Tom Jones on the importance of his song for his late wife
The Welsh singer, 80, tied the knot with Linda at the age of 16, several years after they first met on the school playground, in Pontypridd. They had one son, Mark Woodward, now 63, and were married for 59 years before she died from lung cancer five years ago. During that time, Sir Tom rose from working men’s clubs singer to international entertainer, “sex symbol” and recently, a star judge on ITV’s The Voice.
But the road to superstardom was not easy and was full of temptations, Sir Tom revealed.
After his first number one hit It’s Not Unusual with The Squires in 1965, they went on tour in the US.
There Sir Tom claimed women climbed into his toilet cubicle, threw underwear at him and made a number of sexual propositions.
In 2012, the singer told the Daily Telegraph he slept with up to 250 women a year at the height of his fame – all while married to Linda.
His rendezvous often took place backstage, in an area that he renamed “the workbench”.
Tom Jones was married to Melinda Rose Trenchard, Lady Linda, for 59 years before her death in 2016
Tom Jones rose to fame in 1965 with It’s Not Unusual
Sir Tom cast shade on the affairs, describing them as “fun and games”, in a 2015 Sunday Times interview.
He also claimed to have “never hurt anybody” with his extramarital activities and suggested that his wife didn’t care.
In 2015, Sir Tom told the Big Issue: “All in all, no matter what happened, my marriage is still solid… I haven’t done anything bad in my life.”
While the star regularly downplayed the impact his sexual conquests had on those around him, his wife rarely spoke out.
Linda, who died from lung cancer in 2016, is now unable to put her thoughts on the record but others have offered insight into the relationship.
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Tom Jones married Linda, Melinda Rose Trenchard, when they were 16 years old
Vernon Hopkins, who was a guitarist in The Squires, told Express.co.uk that Linda was “caught in an emotional trap”.
He claimed the singer “took advantage” of “Linda’s loyal nature”, which stemmed from being raised in “the Valleys”.
The musician, now 80, claimed she believed “marriage vows were to be adhered to, for better or worse”.
Mr Hopkins, who released a book to detail his experiences with Sir Tom, claimed her attitude gave him “a licence to thrill”.
He believed Linda “became more of a recluse” in her “gilded cage” because of thoughts about “who her husband would be with”.
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Tom Jones and former bandmate Vernon Hopkins, from The Squires, the band Tom used to be a part of
Mr Hopkins told Express.co.uk: “Getting up to more fun and games in some five-star hotel room, still reasoning that ‘No one can touch me’ phrase.”
Sir Tom Jones’ representatives did not respond to a request for comment from Express.co.uk, regarding Mr Hopkins remarks.
Jo Mills, another friend of Linda’s, claimed Sir Tom’s wife was unhappy about the affairs but felt differently when he was around her.
Ms Mills, the former wife of Sir Tom’s early manager Gordon Mills, spoke out as part of the 2002 documentary The Real… Tom Jones.
Ms Mills explained: “The strange thing was when Tom would come home off a tour when he was there.
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“She said, ‘When he’s there, he’s mine’ and Tom was.”
Ms Mills claimed “he was a lovely husband when he was there”.
Sir Tom’s friend Bryn Phillips, known locally as ‘the fish’, described the star as “a wild boy” but felt his wife accepted his affairs.
He explained: “I think, Linda, maybe she doesn’t want to believe it and shuts it out of her own mind.
“[She said], ‘Well Tom’s mine,’ it’s as simple as that, they’re not harming him because he always goes home to her.”
Tom Jones’ former bandmate Vernon Hopkins, from The Squires, spoke out against the singer
Sir Tom’s mistress of nearly two years, Mary Wilson from The Supremes, described Linda as a “really strong woman”.
Wilson, who died from heart problems last month, described the singer as “one of the loves of my life” before he ended their relationship.
She said: “To have, you know, married him all these years, I wouldn’t have put up with it.
“If that would have been me, I wouldn’t have put up with it.”
In a 1992 interview, Sir Tom claimed he “never had a serious affair” and leaving his wife “was never questioned”.
Tom Jones is a judge on The Voice, which airs on Saturdays on ITV
He said: “It’s out of the question, so whatever has happened has always been causal.
“The only real thing is my marriage and as long as we can both hold it together – as long as my wife can put up with me – I know I’ll be there.”
Sir Tom Jones stars on The Voice, which airs at 8.30pm, Saturday on ITV.
Vernon Hopkins’ memoir Just Help Yourself: Tom Jones, The Squires And The Road To Stardom was published in 2012 by Seren. You can buy the book here and listen to it in audiobook format later this year.