Engelbert Humperdinck’s New Album Is a 'Love Letter' to His Alzheimer's-Stricken Wife: 'Caring for Her Is What I Have to Do'
His wife, Patricia Healey, was diagnosed with the disease seven years ago.
Engelbert Humperdinck has sold more than 150 million albums over the past 50 years, but his latest record is particularly close to his heart.
The Man I Want to Be, which is out this month, is an ode to his wife of 53 years, whom he cares for while balancing his demanding tour schedule.
The 81-year-old singer married actress Patricia Healey in 1964. Their strong bond was dealt a troubling hand seven years ago when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“It's hard, but this is one of the obstacles in life that has been thrown at my family and I have to cope with it in the best possible way I can,” he told InsideEdition.com.
Humperdinck, who still performs regularly, says the thought of his wife's struggles sometimes brings him to tears, even while he's performing.
"It's difficult sometimes on stage when the lyrics hit you harder than it normally does and you think back on her condition," he said. "It sometimes tears you up and you can't help it. Now an audience will probably understand why I get more emotional than I normally do on stage.”
The singer, who lives in L.A. with his family, can’t leave his wife for more than four days at a time while he tours.
“Caring for her is what I have to do and I'm quite positive with results,” he said. “I always have a positive attitude in life. I always think nothing is gonna get worse. It can only get better. I'm getting her the best possible treatment she can possibly get.
"I'm always searching for new avenues, new places, new ideas of people who are probably qualified in that field that can help me. I'm searching everywhere. In fact, if I could find the Good Lord, I'd ask Him to come and help me.”
Those searches, he maintains, are essential when caring for a loved one.
"I remember one thing, when my darling mother was alive, wherever I used to go in the world, I would find something for her conditions. She used to say to me, ‘My son is not a singer, he's a doctor. He goes around finding things to keep his mother alive.'"
When he is out on the road, Humperdinck enlists the best care for his wife, including help from their four children.
The singer is still hopeful his wife can recover.
“I would take a holiday with her and take her into the sunshine or to Hawaii or to Barbados — wherever we used to go, you know — and bring back a few memories that way. Until she gets a little better, it'll be fine, you know. But I'm not going to go by myself,” he said.
He said he went public with his wife’s condition many years ago to raise Alzheimer's awareness.
“When people know that somebody is not very well and they pray for you, it travels through the air and it's like a spider's web," Humperdinck told InsideEdition.com. "It comes together and it gets stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger. It's like an electric current. I think it has a current that travels through the world and comes and finds its way into the needed spot.”
The Man I Want to Be, which was released Nov. 24, is not just a love letter to his wife. There are also songs about finding himself at his age.
So who is the man Humperdinck wants to be?
“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I am trying to figure it out.”
But he knows that, even at 81 years old, he's still hungry.
“I really haven't said to myself, ‘I'm here. I've made it,’" he said. "I've never been satisfied. That is not greed. It's not greed by any means. I think it's ambition. I think I'm striving for things."
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