Robbie Williams and Take That ended months of speculation today by announcing that they had reunited for a new album.
And Williams, who walked out on the group 15 years ago as he began to go off the rails, said: “It feels like coming home.”
The two sides have gradually settled their differences over the past few years, until revealing today that they were back – although time will tell if it is for good.
Footage posted on the band’s website this afternoon shows them together in the studio – laughing, joking and singing as they worked on an untitled album to be released in November.
Last year Williams and his former bandmates shared a stage for a Children In Need concert, an event organised by Take That’s Gary Barlow.
However the quintet – completed by Jason Orange, Mark Owen and Howard Donald - had already begun to work together. Williams let slip during a radio interview late last year that they had been recording together.
Take That disbanded in 1996 but reunited without Williams in 2005 to huge success, including three number one singles.
The group’s new album will be their first with the full line-up since 1995 release 'Nobody Else' and has been produced by Stuart Price, who has worked with Madonna and Kylie Minogue.
Williams spoke of his joy at rejoining his old colleagues. He said: “I get embarrassingly excited when the five of us are in a room.”
Bandmate Owen said: “Getting the five of us to be in a room together, although always a dream, never actually seemed like becoming a reality.
“Now the reality of the five of us making a record together feels like a dream. It’s been an absolute delight spending time with Rob again. But I’m still a better footballer,” he joked.
And Orange said: “I’m over the moon that Robbie’s back with us, however long it lasts. I just want to enjoy our time with him. Life is beautifully strange sometimes.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s formation, making their TV debut on producer Pete Waterman’s ITV show The Hitman And Her.
By 1993 they had become huge and enjoyed a string of hits including 'Pray' and 'Relight My Fire'.
However Williams, the baby of the group, was beginning to pull in a different direction and famously enjoyed a “lost weekend” with Oasis at the Glastonbury festival in 1995.
After a wobbly start he had his own huge solo career with chart-topping singles such as 'Millennium' and 'Feel'.
But the reunion of his former Take That colleagues in 2005 for live dates began to overshadow his success.
Despite Williams ridiculing Barlow during his early solo shows, the pair began to bury the hatchet in recent years and their friendship was renewed.
Williams said last year: “You carry around all this resentment and bitterness for such a long time.”
After the five met up they embraced.
“We had a hug up and what was left was what we had at the beginning – just five guys that love each other,” Williams said.
Williams had already revealed he was working with Barlow. Last month he announced the pair were to release a duet Shame which will feature on his greatest hits collection.
The new album will be released on Take That’s label Polydor, rather than Williams’s company, EMI.