TV hardman Vinnie Jones has opened up about his wife's death earlier this year in an emotional inteview on UK television.

The actor and former professional footballer, 54, best known for his portrayal of thugs in films including Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, revealed a different side as he spoke with Good Morning Britain hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.

His wife of 25 years, Tanya, died in July after a long battle with cancer.

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A 2013 photo of Vinnie Jones and his wife Tanya Jones. Photo / Getty Images
A 2013 photo of Vinnie Jones and his wife Tanya Jones. Photo / Getty Images

Jones said he finding out about his wife's terminal diagnosis was like "a sledgehammer hitting you" and admitted the most difficult thing to deal with following her death had been the fact that everyone else's lives had just carried on.

"You're looking around and you go, this is the biggest tragedy of your life — and people are still going to work ..."

"I think we done, in a week, 360 tea bags, PJ Tips, you know, the big ones," he added, describing the days after Tanya's passing.

"You're just sitting there, cups of tea ... and you're just like, 'what has happened?' The enormity ..."

Jones said he was coping with losing the love of his life by keeping busy and had gained some strength from a letter his wife had left for her daughter Kaley.

"We found a letter from Tans to Kaley ... kinda made us strong, saying 'don't grieve, I'll be waiting for you' ... and I believe that. I believe that," he said through tears.

Tanya and Vinnie, pictured in 2007. The actor's wife died in July following a long cancer battle. Photo / Getty Images
Tanya and Vinnie, pictured in 2007. The actor's wife died in July following a long cancer battle. Photo / Getty Images

Jones also revealed that although he doesn't believe in "all this stuff" he saw an unusual white light in the sky shortly after his wife died, which disappeared after he blew it a kiss.

"I swear to you Piers, it was still there, the light (as he blew the kiss), and it went 'whoo', and it moved — flew to the left ... and gone. Gone. And that was my moment. I knew she'd gone ... and that is me knowing that she is waiting."

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Many viewers responded to the raw interview on social media, saying Jones' words had brought them to tears.

Even seasoned interviewer Piers was visibly moved, tweeting after the show that the segment with his old friend had affected him deeply.