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‘Children would have got in the way’

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iol lif feb 18  Cliff Richard

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Sir Cliff Richard struts his stuff on stage with Hank Marvin in the Background to a pack audience - Cliff Richard and The Shadows 50th Aniversary Reunion Tour at the Kirstenbosch Gardens. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

London - Sir Cliff Richard has admitted that he never wanted children because starting a family would have got in the way of his career.

The 72-year-old star said that, while he believes he would have been a good father, he doesn’t regret his decision.

Speaking to The Lady magazine (www.lady.co.uk), the singer, who is preparing to tour again, said: “Being completely honest, it’s never bothered me.

“My three sisters have children, and it’s been wonderful to watch them grow up, get married and start families of their own.

“I’ve made sure I’ve always played a part in their lives. So while I think I would have been a good father, I’ve given myself to my family and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My ‘freedom’ allows me to continue my career. Had I been married and with children I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now – I wouldn’t want to do what I do now.”

Sir Cliff had his first hit in 1958, when he was 18. He has gone on to sell more than 20million records in the UK and is the only artist to have had a No 1 record in each of the five decades from the 1950s to the 1990s. He is preparing to hit the road again in June for his UK Midsummer Nights tour.

He has put his extraordinary longevity as a performer down to a strict diet and a punishing exercise regime as well as avoiding drink and drugs.

And the singer, who is a committed Christian, has now admitted that as a young performer in the 1950s and 1960s he was so naive about drugs that he had no idea that other stars were freely using illegal substances backstage. However, he said he was never tempted to take drugs, fearing that it would end his career and stop him “living the dream”.

“Growing up in the 1950s, the world was a very different place,” he said.

“Drugs weren’t as commonplace as they are now, but they were still around, I just didn’t know what they were and now when I think back I realise that the smell backstage wasn’t herbal cigarettes.

“After ten years in that environment, I started to think, ‘Is this how I’m going to end up?’ and I certainly didn’t want anything to cut my life short.

“I was having a fantastic time performing. I’d have been devastated if anything had stopped me living my dream.

“My faith has kept me sensible and shielded me from a lot of problems that someone with my fame could have encountered.”

Sir Cliff has remained single for much of his career, despite dating several women as a young star.

He had a brief fling with Carol Costa, the ex-wife of his former Shadows bandmate, Jet Harris during the 1950s.

He has also been linked to former tennis player and BBC presenter Sue Barker.

Two years ago, it was also revealed that when he was 21 he had split from Delia Wicks, his girlfriend of 18 months, saying in a letter to her that he had to put his pop career before any lasting relationship.

In the letter, dated October 1961, he wrote: “I couldn’t give up my career, besides the fact that my mother and sisters, since my father’s death, rely on me completely.

“I have showbiz in my blood now and I would be lost without it.” - Daily Mail

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