Tom Jones felt late wife ‘let herself go’ and preferred phoning her to ‘forget they aged’

The Voice: Tom Jones says he made a 'mistake'

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The Welsh singer was married to Melinda Rose Trenchard, known as Lady Linda, for 59 years before she died from lung cancer. Sir Tom rose to fame nine years after they tied the knot, following the release of It’s Not Unusual in the Sixties. The 80-year-old, who appears on ITV’s The Voice this weekend, revealed the struggles of his marriage and the pressure getting older put on their relationship.

Sir Tom was 16 years old when he married Linda and, despite scores of affairs, they stayed together until her death.

Before they became an item, he recalled feeling “physical heartache” when he watched his childhood sweetheart walk to school. 

Sir Tom said: “I was thinking, ‘Where is she? What is she doing?’”

The singer proclaimed that Linda was the love of his life and fondly recalled kissing in a phonebox at the end of her street in their teenage years.

While Sir Tom claimed she was “the most important thing in my life” in a 2006 Daily Mail article, he was known to have been “serially unfaithful” during their marriage.

He admitted to sleeping with up to 250 women a year at the height of his fame, in a 2012 Telegraph article.

But in 2015, Sir Tom claimed his affairs had no effect on his marriage and described them as “fun and games”.

He told the Sunday Times: “I never hurt anybody, it never backfired on me and my marriage is solid.”

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Sir Tom claimed there was a “don’t ask” policy in relation to his flings but there was one time where Linda caught him out.

He explained that she “chinned” him after his affair with one-time Miss World, Marjorie Wallace, was published in the newspapers.

Sir Tom said: “I stood there and took it… I said, ‘Go ahead!’ – she punched and shouted.”

The singer’s infidelity was so renowned at the height of his career that a backstage area was dubbed “the workbench” because it was where he took lovers.

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During that time, Linda stayed at home to raise their son Mark, now 63, and in later life her health deteriorated.  

She had numerous battles with cancer and suffered with emphysema – a lung condition that makes sufferers short of breath, often caused by heavy smoking.

When Sir Tom and Linda travelled to Los Angeles, he recalled needing to check if the hotel bathroom had “an outside window” so that she “wouldn’t fill the room with smoke”.

Sunday Times writer Bryan Appleyard believed that Linda might have been “a touch agoraphobic” because of her preference to “stay at home”.

He explained that she was “too nervous” to go to “many of” Sir Tom’s concerts, which the singer attributed to her depression. 

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He said: “I’ve realised she’s had a depression since she was young, she’s always had a touch of it.”

Sir Tom recalled Linda being most comfortable when she was raising their son at home and being “in that kind of environment”.

He said: “I don’t think she really enjoyed getting out and about, I think she was happy with being in the house.”

Linda’s lung problems led her mobility to worsen, which meant she struggled to look after herself and often refused help from others.

Mr Appleyard noted that Sir Tom made it “clear” she had “let herself go”.

He said: “Linda is the love of my life and she still is – even though she doesn’t look like she did. 

“I don’t look like I did either but I try my best.”

Sir Tom recalled one time when Linda refused to let him pay a hairdresser to come to their home because she didn’t “want to hear somebody else’s problems”.

He added: “She’s lost her spark.”

Mr Appleyard noted that Sir Tom’s comments seemed “almost brutal” and that he wished he could hear Linda’s “side of the story”.

In another candid moment, the singer explained that he longed to relive their teenage years.

Sir Tom explained that being “face to face” with Linda made him “realise that time has gone on”.

He continued: “But when we talk on the phone we’re both young again, we haven’t aged on the phone.”

Sir Tom revealed that he carried an “old picture” of them wherever he went and at nights always placed it beside his bed. 

When Linda quizzed him about why because she didn’t “look like that any more”, Sir Tom replied: “I know you don’t [but] it brings back wonderful memories.”

He claimed that when they spoke on the phone, Linda drastically changed and she forgot they weren’t teenagers.

Sir Tom said: “The whole thing, the depression, leaves her when we talk.”

After Linda died from lung cancer in 2016 at the age of 75, the singer said he “doubted” he would ever fall in love again.

In Sir Tom’s 2015 autobiography, Over The Top And Back, he claimed that he “never had that feeling for anyone else”.

He added: “I don’t think you can fall in love more than once.”

Sir Tom Jones will appear on The Voice, which airs on Saturday at 8.30pm on ITV.

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