Actor Tony Booth’s late wife, Steph has opened up about her husband’s final moments 18 months after his death, revealing how her daughter Cherie sang one of his favourite songs.
The actor was with his wife and daughter Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair when he passed on 25 September 2017 in London aged 85.
Speaking to Lorraine Steph – who was Tony’s fourth wife – revealed that Cherie managed to arrive a few hours before he died.
‘She liked to sing and she had decided we would sing to him, as hearing is the last thing to go’ Steph said.
As the actor passed his relatives, including Cherie, were singing Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath my Wings.
‘It was so corny, but so typically Tony,’ she recalled.
‘Tony was a dreadful romantic, she added. ‘He liked things like Bette Midler and Roberta Flack.’
Booth said writing about her husband’s Alzheimer’s in her new memoir was ‘cathartic.’
‘The whole point of looking after him was that those moments were for me,’ she told the Morning host.
‘Not that long ago, nobody spoke about it,’ Lorraine said, calling Alzheimer’s a ‘Cinderella disease.’
Steph said she had very little support in the wake of Tony’s diagnosis in 2004, and was told ‘just take him home and look after him.’
The writer said she had to learn as she went caring for Tony.
In 2010, Tony suffered a stroke. He also had chronic heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
‘This new man was in the house and defined by his illness,’ Steph told Lorraine.
Steph had to quit her job and admits that caring for a relative is ‘a very lonely space.’
She said there was an assumption that ‘carers just want to spend time with other carers,’ but that she felt differently.
‘When Tony was in care center it was my opportunity to take my life back,’ she said.
Steph got a book deal with Penguin Random House back in June 2017, about three months before Tony’s death.
She told Lorraine she thought about forgoing the book altogether, for it was ‘too tough.’
‘I think it almost impossible to describe the pain of watching someone’s personality disintegrate in front of you, it’s indescribable,’ Steph said.
But she also said that through it all, there were also joyful moments.
‘You do have these other moments when back, and had my Tony back, and that was the whole point of looking after him, he was my Tony.’
‘He’d be very proud of this book and very proud of you,’ Lorraine said.
Steph said that Tony made her promise she would write the book.
‘It was too tough, I didn’t want to go back over things, she admitted.
‘He’d come back and haunt me if I didn’t write this,’ she said.
Steph and Tony had had four sons together and three grandchildren.
Tony was married four times in total and had eight daughters. He had Cherie and her sister Lindsey with his first wife Gale Howard.