Photo: Hello Magazine
Photo: Hello Magazine

Howard Donald has been revealed as Zip on the Masked Dancer.

The Take That star came third, following Scarecrow out of the competition.

"Not even my daughters knew," he told the judges, adding that his grown-up children were quizzing him about what he had been doing in London.

However Take That's die-hard fans knew, with a lot of them IDing him from the first appearance.

Howard said: "I love the mask. It’s me in a nutshell. From the first time I saw a drawing of the outfit I was so excited to get to be that character, although the big mask was restrictive when it came to some of the dance moves."

The Masked Dancer hit screens last Saturday, and the ITV show has been just as bonkers as ever.

Who is Howard Donald: Biography

Photo: Hello Magazine
Photo: Hello Magazine

Howard Paul Donald (born 28 April 1968), is an English singer, songwriter, drummer, pianist, dancer, DJ and record producer. He is a member of English pop-group Take That and a judge on the German reality talent show Got to Dance.

Donald was educated at Littlemoss High School in Droylsden and worked as a vehicle painter. As a teenager he was interested in dancing and frequented the burgeoning breakdancing circuit in the Greater Manchester area, where he would first come into contact with future bandmate Jason Orange. He auditioned for Nigel Martin-Smith's new boy band project at his office in Manchester and was selected. The group was eventually named Take That.

Howard Donald: Career

Photo: Hello Magazine
Photo: Hello Magazine

Nigel Martin-Smith hired Donald, along with Gary Barlow, Jason Orange, Mark Owen, and Robbie Williams to form a British boyband, Take That. The band enjoyed seven years of success until Robbie Williams left in 1995, leaving them to carry on as a quartet. Along with Orange, Donald featured less on lead vocals than Barlow, Owen and Williams during the band's first era, however did sing lead vocal on the single "Never Forget", which reached #1 in the UK in 1995.

When Take That split in February 1996, Donald went solo and recorded a single "Speak Without Words" that is still unreleased to-date. When his solo career failed to take off, he returned to DJing.

In early 1996, Donald's band mates Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Jason Orange came to the difficult decision that Take That was to split. They told Donald, who was not happy, but went along with their decision. In the 2006 documentary, Take That for the Record, Donald shocked band mates with his confession of being unstable enough to have the intention of committing suicide by drowning himself in the River Thames, not long after the split.

In 2005 Take That reformed for what was intended to be "one last tour" in the summer of 2006, following the release of their Greatest Hits album.

In late 2006, Take That reunited and released their first studio album since 1995, Beautiful World and from it they recorded two number ones in "Patience" and "Shine". Beautiful World featured Donald on lead vocals on two tracks; "Beautiful World" and "Mancunian Way". The song "Mancunian Way" is a tribute to the band's hometown Manchester.

On Take That album The Circus, Donald sings lead on two tracks, "What is Love" and "Here". He also shares lead vocals with the rest of the band on the album's opening track, "The Garden".

On the Take That LP called Progress, Howard Donald sings lead vocals on a track called Affirmation. He also plays drums on several songs on Progress album and has mixed a B-side track for the second single "Kidz" called "Revenge of The Kidz".

On the latest Take That album III Donald sings lead vocals on "Give You My Love".

Lead vocal (Take That)

"If This is Love"

"Never Forget"

"Beautiful World"

"Mancunian Way"

"What is Love"




"Give You My Love"

"I Like It"

"Hey Boy"

"These Days"

^ "Howard Donald", Southern Daily Echo, 20 June 2007, retrieved 5 February 2010


Donald is one of the judges on a dancing show Got to Dance in Germany.

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During the Beautiful World Tour in 2007, Donald suffered a collapsed lung after performing a series of gymnastic stunts on stage, and was kept on a hospital ward for the two days, while the rest of the band performed as a threesome. However, Donald recovered quickly enough to reunite with the band in the final leg of the tour.


Photo: Smooth
Photo: Smooth

Donald was educated at Moorside Primary School and Littlemoss High School.

He is father of two daughters, Grace (born June 1999) and Lola (born February 2005), from two separate relationships. His elder daughter Grace was born to Victoria Piddington, while he had his younger daughter from his relationship with Marie-Christine Musswessels. They split in late 2009.

In April 2010, Donald was granted a super-injunction against former girlfriend, musician Adakini Ntuli, with whom he had been in an on/off relationship from 2000 to 2008. (See Ntuli v Donald) After Ntuli engaged publicist Max Clifford and began negotiations with the News of the World, Donald obtained the super-injunction. The non-publicity side of the injunction was lifted in November 2010, in what was seen by legal commentators as a precedent in future judgements on the issuing of super-injunctions.

In 2007, he sparked controversy when he expressed his view that cannabis should be legalised, saying, "If more people went out stoned than drunk I think there would be less fighting, less trouble, and less violence." He also admitted to having "dabbled with ecstasy" in the past.

In June 2012, it was revealed that along with Take That band-mates Gary Barlow and Mark Owen, Donald had invested £26 million in music industry investment schemes. The news attracted controversy when it was understood that the schemes could serve as tax shelters for high-net-worth people. Lawyers responded to the claims, stating the band members 'paid significant tax, and that they believed the schemes were not for tax avoidance purposes but were legitimate commercial enterprises.'

On 2 January 2015, Donald married illustrator Katie Halil. A spokesperson for him said "I can confirm Howard Donald and Katie Halil were married at a private ceremony for close family and friends on January 2."

In August 2015, Donald announced they are expecting a baby. On 12 January 2016, their son Bowie Taylan Donald was born. In October 2016, Donald announced on Twitter he and his wife are expecting their second child in February 2017.

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