Belfast Telegraph

'Disillusioned' Cliff Richard has quit UK for good, says friend Hunniford

Gloria Hunniford
Gloria Hunniford
Sir Cliff Richard

By David Reed

Sir Cliff Richard has moved to New York because he likes the "anonymity" of America, according to his friend Gloria Hunniford.

The pop star (78) has previously told how the trauma of BBC coverage of the police search of his Berkshire home in 2014, following a claim of historical sexual assault, had left him emotionally drained.

Sir Cliff was not arrested and charges were never brought, and he won a privacy case against the BBC last year.

However, Sir Cliff has now chosen to leave the UK for good, with Hunniford telling The Sun: "Cliff won't come back and live here. He has made that jump now. He was very disillusioned with what happened."

She said that he "likes the anonymity in America", adding: "Some people recognise him but he does not get it all the time like he does here."

The Northern Ireland-born TV presenter, a long-time friend of Sir Cliff, said that he "loves coming back to perform occasionally and is looking forward to playing summer shows this year".

But she said she does not think he will ever return to live in the UK full-time again.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Sir Cliff has splashed out on two apartments in one of New York's wealthiest areas and is converting them into a £3m luxury home.

His new property is on the eighth floor of a 1950s block in the Upper East Side, a short stroll from Central Park, and comes with impressive views of the city skyline.

The building, which is staffed by a smartly uniformed doorman, is surrounded by designer shops and high-end restaurants.

Sir Cliff bought the first flat in the 16-storey building in 2005 for £1.2m, adding the one next door for just under £1m on September 11 last year.

Also listed as a buyer is Sir Cliff's friend John McElynn, a former Catholic priest from New York, who has lived with the star for more than a decade.

In October, they got permission to knock through the connecting walls to create one 2,300 sq ft property.

Sir Cliff, worth a reported £70m, previously divided his time between Sunningdale and homes in Portugal and Barbados.

He has previously spoken of how the 2014 raid and the following legal battle took a toll on him.

In November, he told LBC: "I think most people know that what I have been through has been pretty traumatic emotionally ... It's been horrible."

He added: "I finally feel that I came out of that mud and mire, and I'm here again and I'm doing what I'm best at really and what I enjoy most.

"So, if I do sound more excited, it's probably because I am."

Sir Cliff sued the BBC over the coverage and in July last year the judge ruled in the singer's favour, awarding him £210,000 damages.

He previously told The Jonathan Ross Show that he "would never wish that on my worst enemy".

A spokesman for Sir Cliff Richard said: "There will not be any comment on what is essentially a private matter other than to confirm Cliff's main home is in Barbados, as it has been for many years."

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