Tom Jones on the importance of his song for his late wife
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The Welsh singer was married to his “childhood sweetheart” Melinda Rose Trenchard, known as Lady Linda, for 59 years. She tragically lost her battle with terminal lung cancer five years ago. Recently Sir Tom opened up about his wife and how some of her final words shaped him.
The 80-year-old told BBC Two’s Later… With Jools Holland that certain songs had taken on a new meaning following Linda’s death.
Sir Tom claimed the hit I Won’t Crumble With You If You Fall “meant more” than it had done before.
After his wife was diagnosed with “incurable” cancer, he recalled: “I said, ‘Oh my god, I don’t know what’s going to happen’, because it happened pretty quick.”
Sir Tom revealed she told him: “Don’t fall with me, I’ve got to leave but you’ve got to carry on here.”
Linda told the singer and their son Mark Woodward, now 63, to “mentor one another” and “to carry on” shortly before her death.
In a 1991 interview, Sir Tom described his marriage as “the only real thing” in his life and vowed to stay with Linda “for as long as she can put up with me”.
His relationship often came under fire after the singer’s affairs became common knowledge.
In a 2012 Telegraph article, he claimed to have slept with “up to 250 women a year” at the height of his fame.
Sir Tom described his affairs as “fun and games” and said he didn’t regret his actions because he “never hurt anybody”.
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In 2015, he told The Sunday Times: “It never backfired on me and my marriage is solid.”
Sir Tom’s remarks about Linda led his former bandmate from The Squires, Vernon Hopkins, to speak out during an interview with Express.co.uk.
The 80-year-old, who now lives in Swansea, last saw Sir Tom shortly before the group split-up in 1969 and he was propelled to international superstardom.
Mr Hopkins was motivated to give insight into the singer’s life after Sir Tom spoke out about his late wife on The Voice and in other interviews.
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He was particularly irked when the singer claimed Linda “lost her spark” and according to Sunday Times journalist Bryan Appleyard made it “clear” she “let herself go”.
Mr Hopkins believed Sir Tom was “attempting to put the blame” on his late wife for “notching up women on his bedpost”.
He told Express.co.uk: “She became recluse, smoking and drinking excessively, she ‘lost her spark’, ‘let herself go’ and lost her good looks, according to Tom.
“Nothing to do with how she was treated of course, as far as he was concerned it was all just ‘fun and games’, as he so eloquently put it!”
Mr Hopkins claimed to have been regularly asked why “Linda put up with it all” – including when Sir Tom’s affairs were splashed across national newspapers.
He believed it “wasn’t that easy” for Linda to “walk away and divorce him” because Sir Tom was “the only man she had been with all of her life”.
Mr Hopkins told Express.co.uk: “Her loyalty was cemented in the school yard, never having the opportunity of experiencing a different relationship.
“Before tying the knot, her destiny was set for her [and] she obviously loved Tom dearly… but it wasn’t as perfect as it seemed.”
He claimed Linda spent “so many hours and nights alone, isolated from the world” and was concerned by Sir Tom being on the road.
Mr Hopkins continued: “Tom was touring the world and up to no good with other women.”
He claimed Linda “handled the situation well” and “forgave” Sir Tom for his affair with Mary Wilson, the late Supremes singer who died last month.
Mr Hopkins believed “Mary Wilson and other infidelities took its toll”, but knew she “would never leave him”.
He told Express.co.uk: “She was somewhat a shy Valleys girl – intelligent, attractive, kind but innocent.
“She was very protective of Tom whenever something came out about him in bad taste.
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“Tom was aware of Linda’s loyal nature, he took advantage of it.
“Marriage vows in the Valleys, back in the day, were adhered to.
“‘For better for worse and till death do us part’ seemed sacred compared to today, giving him licence to thrill!”
Mr Hopkins felt compelled to reveal more about the “real Linda” because she “cannot defend herself against Tom’s summing up of her”.
He said: “I speak out having known Linda and respecting her well back in Pontypridd and after the band relocated to London, with the challenge of releasing It’s Not Unusual.
“Their future looked rosy, for Tom to end it all by being openly critical of her, I have had to respond to his comments with equal openness in her defence.”
Sir Tom Jones’ representatives did not respond to a request for comment from Express.co.uk.
Sir Tom Jones appears in the final of The Voice, which airs at 8.30pm Saturday on ITV.
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