Robbie Williams, so desperate to prove he’s turned over a new leaf and put his womanising days behind him, has turned the publicity trail for his new single into a courtship ritual – one sofa-bounce from out-schmoozing Tom Cruise – culminating with that did-he-didn’t-he proposal during an Australian radio interview on Friday…
It turned out he didn’t, by the way. Apparently the faux-posal was all ‘in jest’ - although, maybe someone should tell that to Ayda.
Initial reports of the engagement seemed authentic enough. ‘Will you marry me?’ Robbie asked. ‘Yes’, said Ayda. Pretty clear cut.
But, even before the news hit the UK, rumoured circled the blogosphere that it was a hoax, with his spokesperson claiming it was only a ‘joke’.
‘He did say it, but in a jocular manner,’ he said, ‘They are not engaged.’
Which brings us to ask, who was in on this joke? Ayda certainly sounded convinced – as did Robbie’s Mum, who spoke out on Saturday morning saying she’d been out shopping for an engagement card.
‘He wanted to do something different,’ she said, ‘She's a lovely girl and I'm really pleased for them. I've got a daughter-in-law.’
In the end it was down to Robbie to put the record straight. The singer, normally a man of many words, posted a simple message on his blog. ‘Hey all. We are not engaged. Rob x,’ it read.
So, after hamming it up in endless interviews (‘I’ve got the Misses, she keeps me very grounded,’ ‘She’s a wonderful person. I’m in love.’), using his girlfriend as a publicity toy (there she is, looking glam in Jonathan Ross’ green room – fully made up, the perfect prop), his actions have overshadowed his words.
It’ll take more then a side-parting and ‘I suffer with nerves’ bottom lip wobble to convince us ‘new Robbie’ is a shy and retiring type. We bet, underneath that smart mourning suit, he’s still wearing those Rock DJ tiger pants.
By Amy Molloy