Sir Tom Jones’s late wife would have been thrilled with his return to The Voice UK – as she was the most upset about his sudden departure from the show in 2015, the singer has said.
The music veteran had been a coach on the BBC programme since 2012, but was axed before the fifth series.
He is making a comeback in the new series when The Voice UK returns on ITV this weekend.
Sir Tom, 76, shared his sadness that his wife Lady Melinda Rose Woodward – who died suddenly of cancer in April last year – is missing his return.
He told the Radio Times: “When my wife heard I wasn’t doing it, she said, ‘So, you don’t want to do The Voice any more?’
“I said, ‘It’s not my decision’. She said, ‘You must be joking!’
“God bless her, she passed away before I was asked to come back. She would like the fact that I’m doing the show now.”
The Welsh singer and his wife, known as Linda, were married for 59 years and had a son together, Mark.
The It’s Not Unusual hit-maker said he had an idea of how difficult Linda’s death would be, due to her suffering a “scare” six years previously, but that the shock of it left him thinking he would never sing again.
Sir Tom said: “My son said to me ‘you love to sing, singing is your life’. And my doctor in LA said ‘if you stop singing you may as well just go in the corner and die because that’s what you do, so try and get back to it as soon as you can’.
“So we did, slowly but surely. I got together with some of my musicians and I realised I could sing. And then another thing I realised, it was giving me strength.”
He added: “When I would sing I could see her. I had said to her, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do’, and she said, ‘You’ve got to sing’. And I realised music would save my life as opposed to wondering whether I’d be able to do it or not.”
Sir Tom will be joined on the coaching panel for the sixth series of The Voice UK by returning coach Will.i.am and newcomers Jennifer Hudson and Gavin Rossdale.
Gavin, best known for being married to No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani and for his days in 1990s rock band Bush, said he sees the singing talent show as his “only” chance to improve his public profile.
Following his split from Gwen in 2015, Gavin – who also the father of Strictly Come Dancing contestant and model Daisy Lowe – said that he is hoping to emulate the success of previous Voice stars in the UK and in the US.
He said: “There’s Ricky Wilson from The Kaiser Chiefs, here. And Adam Levine from Maroon 5 in the US. They’ve all benefited.”
Of the breakdown of his marriage after 13 years, the 51-year-old musician said he does not blame himself and that Gwen, with whom he has three children, wrote to congratulate him on this new role.
He said: “She wrote to me, the only time she’s ever written to me outside of the kids, and said, ‘Congratulations on The Voice, you must be so excited!’ And I knew that took a lot for her to do.”
The Voice UK returns on ITV on Saturday January 7 at 8pm on ITV.
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