The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return

So many people seek fame and fortune, certain that they bring great satisfaction and joy. But as someone who is lucky to have both, I can tell you it’s not necessarily the case.

They can see you invited to grand events and rubbing shoulders with influential people, however glitz and glam doesn’t always lead to happiness. Having made headlines for 40 years, I’ve come to realise that the best route to happiness is, as Nat King Cole sang, to love and be loved in return. 

I can still remember how I felt when I first laid eyes on my now-wife, Joan, while she worked in a bric-a-brac shop in Westbourne Grove, in London. I fell in love with her from the first moment I saw her – not only was she stunningly beautiful, she was wonderfully down to earth, and even better, didn’t suffer fools.

To win her heart, I had to persistently hang around the shop and buy countless objects before we started courting – my favourite was on old advertising sign for Danish bacon of a pig and a hen singing after it had laid an egg, with a caption that read: ‘Now, that’s what I call music’; a phrase that went on to inspire the Now CD compilations. 

From the beginning Joan has been a very private person. She has always been keen to avoid the public eye, to the point that she had never given an interview until the recent release of my documentary, Don’t Look Down. But while she has preferred to stay behind the scenes, she has always stood by me mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Not only has she’s taught me the true power of romantic love, she’s also gifted me two wonderful children, Holly and Sam, and consequently four beautiful grandchildren, Artie, Etta, Eva-Deia and Bluey – who I will always love unconditionally. Loving my family, and being loved by them in return is the greatest feeling in the world.

Upon being asked “How do you measure success?” Warren Buffett, the third richest man in the world, once answered: “I measure success by how many people love me. And the best way to be loved is to be loveable.” I couldn’t agree more.


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