Cilla Black has revealed that she prevented her late husband Bobby from becoming a hit singer himself, when her manager Brian Epstein was so impressed with Bobby's backing vocals for her, he offered the Liverpudlian lad his own contract.
The singer and longtime TV presenter tells The Mirror, "Brian genuinely wanted him to sign. He was a good looking boy, a natural platinum blond.
Cilla with Bobby on their wedding day in 1969
“But I made him say no. There was only room for one ego in our relationship – and this ego had landed. I knew it couldn’t work.
“So he had to chose. I felt terrible about it, but...”
Cilla, whose rise to fame in the 1960s is told in the new ITV biopic 'Cilla' starring Sheridan Smith as herself, admits it's been heartbreaking watching Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard play her husband Bobby, who died of lung cancer in 1999.
“I think Aneurin got the essence of Bobby perfectly. There’s a scene where I make him come on stage with me and hold my hand because I’m too nervous. It was exactly right, like a snapshot from my past.
Aneurin Barnard and Sheridan Smith as Bobby Willis and Cilla Black
“Aneurin was just magnificent as Bobby – and I got quite emotional over that. Seeing how it all started for us. Then missing him...”
Cilla has also praised Sheridan Smith's performance in the title role, saying, "When she sang Anyone Who Had a Heart – fantastic. In the end I thought it was me!"
Cilla's years in Liverpool, Bobby and the Beatles at her side...
The ITV drama, penned by 'Philomena' and 'Appropriate Adult' writer Jeff Pope, tells the story of Cilla's breakthrough in the famous Cavern Club of 1960s Liverpool. It details her friendship with the Beatles, as well as her struggles with her manager Brian Epstein, and her shock over his suicide in 1967, just as he was negotiating a new deal for her to star in her own show on TV. In fact, her contract was found by his bedside. Cilla later fulfilled the contract, and become one of British television's highest-paid stars.
'Cilla' will start on ITV on 15 September. Pictures below...