Take That's Mark Owen reveals battle with the bottle

Press Association
Friday 12 March 2010 12:11

Take That star Mark Owen revealed today he has been struggling with a "drink problem" for at least a decade.

The admission comes after the 38-year-old singer apologised for having a string of affairs behind his wife's back.

Owen, who has often been seen as a "squeaky clean" member of the reunited group, said he was "deeply sorry" for the "pain" he had caused to his wife and friends through his flings with as many as 10 women.

The pop star and his wife Emma, who have two children, married only last October but have been together for five years.

In a confession to The Sun, he said he had seen a number of women over the years during his relationship.

And, in fresh revelations today, Owen branded himself "a prat", disclosing that he was seeing a therapist in a bid to "sort things out".

He told the newspaper he had discussed his drink problem with bandmates Gary Barlow, Jason Orange and Howard Donald and had sought advice from former Take That member Robbie Williams, who battled alcohol and drug addiction.

The singer - who also admitted he had been a heavy cannabis user and still smokes the occasional joint - said: "I have had issues for a long time. I've drunk for the last 10 years and it got to a bad point."

He went on: "I never really saw the problem. I carried on drinking through my relationship with Emma and it got to the point where she asked me to stop.

"I've never liked drinking during the day but once the kids went to bed, I'd get the bottle open and off I went.

"I have been a prat. I wasn't thinking - I don't think logically when I'm drunk. I'm not the person I want to be when I'm drunk. I can be a nightmare to live with."

Referring to his flings, the star said: "I want to make it absolutely clear I am not using the drink as an excuse. I've been living with the guilt. Maybe the drink was my way of dealing with the guilt."

One of the affairs, with accounts manager Neva Hanley, went on for more than four years and Owen revealed they spent their final night together in a London hotel only a month before his marriage.

The rest of the group are said to have known nothing about his long-term fling with Ms Hanley, whom he met at Preston railway station.

He said he sent her cheques totalling £12,000 in the past year to help her financially.

The star, who sings lead vocals on a number of the group's hits, including Babe and Shine, said he had been living with the guilt for years. He wished he had confessed all before the marriage.

Oldham-born Owen has a three-year-old son Elwood and daughter Willow Rose, who is one.

He broke the news of his infidelity to his wife at their London home on Wednesday.

He said his confession would help them to move on, and he wanted to be with his wife "for life".

"It's going to do good in the long run. It's for the best, this," he said.

Apologising in a statement yesterday, Owen asked to be left alone to work through his problems.

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