Cliff Richard and Sue Barkers relationship explored – short fling to sour feud

Professional tennis player Sue Barker had a brief romance with chart topping singer Sir Cliff Richard back in 1981.

Causing a media frenzy, the pair quickly became the talk of the town as the relationship appeared to blossom in front the cameras.

However, although the pair remained friends for many years to come, Sue later confessed that their break up caused concerns.

READ MORE: Cliff Richard refuses to eat before performances as he fears awkward 'wind' on stage

The Congratulations singer also received heat from Sue years later, who claimed Sir Cliff's constant discussion of their previous fling was inconsiderate and could have caused issues in her marriage to Lance Tankard.

So as Sir Cliff turns 82 today, Daily Star has taken a look inside his relationship with tennis star Sue

First encounter

Singer Sir Cliff first met Sue when he spotted her celebrating a tennis tournament in Brighton while he was with his Shadows bandmates in 1981.

After catching her eye, Cliff later asked Sue on a date.

Although at the time tennis player Sue was only 25 while Sir Cliff was 41, they enjoyed a brief relationship of less than a year with Sue insisting that they "hadn't taken it far".

In her book Calling The Shots: My Autobiography, Sue wrote: "When we arrived at the hotel in Tokyo, there was a telegram from Cliff, wishing me all the best in my matches and hoping to see me again. So I knew he was keen."

However she also shared that her parents were wary of their relationship due to the age gap.


Although their relationship hadn't blossomed fully yet, Sue was left gobsmacked when she received an unexpected message which indicated she had been dumped by the singer.

The former Question of Sport star said: "I got a call from one of Cliff’s friends, on his behalf, saying that Cliff just wanted to cool it. Our relationship was over. Really? He’d asked his friend to pass on this message over the phone?”

After receiving the message, Sue was fuming as she insisted that they had not passed the point of being just friends.

She added: "It felt to me like a friendship that had the potential to develop, rather than a significant romantic relationship, because we hadn’t taken it far — and I’m not just talking about sex."

Fall out

Although her short fling with Cliff was heavily documented in the press, Sue later admitted that she longed for the popstar to stop talking about their relationship.

In her book Calling The Shots: My Autobiography, Sue said marriage was never on the cards while begging Cliff to stop bringing up the past.

She penned: "The only thing we fell out over was the fact that he kept harping on about me in interviews — 'I didn’t love her enough to propose,' and so forth," Sue said in her book, serialised in the Daily Mail.

She continued: "This went on and on. It really upset me. In fact, Greg Norman had been much more important in my life than this brief time with Cliff.

"Yet it’s this relationship that is still hanging around my neck. It’s the one that just won’t go away."

Growing frustration

Sue didn't mince her words in her autobiography as she expressed that Cliff mentioning her effected her relationship with her husband.

She wrote: "If someone had told me that my relationship with Cliff would last a few months but I’d still be hearing about it 40 years later, I wouldn’t have gone near him," Sue said.

"Frankly, it looks silly now that he’s still talking about a relationship that was never really more than a friendship."

Despite their fallout the pair seem to be on good terms now.

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