Sir Tom Jones and Melinda Rose “Linda” Woodward were just children when they first met. It was a love of a lifetime and they embarked on a beautiful journey together. Unfortunately, like every journey, this one also had to come to an end.
Keep reading to learn more about their fateful love…
Sir Tom Jones and Melinda Rose “Linda” Woodward had a difference of only seven months between them. When they first met they were both 12 years old but it was three years later when they were fifteen that the famous singer asked Linda out.
Tom was smitten with her and would time his trips to the shop to coincide with hers so he could run into her. As for Linda, she had several suitors vying for her attention.
Later on in his autobiography “Over the Top and Back: The Remarkable Autobiography from a National Treasure,” Tom said he was in the right place at the right time. And he warded off all other competition as Linda liked him back as well, but he mentioned there was one guy who gave him fierce competition.
“And fortunately, she seems to be as keen on me as I am on her, so it happens between us fairly smoothly, without too much anxiety and heartache,” he said of the situation.
Tom was deeply in love with Linda even before their relationship grew serious. When Tom was confined to his bed sick with tuberculosis, he still had an ache inside him at not being able to see Linda. He said, “I longed to be with this person; even at 11 or 12 years old, I had a pain in my chest for this person. I couldn’t wait to get out of bed…and see this girl.”
When they were about 15 years old, Linda told Tom she had missed her period. While he thought she might just be late, it turned out she was pregnant. Tom wanted to marry Linda right away but since Linda had not yet turned 16 years old, she was not legally able to get married.
The couple also had other issues against their decision; like not having a place to live once they did get married.
When Linda turned 16 years old, their families allowed both of them to get married. However, they lived apart after their nuptials with their respective parents.
On Saturday, March 2, 1957 in a very simple ceremony that was in a plain room. When the day of the baby’s birth rolled around, the singer was not at the hospital with his wife. He called twice to ask after her and on his second call he was told, “Congratulations, your wife has given birth to a baby boy.”
He later visited her to see the baby and took with him some fruits for Linda along.
Tom fondly recalls how it felt like to hold his son for the first time. He felt a rush of emotions very deeply that he had never felt before. They named their son Mark Woodward.
In his life, Tom Jones has admitted to being a “lady’s man” in his song called “The Road,” released in 2008. However, he clarifies that he always goes back home to his wife.
The singer’s activities are well known, it was rumored that he entertained groupies and young women who vied for the singer’s attention. He also admitted to sleeping with over 250 women in a year during his lothario period.
Linda however, put up with everything. In an interview, Tom said of their marriage, “Our marriage overcame everything else. I never wanted to leave her and she never wanted to leave me…she said look, as long as you come back home to me.”
In an interview, Tom said even after 60 years of being together, the two of them were still very much in love with one another.
A romantic at heart, the singer even saved the telephone box him and Linda would kiss in at the end of their street in Treforest. When he heard the council was having it removed, he took it and installed it next to his pool in Los Angeles.
The couple used to spent months apart when Tom was touring or when he was filming shows such as “The Voice” in London. Linda preferred to keep a low profile and keep to herself while her husband was hounded by media and a very public personality.
Jo Mills, who is Tom’s late manager Gordon Mills’ wife says she believed had Tom involved Linda in his wife, she would have happily participated. Mills said, “I think from the very beginning, Linda was made to feel as if she mustn’t exist in his life. It is sad because she is a lovely person, very warm.”
In his autobiography, Jones revealed Linda was agoraphobic and suffered from emphysema. He also shared details of her depression which she had suffered since her early years.
Linda according to Tom had stopped looking and being like herself; she had lost her spark. However, she was still the most important person in Tom’s life.
By 2014, Linda had battled cancer twice already and in 2016 the illness claimed her life. Tom described her passing as quick since they caught the lung cancer quite late.
In one of her early cancer scares, Jones told his son if Linda passed, he would not longer be able to sing. To this sentiment, his son Mark said then they would have to make sure that Linda survived.
The third time she was diagnosed with, the family knew it was the last time and Linda was acutely aware that her time on earth was coming to an end. Jones recalls an emotional conversation with his wife where he said, “‘Linda, you know that this cancer is incurable, right?…Look, I really don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t see a life after this.”
She however, made both Tom and Mark promise to continue living. She told them to keep thriving for her sake and memory. She said according to Tom, “‘You’ve got to do it. You can’t fall with me. I have to leave but you don’t have to. You have got to carry on. You can still sing. You must promise me that.”
Before she was diagnosed she had a deep desire to move back to the UK. She asked Tom to fulfill this wish for her. Later, Tom fulfilled this wish and sold their $7.1 million mansion and moved back to the UK.
Linda passed away on April 10, 2016, at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Her battle with cancer was short but fierce.
After her passing, Jones felt inconsolable and aimless. He said, “She was the part of me and I was the part of her…Part of me died with her then. It has taken me a while to try and fight back and to feel whole again.”
He shared that he would see her or hear her while in bed but when he opened his eyes she would not be there.
Tom said he would never be able to marry anyone again and that a relationship was not on his mind. After Linda’s passing, Tom was linked to Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley’s ex-wife. However, he set the record straight and said the two of them were just friends who went out for dinner sometimes.
As for his career, he Jones admits it was hard to get back to music after Linda’s passing but his son and daughter-in-law encouraged him. According to Tom they said, “Look, if you do not sing again, you will die, you will just shrivel up and die. Do you want to do that?”
Four weeks after Linda passed Tom was back on the road again. He said he imagined Linda with his as he performed and that made it easier for him to do so.
He still has a hard time singing songs his late wife loved. But the singer finds solace in music saying he knows this is what his wife would want him to do. He shared, “music is saving my life.”
He also moved back to London to fulfill her dying wish. While it was too late for Linda to move back since she had been diagnosed with cancer, Tom decided to move for her.
He said they had planned the move and he did not feel comfortable living in a house he shared with Linda. “That was our house in LA. I didn’t feel comfortable there anymore. Linda wanted me to come back to Britain, she was always homesick,” he said.
He sold his mansion with all the furniture inside since Linda had decorated it and he felt sad when he saw the home she decorated without her there. Now Tom lives alone in the UK, near his son and his grandchildren.