Louis Tomlinson has opened up about the death of his mother Johannah Deakin on his new single “Two of Us.” In it, he details the close relationship they had, as well as the pain he endured after she passed away in December 2016.
“It was something I needed to get off my chest,” Tomlinson told Radio 1 Newsbeat. “I used to lean on my mum for a lot of things – anytime I needed advice on something she would be the first call I made.” Read on to learn more about the One Direction singer and his relationship with his mother.
1. Johannah Worked As an Assistant on ITV’s ‘Fat Friends’ When She Became Pregnant With Tomlinson
According to One Direction Wikia, Johannah was born Johannah Poulston on March 25, 1973. She grew up in Dorchester, where she spent her teen years working as a midwife and an assistant on the set of ITV’s drama series Fat Friends. She gave birth to Tomlinson on December 24, 1991, when she was 18 years old. Her relationship with Troy Austin, the child’s biological father, ended ten days after Deakin gave birth.
Johannah and Austin clashed numerous times after their son became a celebrity. The former criticized Austin for attempting to capitalize on his son’s name, while Austin himself claimed that he was trying to reconcile with Tomlinson after missing out on his childhood. Austin was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, and told the Mirror that he’d like to reconnect. “Of course, I would love to see him again and have a proper relationship with him,” Austin said. “What dad wouldn’t? But it’s up to him.” Austin and Tomlinson have reportedly not spoken in six years.
Johannah married a second time to Mark Tomlinson, whom she considered to be the true father of her son and subsequently gave him his last name. The couple stayed together until their divorce in 2011.
2. She Remarried In 2014 & Has 7 Children Including Tomlinson
Following her divorce from Mark Tomlinson, Johannah met a doctor named Dan Deakin. The couple announced their engagement in 2013 and were eventually wed on July 2014. The lavish ceremony was attended by Tomlinson and three of the other members of One Direction. The couple had two sets of twins during their marriage: Phoebe and Daisy, as well as Ernest and Doris.
In addition to Tomlinson, Johannah had four children from her previous marriage, including Charlotte “Lottie” Tomlinson, Felícité Tomlinson and twins Phoebe and Daisy. In 2016, Deakin penned a tribute to his late wife, discussing her giving nature as well as the joy she took in being a mother. “Johannah was first and foremost a truly amazing mother to seven children,” he wrote. “Louis, 24, Lottie, 18, Félicité, 16, and two sets of twins, Phoebe and Daisy, 12, and Ernest and Doris, whose individual talents and success are testament to the principles and beliefs she instilled in them.”
“Incredibly selfless, she would always look to put other people before herself. She desired nothing more than for everyone around her to be happy and loving,” Deakin added. “She worked tirelessly on numerous charity campaigns, creating memories for many individuals and their families. It wasn’t uncommon for Johannah to hear through the media of an individual in need of assistance, and she would immediately make it her objective to get that person what they often desperately needed, and rarely without success.”
3. Tomlinson Considered Johannah His ‘Best Friend’ & Support System When He Joined One Direction
In the 2011 ITV documentary One Direction: A Year In The Making, Tomlinson spoke about his mom and how he considered her to be his best friend. He also said that he felt guilty about leaving her behind as he pursued fame on The X-Factor. “It must be so much harder for her because I am living this fantastic life, whereas she’s still in that old life but without me,” he said. “She always says that I’m like one of her best friends so it must be really difficult for her to not get upset and not miss me so much, I’m so far away.”
Johannah spoke with Daily Mail about her son’s success, and was happy he didn’t let the fame go to his head. She told the publication that she couldn’t be more proud of him. “He always asks me, ‘Tell me what trips they’ve got, where do they want to go? Let me use my money to pay for their trips’,” she revealed. “He’s always been like that. he’s not a materialistic person himself, but he likes to give people things. He spoils me and the girls and he’s happiest doing that.”
After One Direction exploded, Johannah used her platform to engage with fans and start various charities. She regularly gave interviews about Tomlinson, and together they staged the 2015 Believe In Magic Cinderella Ball. With the assistance of fellow One Direction member Liam Payne, they raised over $2 million for charity.
4. She Was Diagnosed With Leukemia & Died on December 7, 2016
Johannah was diagnosed with leukemia in May 2016. Tomlinson told the Guardian that he found out while they were attending the wedding of soccer player Jamie Vardy. “At Jamie Vardy’s wedding of all places,” he said. “Talk about your places, for something super-traumatic. My mum told me, uh, yeah, that she was definitely terminal.”
The singer also recounted how his mother handled the diagnosis. “I remember saying to her: ‘Mum, how the f*ck do you expect me to do this now?’ And she didn’t swear much, my mum. She’d always tell me off for swearing. And this time she was like: ‘You’ve got to f*cking do it, it’s as simple as that.'”
Johannah died on December 7, 2016 at age 43. Her death sparked a flood of support for Tomlinson and his family. Performers like Lady Gaga, Cheryl, and fellow One Direction member Zayn Malik paid their respects on social media, while a fan charity held weeks after her death birthday received over $5000 in donations.
5. Tomlinson Penned the Single ‘Two of Us’ As a Way of Grieving His Mother’s Death
On March 7, 2019, Tomlinson released the single “Two of Us” as a tribute to his mother. The lyrics to the track see him address his loss and the fact that he still misses her. “It’s been a minute since I called you/ You’ll never know how much I miss you,” he sings. “The day that they took you/ I wish it was me instead/ But you once told me don’t give up.”
During an interview with Radio 1 Newsbeat, Tomlinson said that the need to look after his siblings was what helped him get through the mourning process. He also said that he was worried about playing the single for his siblings, given its emotional content. “I’m not at the stage in my grief where I’m going to open the first verse and burst into tears,” he said.
Later in the interview, Tomlinson says that recording the track helped him deal with his mother’s death in a more healthy way. “There is a lot of fight in life and I just get on with it,” he said. “I’m quite a positive person but there’s no two ways about it – it’s sad what happened to me. [But] I don’t want people to get caught up in the sadness of it. The song should be hopeful.”