NIKKI Grahame just lost her life to an eating disorder and it was something she had lived with since childhood.
The Big Brother died on Friday at the age of 38 after a long battle with anorexia.
Nikki's mum Sue told This Morning the moment she realised "something was wrong" with the star aged just seven years old, when they headed out for dinner as a family on Mothering Sunday.
She said: "We had a lot of stuff going on. You know, my dad got very sick and of course that affected me and I think she was worried for me and I tried to put on a brave face.
"We had other things going on, my marriage broke up and my husband had struggles at work so I know (our home) wasn't a happy place.
"One point stands in my mind. She was seven and we went to a restaurant and Nikki stood beside me, she wouldn't actually sit, she was just beside me and it was around that time that I noticed, she started refusing to eat, that's the one thing that stuck in my mind."
Nikki has been open about her anorexia battle since finding fame in Big Brother back in 2006, releasing autobiography Dying To Be Thin in 2009.
She has been fighting the illness since she was a child, and was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the age of 12 following a suicide bid.
At one point, Nikki had to be force fed through a nasal tube after she starved herself.
Sue also explained how her daughter's most recent health battle was sparked when gyms closed during lockdown as the star dreaded eating if she couldn't exercise.
She said: "With Covid, it sounds crazy but stuff like gyms closing impacted her.
"In order for her to eat she needs to know she can exercise, so when they closed it was quite a worry, the isolation as well.
"I asked her if she would come and stay with me but she said she needs to be in her home."
"She was (suffering terminal loneliness) she felt very cut off and spending too much time on her own with not enough to think about other than food.
"It all came to a grinding halt. Also for Nikki, she would muddle herself through the year knowing she's got friends abroad and she would visit them.
"She spent a lot of time last year cancelling holidays."
Sue's revelations come after Nikki's haunting last Instagram post where she admitted she "seriously can't deal" with another lockdown.
The Big Brother star checked into a private hospital to treat her eating disorder last month after her desperate friends managed to raise more than £65,500 to start paying for life-saving care.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
However, her passing was confirmed in a statement today on her GoFundMe page.
It read: "It is with great sadness, we have to let you know that our dear friend Nikki passed away in the early hours of Friday 9th April.
"It breaks our hearts to know that someone who is so precious was taken from us at such a young age. Nikki not only touched the lives of millions of people, but also her friends and family who will miss her immensely.
"We would like to request privacy at this difficult time, while Nikki's friends and family process the sad news.
"Full details will be released as and when we know them."
It continued: "All donations have been greatly appreciated and it was heartwarming for everyone including Nikki to see how much she was loved."
Nikki Grahame's rep Freddie White also said in a statement: "It is with immeasurable sadness that Nikki Grahame passed away in the early hours of Friday 9th April 2021. Please respect the privacy of Nikki’s friends and family at this tragic and difficult time."
Following the news, tributes immediately started pouring in for Nikki from her fellow Big Brother contestants, reality stars and celebrities who had met her.
For help and support on eating disorders and body image, you can call Beat Eating Disorders on 0808 201 1677 for adults, or 0808 801 0711 if you are under 18.
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