Tom Jones discusses his marriage with Linda Trenchard in 1991
The It’s Not Unusual singer fell in love with Melinda Rose Trenchard, known as Lady Linda, when they were 12 years old. During his life-threatening battle with tuberculosis, which kept him off school for two years, he thought about her while stuck inside his family home in Treforest, Wales. At the age of 16, Sir Tom and Linda tied the knot and one month later had their son Mark Woodward, now 63.
Sir Tom spent 59 years married to Linda before she tragically lost her battle with lung cancer five years ago.
Recently the Sex Bomb star has reflected on the life he had with his childhood sweetheart, who he described as a “wonderful woman”.
The 80-year-old broke down after Linda’s “incurable” cancer diagnosis and recalled: “I said, ‘Oh my god, I don’t know what’s going to happen.’”
On BBC Two’s Later… With Jools Holland, he said Linda told him “to carry on here” and “don’t fall with me”.
Tom Jones was married to Melinda Trenchard, Lady Linda, for 59 years before she died in 2016
Tom Jones and Linda met when they were 12 years old and married four years later
Previously, the singer claimed his marriage was “the only real thing” left in his life after his international superstardom led to mass adoration from fans.
In a 1991 interview, he admitted to “never having a serious affair” and “leaving” his wife was “out of the question”.
He continued: “As long as my wife can put up with me I know I’ll be there and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The remarks came before Sir Tom claimed to have slept with “up to 250 women a year” at the height of his fame, in a 2012 Telegraph article.
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He said his affairs “never hurt anybody” and branded them “fun and games” in a 2015 Sunday Times article.
But former friend Vernon Hopkins, who was part of Sir Tom’s first band The Squires in the Sixties, told a different side of the story to Express.co.uk.
On many occasions, the singer was asked whether he “regretted” anything from his near-six-decade-long career in music.
He told the Sunday Times there were “not big ones” and when pressed on any regret over being “serial unfaithfully”, he replied: “Naw.”
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Tom Jones (pictured with Linda and son Mark) rose to fame after It’s Not Unusual came out in 1965
Tom Jones described his wife Linda as a ‘wonderful woman’ and ‘the only real thing’ in his life
Sir Tom explained that “it never backfired on him” and his “marriage was solid” and later echoed those comments in a 2015 The Big Issue article.
The singer claimed Linda “lost her spark” in one article, which led Mr Hopkins, now 80, to break his silence and decree the remark “below zero”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk after Sir Tom’s lengthy stint as a judge on The Voice thrust him back into the limelight, he said he felt compelled to respond to the singer’s comments “with equal openness in her defence”.
Mr Hopkins claimed the singer “lacked empathy and conscience” for the remarks about his wife, who he knew for nearly a decade.
Tom Jones rose to fame in the Sixties after It’s Not Unusual, Thunderball and other hits came out
He told Express.co.uk: “This crude way of thinking has left him a trail of misery and heartache to many who once loved him, supported him, and believed he was a true and loyal friend.
“As far as I’m concerned, he hit below zero, speaking so ill of her.
“He really should have been praising her to high heaven and begging for her forgiveness for giving her such a miserable and lonely life.
“Sadly, Linda can’t defend herself against Tom’s summing-up of her, with no remorse for having any responsibility.”
Mr Hopkins weighed in on the affairs and claimed Sir Tom’s marriage allowed him an “easy escape” when things got “too serious”.
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It followed the singer’s 1991 admission: “It’s never been questioned that I would leave my wife for anybody else.”
Mr Hopkins claimed Sir Tom “used” Linda as a reason to end his affairs.
He told Express.co.uk: “He always had the get-out clause ‘Sorry love, I’m married’ – he could say that and that would be the end of it.
“When women tried to get him to divorce Linda and it became too serious or forceful he could use that get-out clause and say ‘Well, sorry!’”
Mr Hopkins claimed Sir Tom “took advantage” of Linda’s “loyal nature” and knew she “would never leave him”.
Tom Jones’ former bandmate Vernon Hopkins published a book on his time with the singer
Tom Jones and his first band The Squires, which featured Vernon Hopkins
He believed her commitment was due to marriage vows being considered “sacred in the Valleys”, where they both grew up.
Mr Hopkins told Express.co.uk: “Tom was confident Linda would never leave him, she was somewhat a shy Valley’s girl, intelligent, attractive, kind but innocent.
“She was very protective of Tom whenever something came out about him in bad taste.
“Marriage vows in the Valleys back in the day were adhered to – ‘for better for worse’ and ‘till death do us part’ seemed sacred… giving him licence to thrill!”
Linda rarely gave interviews but allegedly made a confession to Jo Mills, the former wife of Sir Tom’s late manager Gordon Mills.
Tom Jones’ wife Melinda Rose Trenchard, known as Lady Linda, died in 2016 from lung cancer
In the 2002 documentary The Real… Tom Jones, she recalled: “The strange thing was when Tom would come home off of a tour.
“When he was there she said, ‘When he’s there, he’s mine’ and Tom was… he was a lovely husband when he was there.”
Sir Tom’s former friend Bryn Phillips, nicknamed ‘the fish’, claimed Sir Tom had “been a wild boy” but believed Linda “shut it out of her mind”.
He believed she would have thought: “‘Well, Tom’s mine, simple as that, they are not having him’ – because he always goes home to her.”
Sir Tom’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment from Express.co.uk.
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.