Vinnie Jones broke down in tears in his first TV appearance since the death of his wife Tanya, as he revealed how she told him not to grieve for her in a letter.
The footballer-turned-actor also praised Tanya for not seeking fame over the years while commenting on the current feud between footballers’ wives Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy.
Tanya – Jones’ wife of 25 years – was 53 when she died on July 6 following a years-long battle with cancer.
Jones, 54, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that he and their daughter Kaley found a letter from Tanya that said: “Don’t grieve, I’ll be waiting for you.”
He said: “And I believe that. I’ve got something to look forward to.
“If you turn a negative into a positive… and she’s waiting, so, that’s what you deal with. I think it’s the best way to do it.
“My daughter’s been strong, that letter has made my daughter very strong, she’s now leading and taking up the reins.”
Of the letter, he added: “I got her card, it said, ‘Vin, tomorrow something beautiful will happen,’ and in it she wrote that, something beautiful always happens to her that she wakes up with me, and I think with me, as much as I was a bugger, she felt safe with me, I could deal with it, whatever problem.”
Referring to the public row over alleged leaked stories between Rooney and Vardy – the wives of footballers Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy – Jones said: “The thing with Tans is, you look at the papers now with the two football wives…
“Tanya got offered hundreds and hundreds of opportunities to do modelling and do stories, and she’s never done any of them.
“She’s the opposite to these girls now. And people say to me, ‘What do you think of these two girls?’
“And I think it’s quite funny and everything else, but what about the embarrassment to their husbands? No thought of the kids.”
Jones said that hearing that Tanya was going to die from medical staff at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, where she was being treated, was like a “sledgehammer”.
He said he refused to let Tanya go to a hospice, and that he had not wanted her to know that she was going to die.
In 2013, Jones revealed both he and Tanya had melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, and he was later given the all-clear.
Tanya had also been treated twice for cervical cancer and underwent a heart transplant at 21 following the birth of her daughter Kaley.
They discovered last Christmas Eve that the cancer had spread to her brain, but she pushed through the festive period while in pain for the benefit of friends and family.
“That’s the first time we broke down together, and we were in the house and we had a lot of guests there,” he said, of hearing her diagnosis.
“She didn’t want to ruin their Christmas. So that was the worst time we ever broke down together.
“She wanted to get through the Christmas so they put her on steroids… It really puffs her out. She was unrecognisable, because she was a fantastically gorgeous woman.
“She went on the steroids to get through the Christmas… She was in and out of pain but got through it brilliantly.”
Jones was at Tanya’s side when she died at their Los Angeles home in July.
The couple married in 1994. Tanya had Kaley by her former husband – who Jones later adopted – and a son, Aaron, with Jones.
Jones, who won the 1988 FA Cup with Wimbledon’s “Crazy Gang” and made his film debut in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels a decade later, said that he is “keeping busy”, and that messages from members of the public over the past three months had “made a difference”.