British pop singer Robbie Williams' newfound sobriety saved his longterm friendship with actor Max Beesley.

The pair met during their teenage upbringing in the north of England, and cemented their friendship when Beesley toured as a percussionist with Williams' former boyband Take That.

But Beesley, who abandoned music to act in Hollywood movies including the MARIAH CAREY-starring GLITTER, lost touch with the ROCK DJ hitmaker, when his addictions spiralled out of control.

Of their 2001 reunion he says, "He was sober for a start. I didn't see much of him when he was drinking. I think that is one of the reasons we are such good friends now.

"I wasn't part of that culture and wasn't really around during that period of his life."

And the actor blasts the popular image of Williams as a talented depressive, insisting: "He's stronger than a lot of people think."