Devastated Zoe Ball reveals daily pain at boyfriend’s suicide

Zoe Ball has spoken for the first time of how she regrets every day not being able to save boyfriend Billy Yates from suicide.

She said: “The horror is unbelievable.”

Cameraman Billy killed himself in May last year aged 40, after battling depression for years.

And Zoe, 47, revealed she still asks herself if she could have done more.

She said: “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. But I take comfort from the fact he is no longer in pain. He struggled every day and now he is at peace. The pain has stopped for him.”

Speaking to the Radio Times ahead of a one-off BBC documentary , Zoe described suicide as “really cruel”, having spoken to other grieving relatives.

The Strictly: It Takes Two host added: “I knew how much pain he was in. He couldn’t make sense of what was happening to him. It was almost like a change of light, you could see the pain come into his eyes.

“You wanted to say, ‘Come on. Stay with me, stay with me. Let’s get you out of this headspace.’ But it was harder and harder to do that.”

She praised the fun-loving personality of the Antiques Roadshow cameraman, but said the therapy Billy had “didn’t even touch the sides”.

She added: “To see a man like that crumble under the pressure was heartbreaking to watch.”

Zoe says she cursed Billy on her Hardest Road Home cycling trip from Blackpool to Brighton for Sport Relief, as she undertook the challenge for him.

She said: “In grief, a dark sense of humour is handy at the lowest moments. He had a wicked sense of humour.”

  • Zoe Ball’s Hardest Road Home is on BBC1 , Wednesday, at 9pm, ahead of Sport Relief this Friday. This week’s Radio Times is available now. If you are affected by any details of this story you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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