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‘The minute she saw me, she ran over, threw her arms around me and gave me the biggest kiss.I said: “Lynda, no one is supposed to know about me.” And she said: “I don’t care any more, I want us to go public.” So we did.’‘From the start, I was honest with Lynda and told her about my past.Lynda turned down Michael’s first marriage proposal, saying she was too old to marry again.There was, of course, no escaping her fame, even at their wedding.On Saturday, in his first interview since her death, Lynda Bellingham’s husband Michael spoke movingly to the Mail of the astonishing courage with which she faced terminal bowel cancer. Michael, 59, buried his beloved wife Lynda on November 3, ten years to the day they met. Lynda’s death last month from bowel cancer, he says, has left an unbearable chasm in his life.Here, he recalls the start of their love affair — and the strains it had to survive . Property developer Michael was a constant presence by her side as she undertook her final TV interviews and public appearances to say goodbye to her fans and thank them for their overwhelming outpouring of love.
She’d resigned herself to growing old alone — but meeting Michael on her trip to Spain changed everything.‘Then, one night, I was sitting in my villa reading a book and I thought I’d send her a text message, asking: “How are you doing?‘Bellers’ — as she was known to her co-stars — was an immediate hit with viewers.So it was with some surprise the mourners at her funeral heard — among the many tributes — Lynda’s fellow panellist Jane Mc Donald tell the congregation that ‘Bellers hated the show with a passion’.Lynda put a glass of wine in our hands and said: “Sorry, I’ve just got to watch this.” Suddenly, there were two Lyndas in the room. We ended up kissing and I fell head over heels.’To begin with Lynda, one of Britain’s best-loved and most recognisable actresses, wanted to keep Michael secret.She didn’t want her sons to meet him until she was sure it was serious nor did she want the fledgling romance to be the subject of gossip.‘One weekend my plane was late and Lynda was having dinner with friends, so I went to meet them,’ he says.
Lynda OBE: With Michael (to her right) and her sons Michael and Robbie (on her left) and stepson Bradley, she smiles proudly as she holds her OBE medal during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in March this year Neither was looking for love when they met.