Robbie Williams opens up on ‘fear and panic’ as dad Pete Conway diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease


Pop megastar Robbie Williams has emotionally revealed his dad has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The 46-year-old has told how he has been fighting ‘fear and panic’ after his father Pete Conway – a legendary Potteries entertainer in his own right – was struck down with the illness.

Port Vale fan Robbie, who grew up in Burslem and Tunstall and is now living in Los Angeles, says he has struggled in lockdown, especially with Pete, aged 70, being so far away in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Rock DJ also explained that his wife Ayda Field’s mum is also battling health problems.

He told MirrorOnline: “We’ve got a lot of family issues right now. My dad has got Parkinson’s, my mother-in-law who I love dearly has got a very big illness. We can’t get to them. My dad is thousands of miles away.”

He added: “My mum is just a year short of 80 and she’s in isolation and I can see the things whirling in her mind and her eyes going.”

Robbie feared the recent issues could lead to him suffering depression and drink and drug problems as he has in the past.

He said difficult times ’cause fear and panic’ and added: “I noticed at the start of the lockdown that I was going into fear.”

Pete Conway is pictured with an eight-year-old Robbie Williams

He continued: “But the difference between me now and the person I used to be… I saw it, thought ‘That’s interesting – tomorrow will be different’. And it was.

“Whereas before I used to think that I’d feel that way for a decade.”

Robbie, who has four children including baby Beau, has been joined on stage many times by his dad who is also a singer.

Pete told fans his last time performing may be when his son played Port Vale FC’s stadium in June, a gig that has now been postponed.

A former policeman and publican of the Red Lion, Pete shot to fame on TV talent show New Faces in the 1970s and went on to become a familiar face on the UK cabaret circuit.

He was born Peter Williams, in Tunstall, but later changed his name when he broke into showbusiness.

Robbie Williams in the Lorne Street Stand with his dad Pete Conway

He remains a proud Potter, buying his Sentinel every day and is a regular attendee at local events and supporter of local good causes.

A source close to Pete said he is in good health, adding he has sung at all Robbie’s latest shows, most recently in January.

The entertainer, who split from Robbie’s mum Janet over 40 years ago, and whose stage name is Pete Conway, seems to have been in good spirits in lockdown at home.

He has put images online of friends helping him with food packages as he self-isolates.

Steve Ford, chief executive of Parkinson’s UK, said: “For Robbie and Ayda, who is already a great ambassador for the charity due to her own mother’s diagnosis, the current crisis will undoubtedly have magnified the daily challenges that living with Parkinson’s can bring.

“There are around 145,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s, and we know many of them, like Robbie, are also feeling worried about being separated from their family, friends and loved ones. 

“While this is a difficult time for many in the Parkinson’s community, support is out there. At Parkinson’s UK we are working harder than ever and adapting our services to help everyone affected by Parkinson’s to continue to live well and stay connected. 

“We wish Robbie, Pete, Ayda and their family all the best.” 





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