Sophie Gradon dead — Love Island star battled 'anxiety and cash fears'
The ex-Miss GB, 32, was found at her parents’ home near Newcastle.
Sophie had seemed “happier than ever” to pals — but was secretly plagued with mental health problems.
The former beauty queen, who starred in the 2016 series, appeared to have overcome a previous bout of depression.
But she hid her demons from all but her closest circle — and was also left devastated by the recent death of a close friend.
One friend told The Sun last night: “We all thought Sophie was the happiest she had ever been.
“She had suffered from depression and anxiety and there was talk of financial issues which obviously adds to the worry she was enduring.
“Her friends thought she was in a great place as she was madly in love with her boyfriend and life was good.
“However a good friend died and it affected her very badly.
“She struggled to cope with it and fell into a dark place.”
Sophie was found dead on Wednesday evening at her parents’ house on a private road in Medburn, just outside Newcastle.
Police said yesterday they were not treating her death as suspicious — as friends feared she had taken her own life.
Another said: “I just can’t believe it. It is so sad.”
Sophie had recently messaged them to say “everything was going so well” but the friend added: “That clearly wasn’t the case. This is such a massive shock.”
Her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong was believed to be “the one” and friends thought they would marry.
Aaron posted a photo of Sophie with him on Facebook yesterday and wrote: “I will never forget that smile I love you so so much baby your my world forever ever and always.”
Sophie, who shared Love Island’s first lesbian kiss, previously spoke on social media about her mental health issues.
Soon after she left Love Island in 2016, she tweeted: “Anxiety = doing nothing all day but your mind has ran an entire bloody marathon.”
In another she said: “Feel so guilty when my anxiety takes over, for not wanting to see or speak to anyone. Some days I get so overwhelmed I just want to nap!”
She also tweeted last year: “Hi guys, no not dead just battling a little bit of depression. I’ll come back I promise x”.
But this April she appeared more positive. She wrote: “Thinking back to when I became a total recluse, afraid to go out anywhere because of crippling anxiety & how different my life is now!!! Facing up to your fears is sometimes the hardest but most rewarding thing!!!”
Privately educated Sophie last week attended the funeral of close friend Paul Burns — a bar owner known as Mr Newcastle — who had a heart attack at 37. She later wrote: “Thank you for being there when you recognised I needed someone, you are a true saint.”
Sophie, crowned Miss Great Britain in 2010, hooked up with Welshman Tom Powell during her time on Love Island. But she later claimed she had “sold her soul to reality TV” and blasted the show in a series of tweets in 2017.
She wrote: “I’ll never forget the way I was treated by LI crew at the reunion. Honestly horrendous. They will lie, trick u & segregate you should u speak out against them BUT they provide a therapist for 6mnths after so it’s ok.”
Ex-Geordie Shore star Holly Hagan yesterday urged anyone struggling to speak to someone. She said of Sophie: “You were only helping me battle the twitter trolls yesterday. Rest in peace beautiful.”
Love Island tweeted: “The ITV2 and Love Island team are profoundly saddened to hear the news about Sophie, and our deepest sympathies and thoughts go to her family and friends.”
Northumbria Police said: “There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. A report will now be prepared for the coroner.”
- IF you are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression or just want to talk, call The Samaritans on 116 123.
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