The ‘Devil Woman’ singer spent two years being investigated over historic allegations against him, and admits during the “traumatic” investigation, he barely slept and he still feels his career has been permanently damaged.
Cliff – who was never arrested or charged – said: “It was a disastrous time emotionally, so traumatic I don’t think I slept more than two hours at a time for two years.
“It hurt me so much I don’t think I can ever recover personally. I’m living my life again and it’s all in my past – but when I think of what I tried to build up in my career, I know it’s been damaged in places I won’t ever go back to.”
And despite being cleared of the allegations, the 76-year-old star knows there’ll always be people who doubt his innocence.
He told the Sunday Times newspaper: “Some people will always believe there’s no smoke without fire – to which I can only reply with something someone wrote to me: ‘Haven’t they heard of smoke machines?’ ”
The veteran performer isn’t “quite ready” to retire just yet, but he did admit his future is on his mind.
He said: “I’m still touring, my music still sells, and next month I’ll be 77.
“I’m not quite ready to hang up my guitar but after nearly 60 years in the music business, I’ve been giving some thought to where, one day, I might want to end up.”
The ‘Bachelor Boy’ hitmaker has decided to sell his beloved house and vineyard in Portugal because it has grown too big to manage and he has mixed memories of the Algarve estate because it’s where he was when he saw BBC aerial footage of his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire, South East England, being raided by police in August 2014.
He said: “It was here that I had the most terrible time of my life, but it was also here that I had the most beautiful time when it all ended.
“This place was such a haven for me. It didn’t change the despair, but I would rather have been despairing here than anywhere else.”