Shameless star Tina Malone reveals final text from husband before his tragic suicide

Tina wed husband Paul Chase in 2010
Tina wed husband Paul Chase in 2010 -Credit:The Mirror

The poignancy of Tina Malone's husband's declaration of unwavering love for her and their daughter Flame was profoundly moving.

Paul Chase was a man who had endured unimaginable atrocities during his ten years with the 22nd Regiment of the Cheshires in war-torn regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, he spoke to his spouse with immense gentleness, referring to her as "Tina, my amazing wife."

He said: "The most amazing woman I've ever met, I love you unconditionally you gave us our beautiful daughter... I love you Flame more than you'll ever know."

However, the heartbreak unfolded when Tina first read this heartfelt message to her and 10 year old, Flame, on March 13, amidst the grim setting of police officers in her Liverpool living room, the blue lights of their vehicles flashing ominously outside, as she was informed that her husband, aged 41, had not returned home that evening and was now deceased.

Struggling with the PTSD inflicted by his military service, he had tragically ended his own life. Tina confesses: "It's the first time I've said it and confirmed it. Paul did commit suicide", reports the Mirror.

To find out about mental health support for veterans go to Icarus or for urgent help call the Samaritans’ 24 hour helpline on 116123.

In a candid interview with the Mirror, Tina has made the decision to share the circumstances of Paul's passing. Speaking exclusively, she disclosed: "His last texts were sent at about 4am but I have an old phone and they didn't come through straight away. When they finally arrived the police were already at my house breaking the news that he'd gone."

In his final text message to Tina and Flame, who were on the cusp of leaving for the school run when the police arrived, he apologised to his young daughter with these poignant words: "I am sorry I left you, you lit up my life every time I saw you. I'm sorry."

Tina Malone has opened up about her husband's tragic death from suicide
Mirror OK - Tina Malone - Words by Sue Lee - Tina Malone talks about her life with daughter Flame in Liverpool after losing husband Paul Chase to suicide. 11.5.2024 Picture by Tim Merry -Credit:Tim Merry/Mirror Express

He also begged his wife with these heartfelt words: "Tina, please forgive me and one day when you are up here with me we will meet again. Xxx I love you Tina, I will visit you when I find a way. I am sorry my love, you made my life perfect, throughout the chaos. Xxx I will come and visit you and Flame in spirit. Please forgive me xxx".

Tina Malone, famous from her roles in Brookside playing Mo McGee and Shameless in the character of Mimi Maguire, has been dealing with debilitating grief. However, Tina plans to utilise the same audacious spirit she used to portray her characters to advocate for those who are struggling.

Marking Paul's birthday on May 28, Tina is establishing a charitable foundation named 'Paul's Flame'. She explains: "It's a very different charity with a board of 12 and it's going to shine the light on people in poverty, in crisis, in need, who need cold, hard, cash. It's the hardest time of my life, but I have to bring some positivity out of this."

But maintaining a positive outlook proves difficult. She confesses: "We'd been through hell in the 12 months before he died. He had felt so lost, so useless. He couldn't fight any more. I'm not ashamed of what Paul did. I will always be proud of the man I married."

"We have to talk more about suicide - that's why I am speaking out now. It is the biggest cause of death in men under the age of 50 but there is still a stigma around it; there's not enough support. But I don't want Flame to be defined as the daughter of a man who took his own life, but as the daughter of a wonderful dad and a man who served his country."

Tina with her 10-year-old daughter Flame
Tina with her 10-year-old daughter Flame -Credit:Tim Merry/Mirror Express

Recalling her first encounter with Paul, dubbed 'Chevy' by his Army buddies due to his last name Chase, at a fitness boot camp in 2009, Tina admits, "It wasn't love at first sight - I hated him! " She elucidates, "He was a personal trainer and he'd knock on my door in this building in the Peak District and go: 'right - you've got 15 minutes to get downstairs. You're late.'".

She continues: "I thought - 'hang on, I'm being paid to be here. If I don't want to go white water rafting I don't have to! ' He got on my nerves so much that after three days I thought, 'that's it, I'm going home'."

However, things soon took a different turn as she was encouraged to stay, and their relationship started to heat up. On an eight-hour walk on the final day, she shares, "He was teasing me with Jelly Babies," adding, "We chatted about his Army service, particularly Iraq."

Tina reminisces how Paul didn't acknowledge her right away, even though she had just appeared in Celebrity Big Brother. Despite this, the two bonded, had their premier date shortly afterwards and moved in together 13 days later.

The couple tied the knot in Manchester before 600 guests and went on to welcome their daughter, Flame, via IVF when Tina was aged 50.

Their 21-year age difference certainly turned heads, and she humorously cautioned him that she was "morbidly and clinically obese and bipolar. I'm self obsessed, self absorbed, opinionated, loud and brassy."

Yet, he wasn't deterred.

Tina speaks about her life with Paul
Tina speaks about her life with Paul -Credit:Tim Merry/Mirror Express

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Even when the consultant advised against IVF for health reasons and cautioned Paul about the emotional toll it could take on her, they remained undaunted. Tina fondly recalls how Paul's lack of interest in celebrity culture amused her: "He wasn't impressed by anyone or anything. We would go to George Michael's aftershow party and he'd say 'lovely do George, but I'm getting off to watch the boxing on the telly'."

She also reminisces about a memorable encounter with Meryl Streep: "I remember once - we had not long had Flame - we were staying in a hotel and Meryl Streep was in the next room. We bumped into her and Paul just said: 'here, hold the baby while I take the pictures.' To Meryl Streep! And she did! I guess the bigger the star the less grandiose they are. But that was Paul - people recognised there was no side to him. He was just lovely and gentle and kind."

Tina, a devout Catholic who has battled alcoholism and depression, remembers Paul as an "incredible" father to their daughter Flame. She reflects: "He was hands on. He bathed her, fed her and made her scream laughing. Yes, there were times when, if I was away, he'd send her to ballet class in her gym kit - that's blokes for you - but the older she got the closer they grew."

Tragically, Paul's inner turmoil surfaced as he turned to alcohol, drugs, and even took up smokinga habit he'd never had before. Tina attributes his struggles to the traumatic experiences of combat, saying: "If you've been at war and you can't count how many people you killed. How do you come back from that? He loved the Army but it left him scarred."

After his work with a community care programme for troubled teens came to an end, Paul's life began to unravel. He gave up his fitness routine and, according to Tina, "went from a one glass of red wine sort of bloke to drinking bottles of anything."

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Flame has helped Tina soldier on
Flame has helped Tina soldier on -Credit:Tim Merry/Mirror Express

His descent into substance abuse ranged from misusing prescription medication to using cocaine, and his behaviour became so erratic that it led to financial issues and deceit, resulting in a temporary separation from Tina. Despite their challenges, they reunited because, as Tina puts it, "the love was always still there."

At his lowest point, Paul attempted suicide and was hospitalised in a psychiatric unit, only to be moved due to bed shortages to a community mental health facility struggling with its own pressures.

Paul also sought support from services dedicated to helping veterans with addiction issues and collaborated with The Block, a community interest company supporting ex-service personnel. Despite these efforts, it proved insufficient.

According to the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics, in 2021, the suicide rate among male veterans aged 35 to 44 the same demographic as Paul was alarmingly higher than that of their civilian counterparts, with figures showing 33.5 deaths per 100,000 compared to 18.8 among non-veterans.

Tina, clearly frustrated, remarked: "Years ago, if you tried to commit suicide, whether you were in prison or on the street, they'd take you in, put you in a cell with a strait jacket on. They did everything to stop you from committing suicide. Nowadays they don't. I wonder why that is. I wonder why no one stops you."

Tragically, Tina and Paul had a disagreement the day before he passed away, but they reconciled as they always did. He expressed worries about being a burden to her, yet he still prepared a meal for Flame that evening and affectionately told Tina, "see you later" before departing.

"Hours later he was dead," she disclosed.

Paul's military comrades turned out in force for his funeral, where his service dress cap was poignantly placed atop the flag-covered coffin and the haunting notes of the last post filled the air. Back at home, poignant reminders of his presence linger; his toothbrush still in the bathroom, coats hanging untouched, and his gym bag left in the hallway.

Tina is painfully conscious that the man she cherished, who penned those last messages with such affection, will not return. She expressed her heartache: "I miss him touching me, I miss his dancing, kissing me in the living room to make Flame go 'eugh! ' I don't think I will ever stop crying and I will never ever love or be loved like that again. But we had more in 15 years than some people get in a lifetime together. I cling on to that."

To find out about mental health support for veterans go to Icarus or for urgent help call the Samaritans’ 24 hour helpline on 116123.