The 62 year-old gardener abandoned home after three years of a troublesome marriage without informing any of his relatives about his escape plans. Malcolm's sister had been searching for him in vain for years and assumed he was dead, but it turns out the man just really didn't want his nagging wife to find out his whereabouts.
According to Applegate, the relationship wasn't all that bad in the beginning, but things fell apart ten years ago after his wife started constantly complaining about him working too many hours and not spending enough time at home with her.
"The more work I took on, the angrier my wife got — she didn't like me being out of the house for long periods of time. The controlling behavior started to get out of hand," Malcolm told reporters after emerging from hiding. "I got fed up with her because we used to get so many arguments."
At some point he realized he couldn't handle the nagging any longer so he just packed up his belongings and left home, settling in a thick forest in south west London after a three-week journey. Malcolm camped in the woods during the night and spent the day working on gardens at a nearby community center for the elderly.
"There were three of us camping. They were just camping around with me because at the time I was working in the center and we used to go there for a wash and a shower. No one knew we were there. It's not well known — nobody would go in there," Applegate said.
"I wrote her a letter once I was settled in Greenwich and she phoned me up, in floods of tears. We now have a great relationship again."
Based on his interview with the MailOnline, Applegate is quite satisfied with his current life in the shelter, where he does odd jobs and raises money for the homeless.
"I have a lovely room, I am able to work and I can still lead an active social life — I love it here — my life is officially back on track."