With a career that started out in gay clubs as part of '90s pop sensation Take That, rumours about Robbie Williams' sexuality felt almost inevitable. But in 2005, when British tabloid The People printed false rumours about the singer's sexuality, Williams decided to sue.
For some, going to such lengths to prove his heterosexuality felt like a slap in the face to his legions of gay fans. After all, why would you need to strenuously deny something you apparently don't have a problem with?
In this month's issue of Attitude, Robbie reveals exactly why he felt he had to take action against the claim, explaining that he had grown increasingly tired of lie under the glare of false tabloid headlines.
"There was sensationalism and untruths all the time and I felt really frustrated. So I concentrated on this book [Feel: Robbie Williams,
released in 2005] where I was 100% honest," he explains.
"So in the same week the book comes out, there's a guy that says I was in Manchester, I chatted him up, I took him out to the canal and I sucked his cock.
"Now the problem that I had with that at the time was that it was untrue - and I'd written this book where the truth is. And it hurt me and upset me.
He continues: "If there was a way to sue anybody in the press at the time for absolutely anything I would have and I did. Whether that was someone saying I was gay or someone saying I was sleeping with somebody that I didn't sleep with."
While he doesn't regret taking legal action against the claims, Robbie added that he was anxious that people would perceive the case as an insult to gay fans, and the wider community.
"I'm sad that people - and people will because they are people - would perceive that me suing the papers that week was anything other than to do with the fact that I could sue them," he says.
"Nothing to do with the gay stuff, just that they were lying."
Read our exclusive interview and naked shoot with Robbie and John Grant 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 newsstand.co.uk/attitude.
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