The 47-year-old was told someone had paid for him to be assassinated, but with the help of “friends”, he was able to cancel the contract. He says such threats are the dark side of fame.
When appearing as a guest on This Past Weekend podcast, he said: “I’ve never, ever said this but I had a contract put on me to kill me. I’ve never said that publicly before.
“It went away. I have friends. That stuff is the unseen stuff that happens when you become famous.”
The former Take That member – who clocked up seven No1 solo albums from 1997 to 2006 – said he has only come to terms with fame in the last few years.
“At one point in my life I was ridiculously famous, Michael Jackson-style famous. I became famous when I was 17, doing a boy band when I was 16, the boy band took off.
“When I was 21 I left and then I had a solo career, sold 80 million albums, held the record for the most tickets sold in a day for a tour and blah, blah, blah. Extreme fame and extreme success meets with anxiety and depression and mental illness.
“I have anxiety and don’t like meeting strangers, but strangers want to meet me, and I feel really uncomfortable.
“Thinking about it actually gives me anxiety. It’s a trigger. Also, you’ve got to be the mayor of the best town people have ever visited, or else people go, ‘He’s one of those famous people that are a d***.'”
Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, Robbie left the UK for Los Angeles in 2004 to escape the limelight. He has a Beverly Hills mansion in 30 acres with wife Ayda Field, daughters Teddy and Colette, and sons Charlton and Beau.
Living in the US allows him to maintain more anonymity.
He said: “I came to America to promote an album and I’m over promoting this album and I’m in Milwaukee and I’m doing a radio station to eight people at seven o’clock in the morning and I already have millions in the bank and a huge following and I’m depressed and I’m anxious. So I’m going around America doing all this stuff and I’m going, ‘Hang on, all of this fame is making me anxious and depressed.
“‘What am I doing here? Why am I trying to break this? Why don’t I go and live there and live in anonymity and then have a nice life?’
“The grown-up driving the car made a decision to not promote in America, not do anything. So I moved there and turned everything down.
“I live in anonymity here and really enjoy that, then I try to move back to my home country and remember that I have no anonymity there and that makes me feel anxious and depressed and then I move back to the States.”