Pop star Sir Cliff Richard has spoken out after a wave of speculation about his sexuality.
Earlier this week he published his autobiography My Life, My Way, in which he revealed that he has shared his life with a former Roman Catholic priest for the last seven years.
Sir Cliff, 67, is one of the UK’s best-known Christians, said he met Father John McElynn in 2001, who shares his home and has become a companion.
Now the singer has hit back at the rumours, and opened up about his fear of living alone.
“I like to think that all the innuendo goes over my head, although I still get annoyed sometimes,” he told the Daily Mail.
“It used to worry me a lot because it’s just not fair on the other party. OK, I have to put up with it, but they don’t.
“We are all flesh and blood, and if I’d got married I would be living with my wife full time. But I haven’t and that’s why I have chosen another way of getting through my life - and this is the way I’m going to go on.
“I don’t have to justify anything, and that way the rumour-mongers don’t have any power over me. It’s quite a nice feeling.”
Sir Cliff began his career in the 1950s and has scored UK number ones in every decade since.
His notoriously loyal fanbase has ensured his popularity well into his sixties – My Life, My Way is expected to be a bestseller.
Yet despite his fame the multi-millionaire needs constant companionship.
“I don’t like living alone, so it’s nice if someone is there with me,” explains Cliff told the Mail.
“I don’t like travelling alone, being alone, eating alone, doing anything alone.
“I have never lived on my own and there’s always been someone with me, either fellow musicians or friends.
“It would be my idea of hell to end up alone and living in an old people’s home. John shares my passion for tennis and is a great, great guy.
“He will always be able to work as a priest whenever he wants, but at the moment his job is to look after my properties abroad.”