The Tragic Ending Of Radiohead Singer Thom Yorke’s First Marriage

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Although rock musicians’ lives are often significantly different from others due to their fame and luxurious lifestyle, everyone goes through similar experiences when it comes to romantic relationships. While some come to the fore with their long-term and loving relationships, others make it to their press with their turbulent love life. However, sometimes icons appear in the headlines due to heartbreaking news, such as their partner’s passing.

Unfortunately, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke went through such an experience a few years ago. Yorke met his first wife, Rachel Owen, while they both were Art students at Exeter University. They had a son and a daughter during their long-term relationship of 23 years. However, the couple announced in 2015 that they had decided to split. Sadly, Thom Yorke was deeply affected by their breakup and her tragic passing a year later.

Thom Yorke’s First Wife Passed Away One Year After Their Breakup

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Thom Yorke and Rachel Owen met as art students at Exeter University, and their relationship began. While Yorke became a prominent figure in the rock scene, primarily as the lead vocalist of Radiohead, Owen worked as a photographer, printmaker, and lecturer. Besides creating artistic works, she was also a scholar in medieval Italian literature and researched Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy.’ Owen passionately taught many students art history and Dante’s works at the University of Oxford.

The scholar was a great source of inspiration for Yorke during their 23-year relationship. She was an influence on several Radiohead tracks, such as ‘I Might Be Wrong’ and ‘Optimistic.’ They enjoyed their relationship away from the public eye for years. However, the couple announced in 2015 that they had decided to break up amicably. Some music critics and fans speculated that there was a reference to their relationship in Radiohead’s ‘Daydreaming’ in which Yorke sings ‘half of my life.’

The Guardian reported that Owen had been struggling with some health issues but wanted to continue teaching anyway. Pembroke College revealed that the scholar had been battling cancer, and her health was deteriorating. Unfortunately, she could not beat cancer and passed away at 48 on December 18, 2016.

What Did Thom Yorke Say About The Loss?

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In a previous conversation with BBC Radio 4 program ‘Desert Island Discs,’ Yorke opened up about how he was affected by his ex-spouse’s passing. The rocker stated that losing Owen was a challenging process for their children and him. He noted that he put a lot of effort into this process, especially to make their children feel better.

Thom Yorke said in his words:

“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. My ambition is to make sure that we have come out of it all right, and I hope that’s what’s happening.”

For Thom Yorke, his ex-wife’s passing right after their separation led to a complicated process. He made a lot of effort to ensure that he and the couple’s children would overcome this heartbreaking experience and ‘come out of it all right.’ As the rocker mentioned, his new partner Dajana Roncione was the person who gave him strength after this tragic experience.