Zoe Ball feels to blame for boyfriend's suicide
13 March 2018 - 9:00 AM

Zoe Ball feels to blame for boyfriend's suicide

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Zoe Ball still blames herself for the death of her ex-boyfriend.

The "Strictly: It Takes Two" presenter has opened up about her heartbreak after her boyfriend, cameraman Billy Yates, committed suicide last May, when he was found hanged in his London flat, having battled depression.

Zoe, 47, told the Radio Times: "Even now I sometimes think, "I'm a resourceful woman, I'm a bright woman ... why could I not save him?"

"And then I have to stop and say, "Everyone who loved him knew. None of us found an answer, none of us saved him".

"To move forward you have to accept that. Which is very difficult."

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Zoe began dating Billy in February 2017, five months after her split from husband of 17 years Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim.

The TV presenter cycled from Blackpool to Brighton last week as part of a Sport Relief challenge to raise awareness of mental health.

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Zoe said: "At the time Billy came into my life, I didn't know how to help. I knew he had lived with depression for a long time. But he was a big strong guy.

"He did the Iron Man, he loved cycling 50 miles a day, he was the life and soul of the party when he was on the crew. He was so much fun.

"To see a man like that crumble under the pressure was heartbreaking to watch."

Billy felt under pressure after he was hit with an unexpected tax bill as a result of using accountant Christopher Lunn, a convicted fraudster who was jailed for five years in 2016.

Zoe will explore the reasons for suicide in documentary "Zoe's Hardest Road Home", which airs on BBC One on March 21.

Before her cycle, she said: "I lost my boyfriend. After he died I was left with lots of questions. I wanted to do something and find some hope for people who are living with mental illness."

Zoe - who is parent to Woody, 17, and Nelly, seven, with her ex-husband Norman - has found love again with businessman Michael Reed.

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