The Wanted Tom Parker star’s wife, Kelsey, sadly announced that the star died last week aged 33, following a battle with a cancerous brain tumour.
OK Kirsty Hatcher has had the pleasure of meeting Tom several times throughout her career. Here, she looks back on her memories and her moments with the incredible man…
When someone dies, you always hear people say how adorable that person was. But with Tom Parker, it really couldn’t be more accurate.
He had a heart of gold and lived life to the fullest with infectious energy and a cheeky personality. He also possessed incredible strength and positivity. Despite his devastating diagnosis, he still managed to remain the prankster everyone knew and loved.
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I experienced this when I visited him at his home and asked him how he was doing after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He said to me laughing: “I was better! That was the thing with Tom, no matter what he was going through, he always stayed positive and was a real inspiration.
As I sat down to write this tribute, The Wanted’s number one hit Glad You Came started playing on the radio and sent chills down my spine. Tears streamed down my face as I thought back to the times I had been blessed with the company of Tom and his amazing wife Kelsey.
From attending their 2018 wedding at Ridge Farm in Surrey, to breaking the news of Tom’s terminal brain tumor diagnosis in 2020, I’ve seen Tom at his happiest, and sadly at his lowest.
When I first caught up with Tom and Kelsey over lunch to find out all about their wedding plans, the love they had for each other couldn’t have been clearer. Their excitement about becoming husband and wife was palpable, and they finished each other’s sentences as they opened up about planning their big day.
They were truly the definition of soul mates. They even told me how they knew they were getting married when they met in 2009.
And when their wedding day finally arrived on July 14, 2018, it was of course filled with love and celebration, but more importantly, it was a party from start to finish in true Tom and Kelsey.
Whether it was dancing on chairs at their reception while their alliance played Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours by Stevie Wonder, or Tom waking up to the sight of Kelsey walking down the aisle, he no wonder they told me it was “the most magical day”.
Their officiant also made me and their guests laugh as she reveled in the stories Tom and Kelsey told her about their relationship.
This included Tom taking Kelsey to Nando’s for their first date, as well as the fact that he was so drunk the night they met that he mistook Kelsey for someone else and accidentally locked lips with them !
Their wedding day was also not without surprises. Tom serenaded Kelsey with bandmates Max George and Jay McGuiness with their hit Heart Vacancy accompanied by 18 dancers from Kelsey’s K2K Stars dance school.
Shortly before Kelsey changed into a white two-piece to perform a routine on Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love with her bridesmaids and friends.
I’ll never forget the look of pure joy on Tom’s face as he watched his new bride from a chair in the middle of the dance floor.
They then took to the mic to sing Glad You Came together surrounded by friends and family as they partied the night away. Jay had so much fun he even split his pants!
Tom really loved being part of The Wanted and there were memories throughout the day, from every table being named after one of their songs, to every guest receiving a miniature bottle with a Tequila Rose shot inside and a label reading Glad You Came on it.
After the wedding, Tom told me he hoped the band would get together one day, so it really made me smile when I saw them on stage together for the first time in seven years last month.
These fond memories all contrast with when I visited the couple at their home in South East London in October 2020 to interview them about Tom’s diagnosis and share the heartbreaking news with the world.
As I walked to their house, I knew it was going to be a tough day, but nothing could have prepared me for the sadness I would feel seeing Tom not being himself.
But even though his looks weren’t the Tom I knew, his positivity and strength were definitely what shone through.
He repeatedly told me with sheer determination, “I’m going to fight this,” and I truly believed him. Kelsey was just weeks away from welcoming their second child Bodhi at the time, but her priority remained supporting her beloved husband through his treatment.
I loved seeing how happy Tom was playing with their daughter Aurelia at their home, and how excited he was to welcome their first son soon.
Kelsey was Tom’s absolute rock as she comforted him as they tearfully opened up about his diagnosis for the first time and talked about their hopes for awareness as they shared the news.
A pillar of strength and unwavering support, I was blown away by Kelsey’s resilience when she told me, “I have to be strong for him and positivity is the best medicine right now.”
She never allowed her husband to know a prognosis, knowing it would only have a negative impact on him, instead focusing on the positive stories of those who had also been diagnosed with glioblastoma and had been living for longer. 25 years old.
I believe it was this positivity and the support of his friends, family and bandmates that kept Tom going until his dying day. I think his teammate Siva Kaneswaran expressed it perfectly when he said, “Thank you for letting us see you light up the world.”
Tom was a shining light that was taken from us far too soon. He will be greatly missed, but I have no doubt his legacy will live on through Kelsey, his beautiful children, and his bandmates.
Myself and everyone at OKAY! send our love to them and the rest of Tom’s friends and family. Rest in peace.
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