Now 15 years on, one of the most popular bands in the world is making music again as a quintet and will tour next summer.
A statement from Take That said: "The rumours are true... Take That: the original line-up, have written and recorded a new album for release later this year".
What the guys lack in youth they make up for in enthusiasm.
And they are, perhaps, even more thrilled about the reunion than their fans.
Having left amid acrimony in 1995 to pursue superstardom, Robbie Williams, now 36, said on Thursday: "I get embarrassingly excited when the five of us are in a room. It feels like coming home".
The other group members – who split up a year later only to reform 2005 – are also over the moon.
"Flippin' brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I'm over the moon that Robbie's back with us, however long it lasts," said Jason Orange. "I just want to enjoy our time with him".
A few weeks ago, intriguing pictures surfaced of Robbie and Gary Barlow shooting a Western-themed video for the Angels singer's greatest hits album.
At the time Robbie described the disc as "not only a celebration of my past but also a bridge to the future".
Now it's clear exactly what future he was referring to.