Neil Diamond’s life now – tough health battle, marriage promise and years of therapy

No Brit can resist the temptation of singing Sweet Caroline at the top of their lungs – especially in the pub – as Neil Diamond’s hit single has become the unofficial anthem of British sporting success.

The American singer-songwriter has enjoyed a glittering career spanning seven decades, selling more than 130 million records worldwide. Neil, 83, has written some of the most recognisable songs in pop history including Solitary Man and I’m A Believer.

With BBC2 dedicating a night to the music legend, a Grammy award-winning member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame no less, we take a look at Neil’s life today…

Health battles

The star was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018, scuppering the Australian leg of his 50th anniversary tour. He went onto quit concert touring altogether, telling fans: “It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement… I have been so honoured to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. ‘This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”

A black and white photo of Neil with long hair, a fringed suede jacket and jeans

Neil’s first hit was Solitary Man in 1966 

Image:

PA)

Neil in later years singing in a red sparkling shirt

The star was forced to retire from touring in 2018 

Image:

Getty Images)

In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning last year, Neil told how it had taken him a year or two to come to terms with his diagnosis of the incurable brain condition, which causes shaking, slow movements and stiffness. “When the doctor told me what it was, I was just not ready to accept it,” he said, “I said: ‘Oh, OK, I’ll see you whenever you want to see me, but I have work to do, so I’ll see you later’.”

After admitting he was ‘in denial’ over his diagnosis, the icon said that accepting the progressive disorder has brought in a sense of calm to his life. He told CBS: “Somehow, a calm has moved in and the hurricane of my life and things have gotten very quiet.”

This isn’t his first serious health battle – back in 1979 the singer-songwriter had back surgery to remove a benign tumour on his spinal cord. The operation lasted nine hours and he wrote goodbye letters to his loved ones, convinced he was going to die.

Third marriage

Neil is married to music manager Katie McNeil, falling for his third wife when she was 42 and him 71. The star says it was strictly business when they first began working together. “There was nothing,” he told Mail Online. “She was just another business person handing me work to do and another business person I was trying to get away from. I stopped trying to get away after a year or so, once I got to know the person she was, and I liked that person very much.

“Katie’s got a big heart and she’s very transparent. I can read her heart from a mile away. She does a terrific English accent too, which makes me laugh every time.”

Neil was previously wed to high school sweetheart Jayne Posner, with daughters Marjorie and Elyn. That marriage ended in 1969 and he was married to Marcia Murphey for 25 years before their divorce in 1994 with two sons, Jesse and Micah.