The former Take That singer returned to his habit a few months ago, after having previously quit the nicotine sticks. Robbie was determined to keep actress spouse Ayda from finding out he was smoking again though, and went to some extreme lengths to keep his puffing away from her.

"I didn’t tell the missus for five weeks," he said during an interview with Britain's The Sun newspaper. "I was getting up an hour before her. I would creep out of the room with my shoes underneath my arm.

“I would jump through a window at the other end of the house, strip naked outside so I wouldn’t smell, then proceeded to smoke."

One particular occasion when Robbie had emerged for an early morning puff saw the singer locked outside without his trusty mouthwash. So he ended up using hand sanitiser in an attempt to conceal the smoke smell from Ayda.

"When you’re new to smoking you get a heavy buzz, so during this heavy buzz my legs wouldn’t work and I couldn’t get back into the house and I started to panic," he remembered.

"Instead of using mouthwash, I gargled hand sanitiser. I was desperate."

Robbie's love of hand sanitiser has been well documented in recent weeks. The 42-year-old singer hit headlines when he was pictured squirting on the liquid after high-fiving audience members during his New Year's Eve gig in London, England.

But the father-of-two poked fun at the controversy with a video posted on his Instagram page, in which he generously applied sanitiser after shaking hands and hugging his mother.

However, during The Sun interview, conducted before the New Year concert, Robbie conceded that living in Los Angeles has made him something of a "germaphobe", adding: "I find it difficult shaking people’s hands now.”