Least surprising news of the week: Sir Cliff has a crying, talking, sleeping, walking, Catholic priest as his...er...."close friend"
Sir Cliff Richard has spoken for the first time of his close friendship with a former Roman Catholic priest he calls his "companion" and "blessing".
In a new autobiography, the singer and well-known Christian says he shares a home with Father John McElynn, an American former missionary he met on a trip to New York seven years ago.
Sir Cliff, 67, also says he twice considered marrying, first to the singer Jackie Irving and secondly to Sue Barker, and writes of his support for same-sex civil partnerships.
While stressing that "sex is not one of the things that drives me" he also tells of his seduction by Carol Costa, who at the time was the estranged wife of Jet Harris of The Shadows.
He also writes that he is "sick to death" of speculation in the media about his sexuality.
In My Life, My Way, Sir Cliff says that soon after they met, Father McElynn accepted an offer for him to help with the singer's charitable projects.
He writes: "That was seven years ago and our arrangement has worked out really well. John now spends most of his time looking after my properties, which means I don't have to."
The singer adds: "John and I have over time struck up a close friendship. He has also become a companion, which is great because I don't like living alone, even now.
"People often make the mistake of thinking that only marriage equals happiness. I may suddenly meet someone and feel differently, but right now I am not sure marriage would enhance my happiness."
According to the Daily Express, Sir Cliff also says he is tired of speculation about his sexuality, declaring: "What business is it of anyone else's what any of us are as individuals? I don't think my fans would care either way."
He also calls on the church to accept same sex marriages, saying the days when it was assumed loving relationships could only be between men and women are gone.
He writes: "In the end, I believe, people are going to be judged for what they are. It seems to me that commitment is the issue, and if anyone comes to me and says: 'This is my partner – we are committed to each other,' then I don't care what their sexuality is. I'm not going to judge – I'll leave that to God."
Talking of his former girlfriends, he describes Jackie Irving, who he met in Blackpool, as "utterly beautiful" and says for a time they were "inseparable".
In 1982, he met Sue Barker, the former tennis star and current BBC television presenter. He writes: "I seriously contemplated asking her to marry me, but in the end I realised that I didn't love her quite enough to commit the rest of my life to her."