Zoe Ball talks about losing partner Billy Yates on Desert Island Disc

‘Losing him was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with’: Zoe Ball discusses boyfriend Billy Yates’ tragic suicide in emotional interview three years after his death

  • Zoe’s late partner, Billy, took his own life in May 2017 after a long battle with depression
  • The presenter, 49,  appears on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on Sunday 
  • She admitted that ‘losing him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.’
  • She admits that watching him suffer and struggle with mental health was extremely hard and has encouraged anyone else struggling to reach out for help 
  • The presenter and Billy, a cameraman, began dating following her marriage split from DJ Norman Cook in 2016 and were first pictured together in February 2017
  • If you have been affected by this story, call The Samaritans at any time, from any phone for FREE, on 116 123 

Zoe Ball has discussed the death of her partner Billy Yates and admitted that ‘losing him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life.’ 

In an emotional interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs set to air Sunday, the radio presenter, 49, spoke of Billy’s death and the grief she endured after he took his own life following a long battle with depression. 

Zoe discussed the cameraman’s struggle with mental health and revealed that Billy lived with depression for most of his life. 

Heartbreak: Zoe Ball has discussed the death of her partner Billy Yates and admitted that ‘losing him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life’

Speaking candidly to Discs host Lauren Laverne about the ordeal, she admitted that watching him suffer and struggle with mental health and has encouraged anyone else struggling to reach out for help.   

Zoe said: ‘ I think it’s so isolating to be trapped in your mind like that, when you doubt yourself, you doubt everything you’ve ever known. You doubt your family love you. You doubt your friends care for you.’

But she insisted there is always help available and that ‘it’s important to share there is hope.’

Brave: In an emotional interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Disc s on Sunday, the radio presenter, 49, spoke of Billy’s death and the grief she endured after he took his own life following a long battle with depression 

Zoe remembered the man she loved and said ‘he was so full of love and would help anyone in need’, and  insisted he should be ‘remembered for his life, not his death,’   

Speaking of the song Do I Love You by Frank Wilson, which she dedicated to Billy, Zoe said: ‘This track will always remind me of him. He loved to dance and loved to laugh and he brought so much into my life.  

She added: ‘ I wanted to play a piece of music for him that reflected him as a human.’

The radio presenter also addressed her grief in May last year, which marked the devastating two-year anniversary of Billy’s death. 

Real talk: Speaking candidly to Discs host Lauren Laverne (left) about the ordeal, Zoe (right) admitted that watching him suffer and struggle with mental health was extremely hard and has encouraged anyone else struggling to reach out for help

Speaking on her Radio 2 show, the It Takes Two host admitted that the heartbreaking day – his anniversary –  makes her knees wobble’ and ‘heart hurt’ as she encouraged her struggling listeners to reach out for help.

During the emotive radio speech, Zoe, who has found love again with Michael Reed, said: ‘So tomorrow it’s going to be two-years since our dear Billy Yates died.

‘Anyone who has lost someone dear to them, be it a friend or a family member, will know that these anniversaries have a tendency to make your knees wobble and your heart hurt.

‘With grief, it’s often an every day feeling not just anniversaries. The longer the time without them, the more you miss their ways and their voice in your life. Even though of course they’ll never leave your heart. 

Tragic: The It Takes Two presenter, 48, admitted that the the anniversary of his death makes her knees wobble’ and ‘heart hurt’ as she encouraged her struggling listeners to reach out for help (pictured with Billy before his death) 

‘These anniversaries are good as they give you an excuse to just spend some time with your thoughts about them.

‘I wanted to send some dear love to his family today and all weekend, and all his brilliant friends – mates with Yates, who we love to pieces.

‘I just wanted to reach out with thoughts and an extra dollop of love to anyone going through anything at the moment, whether it be mental health problems, perhaps a loved one is poorly or maybe you’re just having a right old tricky time of it at the moment.

‘Life is very tough for many reasons, when you can, if you are suffering from mental health problems try and be brave, reach out for help from your friends and family.

Interview: Zoe on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on Sunday

‘I can promise you they would do anything for you and it’s not an easy thing to do. Try to remember you’re not alone in this funny old life, cuddle those who you love and treasure those memories.’

Zoe and Billy, a cameraman and technician, were friends for years and began dating following her marriage split from DJ Norman ‘Fatboy Slim’ Cook in 2016 and were first pictured together in February 2017. 

The presenter and DJ were married from 1999 to 2016 and share two children together, a son Woody, 19, and daughter Nelly, 10. 

If you have been affected by this story, call The Samaritans at any time, from any phone for FREE, on 116 123 .

Former spouse: Zoe and Billy, a cameraman and technician, began dating following her marriage split from DJ Norman ‘Fatboy Slim’ Cook in 2016 and were first pictured together in February 2017 (pictured with ex Norman in 1999)

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