Caroline Flack’s mum says it’s hard watching star’s ‘fake’ friends grieve on TV

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Caroline Flack’s mum said watching her daughter’s fake celebrity pals' public displays of emotion over her death had "really hurt".

The TV presenter took her own life two years ago aged 40 following her arrest for assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton.

Her mum Christine, 71, said she thinks about her daughter "every second of the day" and her pain had never diminished.

It had been added to by the actions of seeing hangers-on who did not really know Caroline talking about her under the pretence they were close.

She said: "It’s hard. I saw someone on the telly this week calling her a friend and it really hurt.

"When a death is in the media you can’t just grieve quietly.

"There’s lots of people grieving that don’t know her personally so you’re looking after them as well as all her friends.’"

Christine said she regularly speaks to Caroline’s "really old closest friends".

They include fellow TV presenter Natalie Pinkham, writer Dawn O’Porter and charity chief executive officer Josie Naughton.

"Josie and Caroline met when they lived together in Camden, she met Dawn when she was presenting I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp, and Natalie while working on a poker show," Christine said.

"They’re the friends I knew. I like seeing Natalie, Josie and Dawn.

"But it hurts sometimes when I have to see people who say they knew her.’"

Christine said she and the rest of the family will pay their respects by visiting a memorial bench dedicated to her daughter in Norfolk – where she grew up – on Christmas Day.

"We all needed a place just to come, sit and remember, and this just fitted it. It was just beautiful," Christine said.

"It’s like it’s yours, it’s hers. I like to go there and sit. It allows you to talk to Carrie because you feel silly anywhere else.’"

Caroline, who won Strictly and presented Love Island and The X Factor, was found dead at her flat in Stoke Newington, north-east London, on February 15 (2020) after leaving a note reading: "Please let this court case be dropped."

Recording a suicide verdict at her inquest the coroner said the star had deliberately taken her own life knowing she was "going to be prosecuted for certain" and the publicity would "all come down upon her".

Christine is determined her daughter’s memory is not tainted by the last few months of her life which saw her sacked by Love Island bosses in the wake of her drunken row with Lewis.

"I hate the memory of my daughter to be a negative one because she wasn’t negative," she said.

"She always saw the positive in something. She always tried to be a good role model, for young women especially.

"I want her to be remembered for these things.

"Carrie suffered for a long while but never showed it because her outgoing personality covered everything. Mainly she was happy, and funny, and brilliant.

"She just had these terrific down times and not many people saw those down times. She hid it.

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"The last doctor she saw thought she may have had bipolar. And that’s what I always thought.

"It was just constant highs, all of a sudden, then the lows. She was just known as this happy-go-lucky girl. She was petrified of people seeing her dark side and thinking she was `mental’.

"She wasn’t tragic – she had a wonderful life and I am so immensely proud of her.’"

* Christine helped launch Good Grief Trust’s Grief Awareness Week. For more information go to https://www.thegoodgrieftrust.org/

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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