Miss World 1976 Cindy Breakspeare shared a heartfelt birthday tribute to Reggae legend Bob Marley yesterday (February 6) that has sent tongues wagging.
Breakspeare, 69, shared details of the many places they created memories, alongside slides of herself and Marley and their son—Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley.
“Bob, on what would have been your 79th Birthday, I celebrate the incredible impact you’ve had globally, cherish our amazing son Damian, and reminisce about the beautiful times we shared,” she began. “From 56 Hope Road to your mother’s home in Delaware and Miami, New York, Oakley Street in London, The Bahamas, Trinidad and beyond. The memories are countless, but our love for you is endless. Happy Birthday to the people’s hero, loved and revered by all. ❤️💛💚”
Marley’s 1966 marriage to Rita Marley remained constant throughout his life, while he also had relationships with several women, including Breakspeare, who resided at a flat in his 56 Hope Road compound.
Their romance, which lasted six years until Marley died in 1981 at 36, has seemingly made the cut in the Paramount Pictures’ biopic, Bob Marley: One Love, set for release on February 14.
Photos taken on set showed lead actor Kingsley Ben-Adir kissing upcoming British actress Umi Myers, who plays the role of Breakspeare.
Interestingly, neither Breakspeare nor Jr. Gong were present at the Kingston premiere of the film.
Social media users have been expressing their views about the revealing birthday tribute. Of course, some are saying it is a bit much, considering that Bob’s wife, Rita, is still alive.
“Rita Marley was strong af cause I would’ve needed all the prayer warriors at them front lines for me 😮💨” one X user said.
“The details to location.. i understand y the girls fight cause mi? couldn’t see this! like i couldn’t be the wife reading this, cindy too outtanada!,” another stated.
Others supported Breakspeare, arguing that she’s entitled to express her feelings for her former boyfriend.
“What’s the big deal? Dude died over 40 years ago. They loved each other. Bob wrote “Turn Your Lights Down Low” and “Waiting in Vain” for her. And they had Damian. It’s not it was a secret. So what if she wants to express her love?,” one X user noted.
Another user chimed in, “Rita has long had her say and made peace with all this. To learn that some of you would have to spend less brain cells on this fake morality poppy show and like…read or watch a documentary.”
Over on Instagram, there were conflicting opinions, as well.
“Cindy did no wrong! Hold the man accountable!!!,” said @chefcharlyy.
“Well uncle Bob did an interview and said he loved both Rita and Cindy and he also said they live in harmony. So from then accepted their positions in his life then all I can say is he was the real Mr lover lover!!,” @addictiveone_gratitude added.
In a 2019 interview with Ron Fanfair, Breakspeare noted that her relationship was Marley was taboo, especially because of her class. She was, however, willing to take that risk.
“It was a bit scary because ‘uptown’ girls of light complexion didn’t have relationships with Rastas. I knew I was crossing that invisible line in the sand,” she said.
“I don’t think I need to explain to anyone what the magnetism was all about,” she said. “Bob was a man on a mission who knew what he was about. He was very purpose-driven, inspirational and influential all rolled into one. I knew that if I became involved with Bob, it would change my life forever.”
In 2014, Breakspeare spoke at the annual Bob Marley lecture at the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she shared insights into Bob Marley’s personal life, including how all the women in his life supported him during his battle with cancer, and her experience sitting at the back of the church during his funeral.
“During Bob’s funeral at the National Arena, I sat in the back with Cat and Donna Coore. There was no seat in the front row for us. I was definitely the other woman,” she said.
Breakspeare revealed that after Marley collapsed while jogging days after his final recorded show in Pittsburgh in September 1981, she and Rita accompanied him to Sloan Kettering in New York for cancer treatment.
“It was the best place for cancer treatment,” she emphasized.
The cancer, which they believed was in remission, had returned, affecting not only his toe but also his lungs and brain.
She reflected: “Looking back now, I think we were all numb with fear, unable to even assess what was happening. He was angry, naturally at this cruel twist of fate. To be cut down in his prime, confronted with his mortality.”
According to Breakspeare, Sloan Kettering initiated aggressive treatment with high doses of chemotherapy.
Upon Marley’s discharge from the hospital, Breakspeare, Rita, and Bob shared an apartment where they could care for him and maintain a sense of normalcy for the children.
Recounting that period in her life, she said this was no time for petty jealousy and bruised egos, “It was a time for One Love in the broadest sense of the phrase.”