Luton-born prisoner Charles Bronson is said to be “upset and in shock” at Woodhill prison after his wife Paula Williamson was found dead this week.
The 38-year-old former soap actress had filed for divorce from Bronson last summer because the marriage had not been consummated.
She was found dead at her home in Stoke-on-Trent on Monday. Police are not treating the death as suspicious.
Bronson, 66, has been dubbed Britain’s most notorious criminal but insists he is a now changed man and deserves to be released on parole very soon.
He has spent 45 years behind bars, initially for armed robbery and later for a series of attacks on prisoners and guards.
He told a national newspaper in May: “Take into account my age - I’m 67 this year - I’m going to be out before I’m 70. I want to go round schools and get kids involved in art.”
A talented self-taught artist, Bronson spends much of his time at Woodhill working on intricate drawings, which he sends to friends, family and his band of supporters.
A selection of his drawings won praise from critics when were displayed at a London art exhibition earlier this year.
Bronson and Ms Williamson began their relationship as penpals in 2016. They were married two years later in a prison ceremony, during which Bronson was handcuffed to a warder.
But their marriage fell apart last summer after Bronson was outraged because the former Coronation Street and Emmerdale actress was pictured with another man while on holiday abroad.
In a statement to ITV’s Loose Women show at the time, Bronson claimed: “Paula has disrespected me, my mum and most of all herself.
“I can’t accept that kind of behaviour from somebody supposed to be my wife. She also has a drink and prescription drug problem... I can’t be involved with somebody like that.”