Gary Barlow is "awful" on holiday.

The 40-year-old singer - who has three children with wife Dawn, Daniel, 11, eight-year-old Emily and two-year-old Daisy - hates having nothing to do, which he believes was due to his stint in the pop wilderness after his solo career floundered in the late 1990s.

He said: "I'm not a good time-off person. I'm awful on holiday. It comes from having that period where I didn't work. That really was the worst bit.

"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. Because I'm still too young to do nothing."

During his time out of the spotlight, Gary comfort ate and saw his weight balloon by over 70lbs, and he admits he was subconsciously sabotaging his chances of success.

He told Observer magazine: "It was like, 'Now I'll never get back onstage, because I look like this. Job done!"

Despite his struggles, Gary - who reunited with Take That in 2006 - doesn't regret any part of his life because the experiences have made him the person he is today.

He said: ""Even when I look back on my down years I think, thanks God that happened. What kind of character would I be now if it had all been smooth and great and brilliant? Who would I be now?

"I wouldn't be me, as I am, and actually I quite like being who I am."