The pop star, 49, is the subject of a new four-part Netflix documentary in which he reflects on his struggles with addiction, mental health and eating disorders during his time as a member of the pop group Take That and as a solo star.
In the documentary, he describes their relationship as more than a fling, saying it felt “magical”. They spent a lengthy vacation together in the south of France with Williams’ songwriting partner, Guy Chambers, and his wife Emma.
“We got on really well, it was fun, and we were just a little gang that were sharing a very magical moment, in a magical place,” Williams says.
Footage from the documentary shows Williams and Halliwell larking around in the sun, and singing on a boat together during one of their trips in 2000.
“That was a very important holiday for me because I was happy; because I wasn’t before and I wasn’t really for a long time after,” he told The Sun.
However, the relationship apparently soured after he became convinced that she was telling the paparazzi where they would be.
He claims that one photographer incorrectly told him that she was the reason they were being hounded.
“It was a very confusing relationship, because she’s a girl and I’m a boy, we are very good friends trying to sort out the wreckage of the past,” he said.
“I just found her company very, very easy… There [was] a silliness.”
Williams said that while he doesn’t believe the claim about Halliwell calling the paparazzi now, he did at the time they were dating.
“It just goes to show what being in the spotlight can do to your psyche, when you can’t trust anybody,” he said.
Williams has been married to actor Ayda Field since 2010. They have four children together: daughters Theodora and Colette, and sons Charlton and Beau.
In an interview with The Independent, director Joe Pearlman explained how he wanted to “make something different” from the traditional music documentary.
“I traipsed out to go and see some of the archive and was immediately floored by the depth and breadth,” he recalled of the thousands of hours’ worth of footage Williams had stored away.
“It was obviously gigs and those kinds of things, but equally, you had him on holiday, behind the scenes, drug-taking and some of the abuse [he faced].”
Pearlman, who also worked on the Goss twins documentary Bros: After the Screaming Stops and Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now, recalled his first meeting with Williams at a London hotel, where the singer turned up in a Gucci suit with no top underneath.
“I knew I was in the presence of a pop star,” he said.
Williams, he said, “is a perfect example of what fame can do to a person … You get all the plaudits, you get the money and the success and all those things. But at the same time, you’re hounded, you’re abused, you’re someone else’s property.
“It’s sort of otherworldly – Rob talks about it as ‘demonic’. I don’t understand why we want to pull these people down, because they define so many important parts of our lives: like ‘Angels’, tell me a wedding that hasn’t been played at? These are all things that matter to us. So why, culturally, do we want to kill them and bring them down? That’s really odd to me.”
‘Robbie Williams’ is released on Netflix on 8 November