‘A lot of people said I’d relapsed and gone back into treatment.
But in fact, I’d gone back to do treatment, to facilitate the group, and that’s a different thing.’
The drink days were dark days which affected his whole family profoundly.
‘I hit rock-bottom so hard I couldn’t even function.’ Maurice recalls.
I’d become arrogant and argumentative and called my family names I would never have dreamed of calling them if I hadn’t drunk.
I hurt them so much.
I was Jekyll and Hyde; the children didn’t know when daddy was going to be all right, Yvonne would go shopping not knowing whether I’d be drunk or sober when she got back.’
It was a tremendous strain on their marriage, but the tough regime at New Life and Transitions helped Maurice beat the booze, and in February 1992 the delighted star paid tribute to Yvonne by staging a lavish ‘re-marriage ceremony’ to show their love.
But the battle wasn’t over yet.
‘I couldn’t get back any trust from my wife and kids until I proved to them that I was an example, and that took a while,’ explains Maurice.
‘I had to earn their love.’
One day Yvonne, whose smile can light up the darkest room, told Maurice that she wanted support too to help her deal with the residual effects of his former drinking days.
‘There’s a lovely lady at Transitions who has a one-to-one with Yvonne each week, ’Maurice tells us.
‘just to chat things through.
It means that, like me, she has someone to talk to who can guide her in different ways.’
Adam and Samantha have also benefited from counselling.
Adam is now studying the business side of music at Miami University and Samantha wants to be a pop star.
‘My children can at least see daddy in a good light,’ says Maurice.
‘He’s sensible, not stupid or incoherent.
He’s not falling over, he’s not angry.
Their bedroom and swimmingpool
Anger was the worst thing that used to come over me.’
And he reveals that he was banished other demons, too.
‘I used to be a little bit jealous of my brothers, ’he recalls, incredulously.
‘I suppose I had more anger in the old days.
‘I’d be jealous if I didn’t get as many close-ups as Robin or Barry on Top Of The Pops. Stupid, really.’
The memories amuse him now.
‘Sometimes I think, how on earth did I do that and get away with it?
Everything we said we wanted to do when we were children, we’ve done.
As kids growing up in Manchester, we’d dream that one day we’d have houses with swimming-pools all next door to each other, and that’s basically what we have in Miami.’
He and Yvonne bought the Esher house so that they’d have somewhere to be in England over Christmasand New Year.
‘We took one look at it and said; this is it,’ Maurice remembers.
‘It’s a cosy house, a family house, and family is everything to me now.
Because of the kids and Yvonne: the loves of my life.
I’ve pulled myself together.
The bad old days, hopefully are behind me, and now I’m determined that I’ll always be the person my family wants me to be.’
‘I used to look in the mirror and just see darkness,’ he says, and then jokes;
‘Now I look and see little cherubs with flowers flying round my head.
Well, it’s not quite like that, but I do know I’m one hell of a contented guy.