Entertainment & Arts

Radiohead's Thom Yorke tells of 'hard time' after ex-partner's death

Thom Yorke Image copyright PA Media

Radiohead singer Thom Yorke has told of the "hard time" his family went through after the death of his ex-partner.

Rachel Owen died aged 48 in 2016 from cancer, and Yorke told Desert Island Discs his ambition is to "make sure that we have come out of it alright".

The couple were partners for 23 years and had two children, Noah and Agnes, before they split up in 2015.

Yorke also said he is a "hypocrite" for flying around the world on tour while campaigning against climate change.

The musician told the BBC Radio 4 programme: "The thing I've always struggled somewhat with, is if I'm campaigning on climate change, I'm someone who has to fly for my work so....

"I totally agree I'm a hypocrite but... what do you want to do about it?"

He added: "You can do stuff but the real stuff has to happen in Parliament and the UN, and has to happen now, we're out of time."

'Really proud'

Speaking about his relationship with his children, Yorke, 50, said: "I can't hope to be their mum but we're alright.

"I'm just really proud of them both. It stuns me most days. I can't believe they're anything to do with me. They're just such great people."

He said: "When the kids' mum died, it was a very difficult period and we went through a lot.

"It was very hard. She suffered a great deal and my ambition is to make sure that we have come out of it alright, and I hope that's what's happening."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Yorke says he could be difficult in Radiohead's early days

Yorke told the show: "I'm lucky now because I have a new partner who has come and brought a light into all of it, which has taken a great deal of strength.

"And really if all that's OK... If I'm able to make some music that expresses all that and is still important to people, that's more than I can ask for."

Yorke also spoke of how he found it difficult to cope with Radiohead's success initially.

"I got angry," he said. "I'm an extremely angry person.

"I put my hands on the steering wheel and I white-knuckled, and I didn't care who I hurt or what I said.

"Years later I sat down with the guys and apologised."

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 at 11:15 BST and is also available on BBC sounds

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