Vinnie Jones recalls late wife Tanya's heartbreaking letter after losing her to six-year cancer battle
The 54-year-old actor said his wife's death felt like being hit with a "sledgehammer" after she was told the cancer had spread to her brain on Christmas Eve.
Vinnie Jones has opened up about the moving letter his late wife Tayna wrote to their daughter before her untimely death in July this year following a six-year battle with cancer.
In his first television interview since her death, the 'Snatch' actor struggled to contain his emotions when reflecting on the letter that Tanya, whom he refers to as ‘Tans’, wrote to their daughter Kaley, 32.
“That [letter] said, ‘Don’t grieve, I will be waiting for you," he said.
Vinnie said his belief that he'll meet his wife again in the afterlife is helping him with his grief.
He said: "I’ve got something to look forward to...and she’s waiting. That’s what you deal with, that’s the best way to do it. That letter has made my daughter very strong. She’s now leading and taking up the reigns.”
Speaking about a card that Tanya had written to him, he said she wrote: “Vin, tomorrow something beautiful will happen. And in it [the letter] she wrote that something beautiful always happens up to her, she wakes up to me.’”
Tanya - who also had a heart transplant at the age of 21 - was treated for melanoma in 2013 but went on to fight three types of cancer before her death in July.
Reflecting on the moment the family were told that Tanya was nearing the end of her life, Vinnie said that Cedars-Sinai had a room where family were called in to be given a prognosis.
He referred to it as the “bad news room, you never want to go in there.”
“I flew her mum and dad over and they took us in [the room] and that’s when you kind of know something bad is going to come out now,” he said. “It’s a sledgehammer hitting you, you deal with it there, it’s all so surreal."
The couple were married for 27 years and remained devoted to one another, with Vinnie opting to look care for Tanya at home after medical staff spoke about transferring Tanya to a hospice.
“I said, ‘She ain't going [to] no hospice.'” he said, claiming that Tanya had been in intensive care three times a week or two weeks each time.
“Over the years, all the hospital treatments and that, I’ve slept in a room with her every night. There was no way you’d leave her in there."
He added: “She’d always say to me, ‘You’ll look after me Vin, won’t you.’ That’s the hardest thing, you can’t fulfil your promise.”
He also revealed that the couple both broke down on Christmas Eve when they were told the cancer had spread to her brain – but that Tanya was determined not to spoil Christmas for their friends and family.
Speaking about what life has been like since his wife's death, Vinnie explained he's found it hard to come to terms with the idea of moving on, explaining he had been "keeping busy" in a bid to deal with his grief.
He said: “The hardest part of all for me to adjust to is – even that day [she died] – was everybody’s life goes on. You’re looking around and you’re going ‘this is the biggest tragedy of my life and they’re still going to work, they’re they’re still queuing up for Starbucks.’ The enormity of it all is just heavy.”
Despite his ongoing grief, the father-of-two said messages from well-wishers had been lifting his spirits.
“We’ve had some unbelievable emails and messages… and it’s made a difference,” he told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.
“Whenever you think you’ve got a problem, and however bad it is, or however hard it is, there is always somebody around the corner with worse or bigger problems. That’s why you have to talk about it."