Tom Jones Moved Away from LA after “Sudden” Death of Wife of 59 Years – He Lives Alone and Vowed Never to Marry Again
Tom Jones Moved Away from LA after “Sudden” Death of Wife of 59 Years – He Lives Alone and Vowed Never to Marry Again
- Sir Tom Jones fulfilled his late wife’s wish of 59 years when he moved from Los Angeles to London.
- Tom lost touch with himself after the death of his wife, Melinda Rose “Linda” Woodward, as he did not know how to live on, wake up in the morning, and continue singing.
- However, Tom said music “saved” his life, and he continues to perform because his beloved wife Linda would have wanted him to do it.
Sir Tom Jones and Melinda Rose “Linda” Woodward were children when they first met, with an age difference of only seven months. Tom, who was the older one, recalls being in love with Linda from when she was 12 years old, but he asked her on a date when she was only 15.
Tom, desperate to see Linda, would plan his trips to the shop to coincide with hers so they could hang out, talk, or go to the pictures. The “She’s a Lady” singer was not the only boy attracted to Linda, and he had to stay alert not to lose her to his competitors.
Tom Jones at home with his wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward in Sunbury in Surrey in 1967 | Source: Getty Images
In his autobiography “Over the Top and Back: The Remarkable Autobiography from a National Treasure,” Tom mentioned how he had to be in the right place at the right time to ensure nothing developed between Linda and the boys who would walk her home.
Luckily, Tom said his efforts paid off because Linda was attracted to him too, though there was one boy who gave him stiff 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.”
Tom Jones with his wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward at London’s Hanover Square in March 1965 | Source: Getty Images
Tom and Linda spent their first meetings talking to each other about everything. The singer would whistle outside Linda’s house to catch her attention so she could come out and spend time with him. One night, when everyone had gone to bed, Tom stood outside Linda’s house and sang to her.
Tom said that he fell in love with Linda even before their relationship got physical. He remembers lying in bed sick with tuberculosis, which had him bedridden for two years. Despite the illness, he could still feel a physical heartache from being unable to see Linda. He disclosed:
“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.”
Tom Jones and his wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward house hunting in London in March 1965 | Source: Getty Images
One evening, Linda informed Tom that she had missed her period. Tom casually told her that maybe it was just late, but he was wrong as they soon learned that at 15 years old, Linda was pregnant. With no sex education in schools back then, Tom said they had no way of knowing how to have safe sex.
On learning of the pregnancy, Tom and Linda chose to get married, but age and living conditions proved to be formidable barriers. Linda was legally too young to marry as she was yet to turn 16. The couple also had no place to live after getting married, as they could not afford to rent a place of their own.
Tom Jones with his grandson Alexander, aged eleven months, in their London hotel on September 3, 1983 | Source: Getty Images
Eventually, their families agreed to let them get married when Linda turned 16. However, they would have to stay apart after their wedding, with Linda still living with her parents and Tom staying at his father’s place.
On Saturday, March 2, 1957, Tom and Linda married in a simple wedding. There were no white dresses, morning suits, or people flinging confetti. The couple did not get married in church but in a plain room smelling of polish.
Tom Jones pictured with his wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward after arriving from France on April 8, 1965 | Source: Getty Images
Tom also spoke of the birth of his first child in his autobiography. He said that he was not at the hospital with Linda when she was in labor. However, he called in twice, and the first time, the baby was not yet born.
However, on the second call, he was told, “Congratulations, your wife has given birth to a baby boy.” Tom later went to see his wife on the evening she gave birth. He took with him fruits in a shopping bag for Linda.
Tom Jones and his family, wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward and son Mark Woodward, moving into their new home Sunbury in Surrey on July 12, 1967 | Source: Getty Images
Tom was shocked when he first saw the baby because the infant had a dent in his head. However, the doctors assured him that the head would round out as some babies get a bit squished during birth.
The singer said he could not forget how he felt when he first held his son. He described the feeling as unforgettable and an overwhelming rush that seeped right through a person. The couple named their son Mark Woodward.
Tom Jones and Mark Jones attend the amfAR Cannes Gala 2019 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes, France on May 23, 2019 | Source: Getty Images
Tom’s Affairs and Linda’s Battle with Lung Cancer
Tom has, on multiple occasions, spoken about his relationship with Linda. The singer had many affairs and confessed to being a “lady’s man” in a song called “The Road,” released in 2008. Tom admitted to having wandered many times but always returning to his wife.
The singer’s love for women was common knowledge. It was even rumored that he would entertain groupies and lap dances from 21-year-olds during his tours. Tom also admitted to sleeping with up to 250 women a year during his lothario period.
Tom Jones’ wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward at the couple’s home in Los Angeles on January 3, 1969 | Source: Getty Images
Linda endured everything, including the affairs, and Tom says that he is grateful his wife stuck with him for the duration of their marriage. In 2009, the “Delilah” singer said in an interview with Associated Press that the two understood each other:
“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.”
Tom Jones holding hands with his wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward in London in March 1965 | Source: Getty Images
Linda also supported Tom even during the times he spent on the road. Tom says Linda would call her every day when he was away. The couple was so used to each other due to Linda’s frequent calls that they would feel as if they were together as much as they were physically apart.
In an interview with CBC in 2015, Tom described Linda as a part of himself. He said the two were still in love despite spending nearly 60 years together.
Tom Jones attends the Brit Awards 2020 at the O2 Arena in London, England on February 18, 2020 | Source: Getty Images
Tom is also a romantic as he saved the telephone box Linda and he used to make out in at the end of their street in Treforest. He had the telephone booth moved to their house in Los Angeles, next to the pool, when he heard the council wanted to remove it.
However, Tom said that he still finds it hard to be on stage, especially when singing songs Linda loved.
Tom Jones performs on stage at the 02 Arena in London, England on March 03, 2020 | Source: Getty Images
Linda led a much quieter life in contrast to Tom’s public one. She preferred the solitary life at the couple’s home in Beverly Hills to Tom’s life which consisted of touring the world. The couple spent months apart as Tom was dedicated to filming “The Voice” in London.
However, Jo Mills, who is Tom’s late manager Gordon Mills’ wife, believed Linda would have led a more public life if the singer had involved her in his entertainment world. Jo said that if Linda had gotten the confidence earlier, she would have been very different:
“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.”
Tom Jones at home with his wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward and son Mark Woodward in Los Angeles in 1967 | Source: Getty Images
In his autobiography, Tom revealed that his wife was agoraphobic and suffered from emphysema. The singer also said that Linda had been battling depression since she was young and experienced mental health issues throughout their marriage.
Tom told the Sunday Times Magazine that Linda had let herself go and lost her spark due to her battle with depression. However, he insisted that even though Linda did not look as she used to, she would always be the love of his life.
The singer also said that Linda was smoking heavily, retreating into herself, and becoming increasingly immobile. Tom admitted that despite the hard times, Linda remained the most important person in his life.
Tom Jones and his wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward in Los Angeles in 1970 | Source: Getty Images
By 2014, Linda had battled cancer twice before the illness claimed her life in 2016. Tom describes his wife’s passing as sudden because Linda learned she had lung cancer when the illness was at an advanced stage.
In one of the earlier scares of cancer that Linda survived, Tom was so shocked that he told his son if his mother died, he would not be able to sing anymore. Mark encouraged Tom and told him that they would have to make sure Linda survived.
Tom Jones with his grandson Alexander, son Mark Woodward and daughter-in-law Donna in London on September 3, 1983 | Source Getty Images
Tom admits that everything happened suddenly and quickly after Linda was diagnosed with lung cancer for the third time. Linda knew that the end was near. However, the singer, who had canceled all his engagements to spend time with her, told his wife that he did not know if he could carry on:
“‘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.”
Tom Jones at the Bambi Awards 2017 show in Berlin, Germany on November 16, 2017 | Source: Getty Images
Linda encouraged Tom and their son Mark to keep going even after her death. She urged them not to fail her as they did not have to stop living just because she did. She told Tom to promise her that he would continue singing:
“‘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.”
Tom Jones and son Mark Woodward attend the 1978 Coty Awards After Party in New York City on September 28, 1978 | Source: Getty Images
Before her illnesses, Linda had a deep desire to move back to the UK. She asked Tom to fulfill this dream, and the singer did so when he sold their $7.1 million mansion and moved back to London.
Linda eventually died on April 10, 2016, at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. The doctors said her battle with lung cancer was short but fierce.
Tom Jones first public appearance since the death of his wife Melinda “Linda” Woodward. He appeared to fight back tears at the 2016 Hay Festivalon in Hay-on-Wye, Wales on June 5, 2016 | Source: Getty Images
Tom Said Music “Saved His Life” After Linda’s Death
After his wife’s death, Tom said he felt his life was over. The singer was so used to having Linda in his life as he told BBC sounds in an interview in 2021 that part of him died with his wife:
“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.”
Tom also said that dealing with his wife’s death was devastating as he could hear her voice and see her at night, but she was not there when he woke up.
Tom also described Linda’s death as “sudden.” He vowed never to marry again after his wife’s death. He noted that he was still trying to get over his wife’s death, and another relationship was the last thing on his mind.
The singer also said he could not get married again as he had no history with anyone else. Tom said this amidst rumors that he was dating his late friend Elvis Presley’s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley.
Elvis and Priscilla divorced in 1972. After Linda’s death, rumors circulated that Tom was dating Priscilla. However, Tom set the record straight by saying that Priscilla and he were only friends who went out for dinner sometimes.
Tom Jones (left), Priscilla Presley (middle), and Elvis Presley’s (right) in Las Vegas in 1968 | Source: Getty Images
In regard to his music, Tom admits that it was tough to pick up his career after Linda died. Tom’s son and daughter-in-law encouraged him to return to music. His son told him:
“Look, if you do not sing again, you will die, you will just shrivel up and die. Do you want to do that?”
Eventually, four weeks after his wife’s death, Tom went on tour again, playing outdoor gigs. He said he pictures Linda with him during the performances, which makes it easier.
However, Tom said that he still finds it hard to be on stage, especially when singing songs Linda loved. Tom added that Linda loved jokes, and every time he would come back from tour, she would ask him for new ones:
“I could just see her laughing when I told her one. So, when I think of my wife, I think of her laughing. She got me through that first show.”
The singer said, “music is saving my life,” after he went back on stage. He added music is more important to him now than before, as he knows that this is what his wife would want him to do.
Tom also made his wife’s dying wish come true when he moved from Los Angeles back to London. He explained to The Sun that his wife wanted to move back to London, but when she discovered she had cancer, it became too late for her to go back home.
Tom Jones with his wife Melinda Trenchard in Sudbury, circa 1967 | Source: Getty Images
Despite his wife’s death, Tom said he went on with the move because that is what the couple had planned. The singer also admitted that he was not comfortable living alone in a house he had shared with his wife:
“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.”
Tom Jones kissing his grandson Alexander in London on September 3, 1983 | Source: Getty Images
Tom added that Linda had been responsible for decorating the whole mansion, which made it hard for him to live in it alone. The singer put the mansion on the market, and it was bought by a person who wanted it with all the furniture, a request that Tom was okay with.
Tom now lives alone in London but next to his family, as Mark and his grandchildren live close to him. He says that Linda would have loved to move back with him had it not been for her sudden death.