Daniel and Majella – an
enduring love story in sickness and health
DONEGAL performer Daniel
O’Donnell has announced his first extended break in a
musical career spanning 30-years. The singing star said
he and his wife, breast cancer patient Majella, had come
to the realisation that “life is short”. It is another
chapter in the lives of a couple who continue to evoke
an enduring fascination among the public.
When Daniel first met mother-of-two Majella (nee Roche)
15 years ago, it broke the hearts of his army of female
followers. Many thought it wouldn't last, others feared
it would affect his music. But what they didn't bank on
was that the couple's enduring love for each other would
not only cement Daniel's popularity, but that singer and
businesswoman Majella, and her honest portrayal of her
battles with depression and cancer would claim an
affectionate place in fans’ hearts all of her own.
The first meeting: Daniel O'Donnell was already a
singing superstar when he met Majella (nee Roche) in the
autumn of 1999 at her parents' pub in Tenerife. "I felt
like we had known each other all our lives," the singer
The break-up: The couple
embarked on a long-distance relationship but as they
grew closer, Daniel called the whole thing off because
of Majella's divorcee status. "From a religious point of
view, this was something that posed difficulties for me
and I was grappling with my conscience over the whole
thing," he revealed. Majella respected his concerns and
was "happy to remain friends".
The reunion: Daniel "finally came to (his) senses" in
April 2001 while taking another break in Tenerife.
"Sometimes you have to overcome a lot of obstacles in
your quest for the best things in life. And only a fool
would turn down the opportunity to find true happiness.
I realised that I wanted to spend the rest of my life
with her because I loved her."
Happiest day: Daniel and Majella married on November 4,
2002. The entertainer said it was the "happiest day of
Daniel O'Donnell pictured aged 38,
on the first night he met future wife Majella (39) in
1999. He married Majella three years later in November
Trying for a child: Majella
who has two grown-up children from her first marriage,
revealed that she and Daniel tried in vain to conceive
their own child. They both became reconciled that it
wasn’t meant to be.
Depression: Majella revealed in 2011 her life-long
battle with depression. She described her horror at
coming off her medication and sinking to the depths of
despair. She said she would have to take
anti-depressants for the rest of her life.
Breast cancer: Majella announced in 2013 that she had
had a devastating diagnosis of breast cancer. She
underwent chemotherapy and had her head shaved live on
the Late, Late Show, raising an astounding €600,000 for
the Irish Cancer Society. Sadly the following month her
beloved father Tom Roche died in Tenerife following a
Recovery: Majella posted a
'selfie' from her hospital bed last Wednesday saying she
felt "great" after undergoing a double mastectomy and
reconstruction surgery. She appeared on Friday's Late,
Late Show saying Daniel's care and support for her
during her illness had reinforced him as her "soulmate".
Daniel's sabbatical: Daniel announced from New Zealand
on Friday that he will take an extended break from
performing of at least 18 months saying “life is short”.
He said he and his wife wanted to experience some things
together and didn't want any regrets in the future that
they didn't take time out. His extended break will begin
in February next year but he stressed to fans that it
was a sabbatical and not his retirement.
Daniel and Majella taking part in a
charity walk on St Stephen’s Day, 2013.