Barlow reveals bout of depression
Gary Barlow has revealed he suffered a lengthy bout of depression following Take That's split, during which he refused to sing and disguised himself to avoid being recognised.
The X Factor judge describes a period of three years after the boy band's break-up when he was "embarrassed" to be himself and tormented by the failure of his own solo career.
In an interview with Observer Magazine, the award-winning singer-songwriter said: "I was living in Cheshire at the time, going to London and back on the train. I used to heavily disguise myself, with a hat and everything. I was overweight, I wasn't feeling great. I was embarrassed to be me, to have people recognise me."
Barlow said he became so full of self-loathing that he began to over-eat, piling on five stone.
He also refused to pose for any photographs - even at his own children's christenings.
He continued: "It wasn't not being famous any more, or even not being a recording artist. It was having nobody who needed me, no phones ringing, nothing to do.
"It was all a bit of a torment. I had this beautiful white piano, my lucky piano. Every hit I'd had I'd written on this piano. Within six months of this not happening any more, this piano drove me mad.
"To the point where I spent days just looking at it, lying underneath it, lying on top of it, rubbing my face on it, going slowly insane, trying to work out why this thing wasn't delivering to me like it used to."
Barlow, who has been married to wife Dawn for 15 years, said that it was only when Take That reformed in 2006 that he felt "valid again". He added: "That day was the first time in years that I got on the train, took my hat off and just sat there. People were coming up and being so nice. It felt so good."
The 40-year-old said he is glad that he went through his dark period as it has made him the person he is today.