Cliff Richard on why he never proposed to Sue Barker: ‘I didn’t love her enough’

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The 80-year-old returns to screens today as he features on ITV’s flagship show James Martin’s Saturday Morning, alongside chefs Sat Bains and Richard Bertinet. Sir Cliff remains one of the country’s most popular entertainers, having enjoyed a music career that has spanned seven decades. His appearance on the Saturday morning show will no doubt see him reflect on his time in the music business, but also on his love of Wimbledon – a tennis tournament under way this month.

The annual competition holds a special place in his heart, and Sir Cliff himself has become part of Wimbledon folklore – as he’s known for entertaining the crowds on occasion if the weather forces play to stop.

And his love of the sporting spectacle also means his relationship with Wimbledon stalwart Sue is also placed under the microscope, as the pair shared a romance during the Eighties.

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Sir Cliff has often reflected on his relationship with Sue, a former French Open winner, admitting he had considered proposing to the ex-Wimbledon semi-finalist.

The pair initially met when Sue was aged 25 in 1982, and saw a wave of media interest into their relationship.

This included an episode when Sir Cliff flew out to Denmark to watch the tennis player in a match, before they were spotted holding hands at Wimbledon.

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Speaking in 1983, Sir Cliff discussed the possibility of marriage with Sue, who he described as “the only girl I want to see at the moment”.

He added: “If marriage comes on the horizon, I shall relish it.”

Yet later in the year, the Summer Holiday singer said that it was “not vital” for him to get married, while Sue would confess that she “loved” Sir Cliff, claiming he was “great”.

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Writing in the memoir, he explained: “It is well known that Sue and I went on to have a close relationship for a year or more, I have only fond memories of that time.

“She and I never had a cross word and 40 years on, if I ever see her, our friendship is as deep and natural as it ever was. And that’s the way I know it will always be.”

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Sue herself has been appearing on the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon this week, where she has remained an integral part of the broadcaster’s hosting team since the Nineties.

She first joined the team as a regular guest on Today at Wimbledon with Harry Carpenter in 1993, a segment she would go on to host herself.

And since 2000, the 65-year-old has anchored the broadcaster’s 14-day coverage of the event.

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

James Martin’s Saturday Morning airs today from 9.30am on ITV.

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