Robbie Williams today apologized to former Take That manager Nigel Martin Smith over libellous lyrics on a track taken from his 2006 album "Rudebox" (EMI).

Mr Justice Michael Tugendhat was told in London's High Court that Williams had now apologised "unreservedly" to Smith, and had agreed to pay undisclosed libel damages in order to settle the libel action.

Counsel for Smith, David Sherbourne, told the judge: "It was reported in the press that Robbie Williams had made a number of outrageous allegations about Nigel Martin Smith in the lyrics to one of his songs on his latest album, 'Rudebox.'"

Sherbourne said that one of the allegations suggested that Smith had stolen funds while managing "Take That."

He continued: "Robbie Williams wishes to make it clear to his fans, and the public at large, that he did not intend these lyrics to be taken at face value or as a serious statement by him of the views which he holds of Nigel Martin Smith.

"Specifically, Robbie Williams did not intend to allege that Nigel Martin Smith has ever stolen any funds from Take That or anyone.

Smith managed the hit pop band Take That from its inception in 1990, through to 1996 when it disbanded. Williams left the band in 1995 to embark on a solo career. The remaining member, meanwhile, reunited and have been an unexpected smash both on the charts and at the box office.

Sherbourne said Williams now wished to apologize publicly and unreservedly for the distress that the original publication of the lyrics had caused.

In addition to libel damages he said he was also to pay Smith's legal costs.