The Voice: Tom Jones dedicates performance to his late wife
The Voice judge, 80, is one of the UK’s best-selling artists after releasing songs including It’s Not Unusual, Delilah, What New Pussycat? and Sex Bomb. While Sir Tom’s musical talent earned him fame and fortune, his well-publicised affairs revealed a different side to the star. The Welsh singer’s sexual escapades caused a stir because he claimed to have bedded hundreds of women while married to his childhood sweetheart Linda.
Sir Tom and Linda, full name Melinda Trenchard, were both 16 years old when they married, one-year after they met at school in Treforest, Pontypridd.
The singer said that during their early relationship, the loved-up teenagers would kiss inside a phone box at the end of his future wife’s road to hide their romance.
The couple had their only son Mark Woodward, Sir Tom’s real surname, one month after they tied the knot.
Sir Tom worked at a paper mill to support his family and pursued his dream of being a singer at nights when he sang at working men’s clubs.
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In a bid for fame, the star moved to London and after the release of his second single It’s Not Unusual in 1965, it soared to number one in the UK charts.
The single made it into the top 10 of the US charts too, which would eventually lead him to perform across the pond.
The success helped Sir Tom’s manager to broker deals to perform the theme songs for What’s New Pussycat? and the James Bond film Thunderball.
The new-found fame was a surprise for the Welshman from a small coal-mining village, and the surge in female interest led the singer to stray.
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In a 2012 Telegraph article, Sir Tom claimed he had bedded up to 250-women-a-year, including a number of musicians.
His affairs became so notorious that part of the backstage area where he took groupies was known as “the workbench”.
Sir Tom’s encounters eventually caught up with him, when his affair with Miss World Marjorie Wallace was publicised in the newspapers.
In 2015, he told The Sunday Times that Linda “chinned” him after discovering what he had done.
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Sir Tom recalled: “I stood there and took it… When she let fly, Dai [his minder] just left. I said, ‘Go ahead’. She punched and shouted.”
Despite the undoubted hurt caused to Linda and his relationship, Sir Tom didn’t regret his actions.
He said: “I never hurt anybody, it never backfired on me and my marriage is solid.”
When Sunday Times journalist Bryan Appleyard pressed him on whether he regretted being “serially unfaithful” to his wife, Sir Tom stated: “Naw.”
After the writer said he liked “the sound of Linda”, Sir Tom declared she was “an unbelievable woman”.
He continued: “She’s the most important thing in my life. All the rest is fun and games.”
In 2015, Sir Tom was probed further about his affairs in The Big Issue and felt that the condemnation was not justified.
He said: “That’s all been talked about so much but that’s not the essence of me, that’s not what makes me tick.”
Sir Tom claimed the media “picked on the women” and how it affected his wife – but conceded “everyone famous” was subjected to the same treatment.
He said: “They always bring sex into it, it’s part of life of course or we would all die out.”
Sir Tom defended his affairs again by stating that Linda was the only person that was important to him.
He continued: “I don’t regret anything.
“All in all, no matter what happened, my marriage is still solid and my son still loves me, I haven’t done anything bad in my life.”
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During an interview with the Daily Mail in 2006, Sir Tom reiterated that Linda was “the most important thing” in his life and described her as “unbelievable”.
Sadly, Linda died from lung cancer in 2016 at the age of 75 – roughly a year before their 60th wedding anniversary.
At first, Sir Tom blamed himself for his wife’s death and wished he could have “forced her” to go to the doctors.
In 2019, he told the Daily Mirror that while he felt guilt there was no way that he could have saved Linda.
He said: “The reality is I couldn’t really have done anything.
“By the time we found out about her cancer it was too late, so there’s not a lot you can do.”
When asked whether he would find love again, Sir Tom flatly replied: “No, I don’t think so.”
In Sir Tom’s 2015 autobiography, Over The Top And Back, he claimed he only ever envisaged a future with Linda – despite his scores of affairs.
He wrote: “I have never had that feeling for anyone else, I don’t think you can fall in love more than once.”
Sir Tom Jones will feature on The Voice, which airs at 8.30pm Saturday on ITV.
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