She loved vintage Dom Perignon champagne, Hoovering her deep pile carpets, and ‘proper’ fish and chips — which were not easy to find in Beverly Hills.
Most of all, she loved her gregarious, magnetic husband, Sir Tom Jones.
It was announced in a statement yesterday that Linda Woodward, 76, died on Sunday morning in a Los Angeles hospital after a ‘short but fierce’ battle with cancer. Sir Tom, who married her when they were both teenagers, is devastated.
Linda Woodward, 76, died on Sunday morning in a Los Angeles hospital after a ‘short but fierce’ battle with cancer. Sir Tom, who married her when they were both teenagers, is devastated
He had pulled out of concerts in the Philippines last week to be with her in this final health crisis and there were concerns that he would never perform again.
Just a few months ago, he admitted on the Jonathan Ross TV show that he would find it hard to sing after her death because so many songs remind him of her.
He performed Take My Love and was asked who he thought about when he was on stage. Sir Tom said it was always Linda.
‘[Take My Love] reminds me of the time when my wife and myself... were teenagers, we used to go dancing a lot in the dance halls in South Wales so that’s the sort of stuff we would jive to and we still have a jive now,’ he said.
Tom pulled out of concerts in the Philippines last week to be with Linda (both pictured) in this final health crisis
‘A lot of the songs that I do, the love songs I do, of course Linda is there and yes, she is the one.
'She wasn’t well a while ago and she got close to . . . we didn’t know whether she was going to make it or not and I said to Mark [his son] I said: “If your mother doesn’t make it, I don’t know whether I can sing.”
‘A lot of the songs that I do, I think of her when I do it so it would be hard, if she wasn’t there, to be able to sing.’
Sir Tom had been determined to keep her most recent battle with the illness as private as possible and had not even mentioned it to those in his inner circle.
A lifelong smoker, Linda had twice had cancer before, and had also been suffering from the lung disorder emphysema. Her health was so poor she required a stairlift, Sir Tom said last year.
Sir Tom had been determined to keep Linda's most recent battle with the illness as private as possible and had not even mentioned it to those in his inner circle (pictured: The couple in 1967)
Despite his famous affairs over the course of the marriage — and despite being launched as a ‘single’ sex bomb when he was married with a young child — theirs was an enduring love story.
He fell in love with Linda when he was only eight years old, and used to meet her at the local shop or the red telephone box at the bottom of the hill of their Welsh town while out running errands for his mother.
He pursued the petite blonde for years until she agreed to date him when she was 15, and liked to say the road always ran back to her.
It was a case of opposites attracting: he was a local rough lad, in the D stream at school with undiagnosed dyslexia. The son of a coal miner, he dreamed of fame.
She was bright, with a formidable work ethic and few expectations outside of South Glamorgan. But his talent took him far from the valleys — and far from her.
While he went out performing and, later, appearing on television as a judge in The Voice, Linda remained at their neo-colonial home in Los Angeles with a housekeeper and gardener for company.
He fell in love with Linda when he was only eight years old, and used to meet her at the local shop or the red telephone box at the bottom of the hill of their Welsh town while out running errands for his mother ~(pictured: The couple on holiday in Majorca in 1966)
In recent years she would only rarely venture beyond the front door, declining even to go out for dinner for fear of being photographed.
‘She’s quite reclusive,’ Tom admitted in an interview last year, suggesting she suffered from mild agoraphobia.
Instead she would stay in, watching TV and doing housework, which she loved.
Despite his famous affairs over the course of the marriage — and despite being launched as a ‘single’ sex bomb when he was married with a young child — theirs was an enduring love story
When Tom was home they would go for drives along the coast — although recent reports claimed that they were now living in separate houses.
Biographer Sean Smith said: ‘People who have been out to visit in Los Angeles or Las Vegas when Tom was singing there remember her as a great fun and not someone who had changed at all — she had no airs and graces. Tom’s like that as well.
‘She had become more isolated since Mark moved back to the UK with the grandchildren. There would be visits, of course, but she didn’t have family around her.’
A fear of flying meant that Linda had not got on a plane in years.
‘She didn’t go anywhere with Tom,’ says Sean Smith. ‘When he was home with her they would simply potter about, read books beside the swimming pool in the sunshine, that sort of thing.’
Was she a prisoner in a gilded cage? Perhaps. Sir Tom said last year that he felt she struggled with depression and had ‘lost her spark’, as she got older.
She even declined his offer to get a hairdresser to tend to her at home. Their happiest times, according to him, were spent laughing and joking on the phone, when he was away working.
He said he would look at a picture of her as the beauty that she was, and the years would seem to ‘melt away’.
Tom explained, somewhat unromantically, that they stuck together because they were from the same place and understood each other. ‘How do you walk away from somebody you get along so well with? What’s the point?’
Their love story began in Treforest when Tommy Woodward, as Tom Jones was christened, noticed a pretty blonde called Linda Trenchard.
When he developed tuberculosis aged 12, he had to spend months in bed, and would watch her from his window. He said: ‘She was a cut above me academically and a cut above me socially, too.’
Tom and Linda and son Mark move into their new home Sunbury in Surrey, July 21 1967
Mrs Vimy Pitman, a schoolfriend and neighbour of Linda’s, said yesterday: ‘She was very, very attractive. She was everybody’s cup of tea.
'She had a lovely figure and was the sweetest girl. She would never say anything nasty about anybody or get involved in arguments or anything.’
He left school at 15 and they started dating. Linda fell pregnant and married him shortly after her 16th birthday, in March 1957.
An initial test of the marriage came when Tom decided he wanted to move to London and try to get his singing career airborne.
At the time he had been working in a glove factory and singing at weekends. Linda told him to go for it.
He left school at 15 and they started dating. Linda fell pregnant and married him shortly after her 16th birthday, in March 1957
Sean Smith told me yesterday: ‘I think she was a very strong woman because she was willing to take a job in a factory and work to support the family while he went off to London to try to make it as a singer. Her significance in his story is often underestimated.
‘If she had told him he needed to put food on the table, I doubt that he would have gone.’
At first he was sold as a single man — early PR advice said Linda’s existence should be hidden. When she, and their son Mark, were exposed, she gave her only interview.
‘I feel alive when he comes though the door, whatever the time of day or night is,’ she said.
Jo Mills, married to Tom’s late manager Gordon, believes Linda always felt insecure about Tom and his fame — and as if she didn’t belong in his world.
She 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 was a lovely person, very warm.
In 2014 Tom suggested Linda's reclusiveness grew from insecurity about her appearance
'If only she had got that confidence initially, I’m sure she would have been very different. She always stayed very much in the background.’
There were, as is well known, other women. Starting back in 1960 when he was in a band, The Senators, Tom Jones had a string of girlfriends.
And when she heard about it, Linda minded very much.
His first serious affair was with singer Mary Wilson of The Supremes. They had a two-year romance.
One time Linda travelled to Bournemouth to confront him, but he had been warned she was coming and Mary was removed from his hotel suite.
His road manager Chris Ellis said that the next morning, after making love, Linda started to weep. ‘When I think of that bitch lying on these sheets!’ she exclaimed, bitterly.
He had another long affair with Miss World, Marjorie Wallace, in 1976. They were far from subtle, being pictured together numerous times.
Tom and Linda are pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport in 1992. As Sir Tom said last year: ‘It’s as if I have two completely different parts of my life: on the road where I do concerts and what have you, and at home where I’m with her'
This time, Linda resorted to fisticuffs to get her message across.
He said: ‘I stood there and took it. She chinned me. When she let fly, Dai [his then minder] just left. I said, “Go ahead”. She punched and shouted.’
Eventually he ended the affair. A dozen years later, model Katherine Berkery had his child.
He denied paternity but had to make a settlement. Linda said at the time: ‘I love him just as much as I ever did and he loves me.’
In 1999, just after his OBE was announced, a 21-year-old Stringfellows lapdancer came forward to say that they had enjoyed romps with ‘encore after encore’.
Last year there was yet another kiss-and-tell — this time by Charlotte Laws, now 54, who said that she was seduced by the singer at 18, and lost her virginity to him.
Another biographer, Robin Eggar, once explained: ‘What does matter is that he always comes home. For years whenever Tom has stepped through the door of his home he ceases to be Tom Jones, superstar and sex symbol, and instead reverts to being Tommy Woodward, the boy Linda married 50 years ago.
‘When he is at home Tom does what she wants him to do. That is her time, he is hers to command and it is a necessary haven for both of them. Linda is not married to Tom Jones.’
Tom with Linda and son Mark in Majorca in 1966. There was one blip in the marriage 20 years ago, when Linda said she was going to go home to South Wales
As Sir Tom said last year: ‘It’s as if I have two completely different parts of my life: on the road where I do concerts and what have you, and at home where I’m with her. But, you know, I don’t mind. Actually, in many ways, it rather suits me.’
There was one blip in the marriage 20 years ago, when Linda said she was going to go home to South Wales.
Tom bought her a 25-acre farm and neither seemed to want their separation to lead to a split. Within the year she had moved back to LA, and that was that.
In 2014 he suggested her reclusiveness grew from insecurity about her appearance.
In his autobiography released last year, Sir Tom revealed his wife (pictured with him in 1987) has twice had cancer scares, is a heavy smoker and had developed emphysema
He said: ‘She is not crazy about the way she looks. It has always bothered her. She never wanted her picture taken or to do interviews — she didn’t want to be part of any of that. She is even more like that now.’
Her fear of flying certainly led to even more separations in recent years. She had hated it for decades and, after 9/11, declared that she wasn’t getting on an aeroplane ever again.
Sean Smith said: ‘I would say that she has been the rock in his life, rather than the willow who bends, and it is obviously a colossal loss for him.
'Whatever you may think about him having been a Jack the Lad, their marriage has also been a great achievement.
'They were of the generation where your parents were together until someone died, and what they have done is follow that unwritten rule.’
The couple on holiday in Majorca in 1967. Sir Tom said his wife was 'the most important thing' in his life