Gary Barlow has opened up about his struggle with bulimia when his music career entered a rough patch following Take That's initial breakup.
The singer, 51, suggested his eating disorder was an act of self-harm, explaining that "being sick was a punishment for me".
Speaking to The Sunday Times' Magazine, Barlow – who tried to launch a career as a solo artist in 1997 after the group temporarily disbanded – recalled isolating himself at home in Cheshire.
He spent increasing amounts of time eating "beige food" and "wearing a succession of bigger and bigger dad cardigans".
Barlow said that whenever he ventured outside "someone would shout, 'Hey, isn’t Robbie [Williams] doing well!'" in reference to his former bandmate who was experiencing greater success at the time.
This manifested as bulimia, which according to the NHS is when people go through periods of eating lots of food before making themselves sick.
While eating disorders are most common in women, it is estimated that 25% of sufferers are male.
Barlow said: "Being sick was a punishment for me. I didn’t want to mend it. Bizarrely, I wasn't unhappy doing it. It was good that it hurt."
His eating disorder followed a period in which he was dropped by both his UK and US record labels, impacting on his mental wellbeing.
He said: "When that decline starts, the mind takes a big hit and starts to second-guess things you never even thought about in the past. When self-belief goes, it’s a slippery and steep slope."
However, Barlow's career took a positive turn once more with the successful reunion of Take That, and TV appearances – including as a judge on The X Factor.
He is married to Dawn, a dancer, and they share three children – a son Daniel, 22, and daughters Emily, 20, and Daisy, 13.
If you are worried that you, or a loved one, are suffering from an eating disorder like bulimia then information and support can be found at beateatingdisorders.org.uk.
Watch: Celebrities reveal their mental health struggles