Vinnie Jones' heartbreaking final moment with late wife and 'sign from above'
It's been over four years since Vinnie Jones lost his beloved wife of 25 years, Tanya, to cancer.
The footballer-turned-actor was by her side through every step of her six-year-long battle, and in July 2019, she tragically passed away aged 53 at home surrounded by her closest loved ones.
Vinnie, 58, has spoken of his grief over the years and how he will never move on from the love of his life. In an interview earlier this year, the heartbroken star said he still feels 'broken inside' and recently visited Tanya's grave on their wedding anniversary, where he felt he was dealing with his loss 'all over again'.
Speaking to New Zealand news outlet Stuff, Vinnie shared: "Grief is a ghost... it's a blanket. It wraps around you and it pulls you down. You don't know when it's going to happen, why it happens. It just happens. You've got to try and get your head above water, breathe in as long as you can, because you know you're going to be pulled under again."
In 2019, Vinnie revealed to the Sunday Mirror in detail how Tanya spent her final moments. He opened up about how his soulmate slipped away as he gently kissed her and told her, "I love you, I love you". He ruled out ever finding love again, declaring: "She was the light of my life. I will never be with anyone else."
Vinnie was married to Tanya for a quarter of a decade and adopted her daughter, Kaley. They renewed their vows in 2007 and Vinnie wore his original wedding suit. He is adamant no one will ever replace Tanya in his heart. "I'm a shell. She is the only one... whenever I let myself down, or her down, she was always the strongest, the person who I answered to," he said.
Tanya and Vinnie both had treatment for melanoma. While Vinnie got the all-clear, Tanya could not break free of the disease's cruel clutches. She was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and was treated at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles before living out her final days in the couple's Hollywood home.
"In that last week of her life when the doctors said there were no more treatments, I never told her she was dying. We never spoke of that, I didn't want her to know. But she kept saying 'Take me home. Can I go home now?' She desperately wanted to go home," he said. "So did she know? Probably. In the hospital, I slept there every night and Kaley would come every morning. She has never ever slept one night in hospital without me there. I have always been by her side."
At home, Tanya was on oxygen and fentanyl. "We got some beautiful innocent moments in those last days," Vinnie said. "She would try and get out of the patio windows or she would wake up and look and me and go: 'You... you know.' Some of the moments would make you laugh. These were very special moments." When she started asking for morphine, Vinnie "knew that was the countdown".
Near the end, Vinnie would sleep in a room opposite to Tanya and they would blow each other kisses. Describing the moments before she died on July 6, Vinnie went on: "I woke up to hear this coughing. I had read a lot of books, you don't want to read them but you do, and I knew what that coughing meant. I flew up and went into her room.
"She was gasping for breath for about 25 minutes. We got everyone in the room, Kaley, her parents, her brother. We were all there. The nurse was giving her morphine. We knew it was the end, we were cuddling her. I kissed her a lot and told her I loved her. I kept saying: 'I love you, I love you'."
Speaking through his tears, Vinnie added: "It was all very peaceful, then her gasps got less and less and she went quiet. I looked at the nurse and said: 'Has she gone?' And that was it. It all happened so quickly, you are not prepared for it. So we sat there for an hour with her. We were completely numb. It was as though she was still sleeping. But she was gone. When she finally went it felt like Tinker Bell had released from her. It felt like her spirit was moving in the room. I got peace from that."
Later that night, Vinnie received a sign from Tanya. "We were outside until about midnight but I was the last to go to bed," he said. "With Tanya, she would always blow me a kiss and I would catch it and carry it with me. I went to go in and I looked up and there was a small white light up straight above me. I thought it was strange. It was right there above the house.
"So I went: 'Is that you babe?' But the light didn't move. Then as I went to go in, I turned, blew her a kiss and threw it. And the light that had been there went straight over my head, then it went across my vision, then up into the sky. That was her saying 'We are all done, everything is good. I'm up there, I'm going to wait for you'. I never believed in any of that spiritual stuff. Never. I thought it was a load of BS. But now I believe in an afterlife."