Gary Barlow insists Take That wouldn't ''survive'' as a duo.

The group started out as a five-piece, but following the departures of Robbie Williams and Jason Orange, they now record and tour as a trio.

Though Gary thinks he, Mark Owen and Howard Donald are closer than ever now, he doesn't believe they could carry on if another of the group left out.

He said: ''We wouldn't survive if there was only two of us, no way.

''When Jason told us he wanted to leave in 2014, we all sat together and said, 'Do we carry on? Is it worth it?'

''That actually brought us closer together because we realised, 'God, we've got to look after this.'

''I think that's why it still works - because we all want it to.''

And Gary admitted decision making is much easier these days because there are fewer ''egos'' involved.

He said: ''Everything we create is very inclusive and it never feels like someone is trying to get control over something any more.

''That stuff all happened in the nineties and some of it was really quite fraught.

''I mean, think back to the whole thing with Robbie leaving. There were too many egos involved and I think we all learnt a real hard lesson from that.''

The 'Patience' hitmaker - who has Daniel, 18, Emily, 16, and 10-year-old Daisy with spouse Dawn - also thinks getting older has helped because he and his bandmates have different outside issues to deal with away from the group.

He told Red magazine: ''You gain perspective. I found the 90s difficult because I didn't have a wife or a family, so there was nothing to keep me on the ground.

''With the perspective of a life going on alongside your career, there are more important things to worry about than getting your idea in for the video.

''All three of us are dealing with 'real-life' issues now - one of the kids is struggling at school or isn't sleeping properly - and that comes first.''