Cliff Richard’s excruciating break-up letter to distraught girlfriend: ‘I feel pressure!’
Cliff Richard's ex-girlfriend on letter that ended relationship
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The Summer Holiday singer has been a fixture of the British music industry for 63 years. Last year, he broke UK chart history by becoming the only musician to have Top 5 albums in eight consecutive decades. During his time in the world of showbiz, fans have obsessed over his relationship status and many were outraged when he started dating.
In his autobiography Cliff Richard: The Dreamer, which was released in October, the singer admitted to having six relationships.
They included former tennis ace Sue Barker, who he dated for more than a year in the Eighties before realising he “didn’t love quite enough to commit” to marriage.
He also dated Jackie Irving, a dancer, who he considered marrying until his manager warned he could lose up to “25 percent percent” of his fans by tying the knot.
Sir Cliff admitted it was a struggle to maintain a relationship because of his obsessive fans, many of whom hoped to be with the singer.
In one extract, he described how one woman “scowled… threw her programme on the floor and stamped on it” after seeing him with his then-girlfriend Jean.
The singer felt pressure to stay in the spotlight because it had allowed him to transform from “plain old Harry Rodger Webb” into Cliff Richard.
During an early interview, the star admitted the “most important thing was to do exactly what they [the fans] want”.
He described himself as “a servant to the people” and on a number of occasions prioritised his fame over relationships.
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This was highlighted in a break-up letter he sent to Delia Wicks, a dancer he dated for 18 months from 1960.
Sir Cliff described her as a “great girl” but after his career took off, shortly after the death of his father in 1961, he sacrificed their romance for his music career.
Ms Wicks spoke out about the difficulties of dating the singer in the 2003 documentary The Real Cliff Richard.
She claimed the star’s mother, Dorothy Marie Webb, interfered in their relationship and even warned her: “Don’t get too fond of Cliff.”
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Ms Wicks claimed the caution was due to Sir Cliff having “his career ahead of him” and his mother knew he wanted to be a star.
After the remark, she fought back and said: “Well that’s up to Cliff, isn’t it? To make his own mind up?
“She said, ‘Well I’m just warning you, you know, telling you.’”
Ms Wicks claimed Sir Cliff’s mother used to accompany them to the “cinema and everything” and would often sit with them “in the front row”.
She recalled the heartbreaking moment the singer broke up with her less than two years after they started dating.
In his book, Sir Cliff claimed to have sent Ms Wicks a postcard “from every town” and they had “never been ‘committed’ anyway”.
The break-up letter arrived after the singer’s father Rodger Webb died from complications related to thrombosis.
It detailed how he felt he “had to leave” to go on tour in Australia and was responsible for financially supporting his mother and sisters.
Ms Wicks said: “I think that’s when the pressure started and that’s when he wrote the letter.”
She read out the handwritten note that was signed-off: “Dee, all I can say now is goodbye and don’t think too badly of me. Love, Cliff.”
In the letter, the star asked Ms Wicks to “understand the position” he was in and that he would “have to give up many things in life”.
He continued: “Being a pop singer, I have to give up the most priceless thing, that is the long-lasting relationship with a special girl.
“I couldn’t give up my career and besides, the fact that my mother and sisters – since my father’s death – rely on me completely.
Cliff Richard's ex-girlfriend reveals warning from his mother
“I have showbusiness in my blood now and I would be lost without it.”
In the lead-up to the couple going their separate ways, Ms Wicks claimed to have not “heard anything for a long time” from Sir Cliff.
She believed this was because “his father died” and he was struggling to accept such a monumental loss.
After Sir Cliff opened up about his devotion to the Christian faith during an interview in 1964, Ms Wicks could barely recognise the star.
She said: “I thought it was a stranger, I thought, ‘Gosh, what’s happened to Cliff?’ it didn’t seem to be the Cliff that I knew.”
Sir Cliff never married and has often remained tightlipped about his relationship status, since his romance with Barker came to an end in 1986.
In a 1993 South Bank Show interview, he said: “I’m happy, I’m settled but I’m not married.”
He told the Daily Mail in 2014 that he didn’t “like travelling alone” and enjoyed companionship rather than relationships.
Last year, Sir Cliff argued that “people often make the mistake of thinking that only marriage equals happiness”.
In his book, he continued: “I may suddenly meet someone and feel differently, but right now I am not sure marriage would enhance my happiness.”
Cliff Richard: The Dreamer was published by Ebury Press last year and is available here.
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