Cliff Richard ‘never concerned with women or genders’ before Sue Barker relationship

Cliff Richard was 'not concerned' about relationships says expert

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The Summer Holiday singer’s relationships have drawn considerable attention throughout his career. Last year, he stated that people made “the mistake of thinking that only marriage equals happiness” in defence of being single. His book, Cliff Richard: The Dreamer, which came out in October, brought his rare relationships back into the spotlight.

Sir Cliff detailed six romances in the autobiography and spoke candidly on why he never felt able to marry any of them. 

While dating Jackie Irving, a dancer, he asked his former manager Peter Gormley whether tying the knot would impact his career.

He claimed the singer “might lose between 10 and 25 percent” of his fans if he got married but “would still have enough to be successful”.

This followed Sir Cliff admitting some of his fans were less than pleased when they spotted him with a romantic interest.

He claimed one “scowling” fan was so furious that she “threw her programme on the floor and stamped on it”.

In Sir Cliff’s book, he listed Irving, Delia Wicks, Carol Costa, Sue Barker and two other women, named only as Janice and Jean, as people he dated.

Very little was mentioned about his relationship with Barker, who stars in A Question Of Sport tonight, and claimed they “never had a cross-word”.

In a 2008 Daily Mail article, he claimed to have “seriously contemplated” marrying the tennis star but eventually realised he “didn’t love her quite enough”.

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They bonded through Christianity in 1982 after a vicar asked Sir Cliff to guide Barker, as someone who had found faith while in the public spotlight.

The couple played tennis together, which fostered Sir Cliff’s lifelong interest in the sport, although he knew she was giving him easy shots.

He claimed to “have only fond memories” from his time with Barker and described their connection now as a “deep and natural” friendship.

The relationship came to an end after more than a year together and Barker married former policeman Lance Tankard in 1988.

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Sir Cliff has often admitted that his true love was for rock and roll and his career denied him the ability to have relationships.

In a break-up letter he sent to the dancer Delia Wicks, he wrote: “Show business is in my blood now and I would be lost without it.”

Sir Cliff believed he “had to give up the most priceless thing” to be a popstar – “the long-lasting relationship with a special girl”.

The handwritten note surfaced in the 2003 documentary, The Real Cliff Richard, and others close to the star gave insight into his love life.

The show claimed he “seemed to shy away from the girls” in an attempt to “stay faithful to his loyal, adoring and possessive fans”.

In 1963, Sir Cliff released the hit Bachelor Boy, which included the lyrics: “Happy to be a bachelor boy until my dying day.”

Tito Burns, the singer’s former manager in the Fifties, claimed the star was never interested in finding a long-lasting relationship in one clip.

He said: “He never had a girlfriend, you know, I keep reading ‘She was the girlfriend’ but he was not concerned with any of that. 

Cliff Richard's ex-girlfriend on letter that ended relationship

“The genders don’t mean a thing to him… he’s not concerned about women, [he] never was.”

Tony Meehan, Sir Cliff’s former bandmate from The Shadows, gave an alternative theory.

He said: “Cliff had a very, very close relationship with his mother, which I think precluded any chance, ever, of there being a girlfriend.”

The claims were supported by Ms Wicks, who claimed Sir Cliff’s mother, Dorothy Marie Webb, warned her “don’t get too fond of” him because he had “his career ahead of him”.

She recalled: “I said, ‘Well, that’s up to Cliff, isn’t it? To make his own mind up and she said, ‘Well I’m just warning you, you know, telling you.’”

Ms Wicks noted the close relationship Sir Cliff had with his mother, which was further cemented after his father Rodger Webb’s death in 1961.

During their romance, she claimed Ms Webb would “come to the cinema and everything” with them.

In the break-up letter Sir Cliff sent to Ms Wicks, he explained that his mother and three sisters “rely on me completely” for support. 

He signed off the note: “Dee, all I can say now is goodbye, and don’t think too badly of me. Love, Cliff.” 

Since Sir Cliff’s relationship with Barker, which ended in the Eighties, he has not been known to have dated again. 

Cliff Richard: The Dreamer was published by Ebury Press in October and is available here. 

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