Sir Cliff Richard, 78, has reportedly left the UK and has moved to New York where he cherishes the “anonymity”, according to close friend Gloria Hunniford, 79. The singer has previously opened up about the trauma of the BBC coverage of the police search of his Berkshire home in 2014, following a claim of historical sexual assault, which had left him emotionally drained. Sir Cliff denied the allegations and was never arrested or charged. Speaking about his move overseas, the Loose Women panellist said: “Cliff won’t come back and live here. He has made that jump now. He was very disillusioned with what happened.

“He likes the anonymity in America. Some people recognise him but he does not get it all the time like he does here.”

She added: “His place is in New York and he likes it there. He loves coming back to perform occasionally and is looking forward to playing summer shows this year.

“But I don’t think he will ever live here all the time again.”

The singer has reportedly splashed out on an £800,000 apartment in New York, according to The Mirror.

A spokesman for Sir Cliff said: “There will not be any comment on what is essentially a private matter other than to confirm Cliff’s main home is in Barbados, as it has been for many years.”

The surprise move comes after it was reported he put his £6 million six-bedroom villa in Barbados up for sale, last year.

He has also sold his £2.9 million flat in Sunningdale, Berskhire, where police raided his home following historic sex abuse claims.

The chart-topper was awarded £210,000 in damages after he took action against the BBC over coverage of a police raid on his home.

He was awarded damages for the “general effect” on his life and broke down in tears after the ruling.

At the time, he said: “I’m choked up. I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful news.”

After the verdict, the BBC initially said they would explore an appeal based on the judge’s ruling.

However, back in August bosses announced they will not appeal after losing the High Court case.

In a statement, the organisation repeated its apology to the Summer Holiday hitmaker for the distress caused and said: “We fully appreciate the impact this has had on him.”

Last month, Sir Cliff was spotted as he arrived at a Barbados airport where he enjoyed some downtime with a group of friends.

The singer sported three-quarter length shorts and a printed T-shirt for the outing.

Sir Cliff spends a lot of his time away on the Caribbean island, where he has had a home for the past 20 years.