Robbie Williams has claimed he was once the target of a hitman.
The 47-year-old singer has told how a contract was put out to "kill" him at the height of his fame but he was able to call on some "friends" who neutralised the threat to his life.
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 star - who has four children with wife Ayda Field - admitted it took him a long time to accept being "ridiculously famous" and even now he still feels "really uncomfortable" meeting fans because there is so much expectation.
He said on the 'This Past Weekend' podcast: “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.
“There’s a few levels of fame and what it does to you. The first one is ‘f***’.
“There’s a couple more I can’t remember but the fourth one is acceptance. You sort of rally against your privacy being taken away from you and you rally against it by trying to be normal, trying to be normal but also I’m gonna be small so people don’t beat you up. Like, ‘I’m a d*******, don’t hurt me.’
“I want to go to the all the normal places I can’t go because people want to kill me. It takes a while to get to acceptance.
“I have anxiety and don’t like meeting strangers, but strangers want to meet me, and I feel really uncomfortable about it. 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***.’ Actually, I hate having my picture taken.”
But the 'Angels' hitmaker is thankful he never pursued a career in the US because it means he can lead the anonymous life he craves when he's at his Beverly Hills home.
He said: "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 and if I go to America then I’m famous in Papua New Guinea if I’m famous in America…’
“Then I’m like, ‘Hang on, what am I doing here? This realisation is happening as I’m travelling through America trying to break America. 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 that I was offered in the States.
"Basically, what happens is 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."