Take That star Gary Barlow has admitted he was suffering from "a form of depression" when he piled on the pounds after his solo career fizzled out.
The singer found fame with the U.K.'s most successful boyband in the 1990s, but his independent career after the band split was short-lived, and he turned to food for comfort when his record label dropped him in 1999.
Barlow became a recluse and gorged on food after failing as a solo artist - and he now realises his bingeing was caused by depression.
He tells Britain's Radio Times, "I felt horrible. I felt s**t. For someone so big, I felt incredibly small. I'd decided, 'OK, nobody wants me, but I don't want to do it anyway, and to make sure I don't do it again, this is how I'm going to look.' I realised afterwards it was a form of depression."
And it was only when the star's wife Dawn urged him to go to a doctor after his huge size began to affect his health that he confronted his issues.
He adds, "The fat was a protective coating. As I got bigger, I found I didn't need a hat or sunglasses. I had my disguise wrapped around me. Then one day, in December 2001, Dawn said: 'Babe, I think you should go and see the doctor.'
"I knew what she meant. I was wheezy and out of breath with even the slightest exertion. It would take me three rolls to get off the bed and I was reduced to wearing Xxxl tracksuits. I hadn't dared stand on the scales, but I forced myself: 16st 8lbs. I booked an appointment."
Barlow returned to the limelight in 2005 with a reunited Take That and is now a judge on Simon Cowell's The X Factor in the U.K.