it does. It totally does,” he told us. Depression was a taboo subject but it’s not demeaned any more. Slowly it is happening. People talking about sex addiction will become commonplace and normalised because it should be.”

For all the bravado, Robbie’s relationship with fame is surprisingly fraught. He revealed to us that the public’s reaction to 2006’s Rudebox led him to the realisation that perhaps his skin isn’t quite as thick as he thought: “I’m not prepared emotionally for the job that I do,” he explained. “Being so public and being so big, I don’t have the ability to protect myself from the words and the shame. It hurts.”

Read our exclusive interview and naked shoot with Robbie in full in the the December issue of Attitude, which is out now on digital (pocketmags.com/attitude) and in print in shops from Wednesday 9th November. Available internationally from www.newsstand.co.uk/attitude.

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