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Daniel and Majella – an enduring love story in sickness and health 24.02.14

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 said.
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 (his) life”.
 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 2002.
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 brain haemorrhage.
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.
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