Belfast Telegraph

Zoe Ball's family rallied around after death of her boyfriend

Zoe Ball's dad Johnny admits he "lost" his daughter to her partying ways after she became a host on BBC Radio 1.

Zoe Ball's father Johnny urged his daughter to “be strong” following the death of her boyfriend Billy Yates.

The blonde TV and radio personality was left heartbroken when Billy passed away in May (17) after reportedly hanging himself following a struggle with depression.

To help her cope during the tough period, her dad Johnny and other family members stayed in constant contact with Zoe via phone, as they couldn’t be on hand at all times due to the distance.

“If she was next door we would pop round and say: ‘Are you OK?’ but we’re 60 miles away. So we text asking: ‘Are you OK? Keep your pecker up. Come on, be strong,’” the veteran star told the Mirror.

He added that Zoe’s return to work at BBC Radio 2 has also been beneficial to the star.

“She’s started work again and the attention that needs takes her mind from dark thoughts,” he said.

Zoe, 46, appeared in good spirits as she enjoyed Phil Collins’ performance at Barclaycard presents British Summer Time at Hyde Park in London on Friday (30Jun17). She also attended Glastonbury Festival with her brother Nick the week before.

And at the end of June the former Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two host celebrated a year of sobriety following a relapse since she went teetotal in 2009.

Discussing his daughter’s partying lifestyle after becoming the first woman to ever host the Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 1997, Johnny explained, “She coped terribly and we lost her because she was totally besotted by it. She was clubbing all the time and drinking too much. She became a ladette, saying anything the boys could do, girls could do.

“We’ve never fallen out, but there are periods you know you’re not in the equation when it comes to discussion.”

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