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Thom Yorke opens up about death of former partner in emotional ‘Desert Island Discs’ interview

The emotive Desert Island Discs will air later today

Thom Yorke has opened up about the death of his former partner in an emotional Desert Island Discs interview with Lauren Laverne.

The Radiohead frontman spoke about the “hard time” he and his family went through after his former partner, Rachel Owen, died from cancer in 2016 aged 48. Prior to separating in 2015, the pair had two children together and were partners for 23 years.

As reported in The Guardian, when asked about being a father Yorke told Laverne: “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.”

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He continued: “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 all right, and I hope that’s what’s happening.

“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 okay…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.”

Thom Yorke’s appearance on Desert Island Discs with Lauren Laverne airs later today

Elsewhere in the interview, which is due to air later today (September 22), Yorke spoke about the difficulty he has in being a passionate campaigner for climate change whilst also travelling around the world touring.

Yorke said: “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’m a hypocrite. I totally agree I’m a hypocrite but…what do you want to do about it?”

He added: “The truth of the matter is we’re all part of a system. It’s a systemic thing that has to change. 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.”

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Yorke also opened up about how R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe helped him to deal with Radiohead’s fame in the early stages of their career.

Yorke said Stipe “helped me when things went crazy, when people started to talk to me like I was Jesus…on the street.”

On Radiohead’s early fame, Yorke added: “I got angry. I’m an extremely angry person. I got more control-freakery. I put my hands on the steering wheel and I was white-knuckled, and I didn’t care who I hurt or what I said…Years later I sat down with the guys and apologised. By the time we got to recording OK Computer the doors had opened up and we had the best time doing that record.”

Thom Yorke recently shared a new EP compiling four remixes of his ANIMA’ song ‘Not The News’. The collection features a six-minute extended mix of the track as well as reworks from Mark Pritchard, Clark and Equiknoxx with Time Cow & Gavsborg.

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