Pete Bennett shares heartbreaking final photo of ex Nikki Grahame

Leah Sinclair
<p>Nikki Grahame</p> (Pete Bennett Instagram)

Nikki Grahame

(Pete Bennett Instagram)

Nikki Grahame’s ex-boyfriend Pete Bennett shared a heartbreaking image of the reality star weeks before she died after a long battle with anorexia.

The former Big Brother contestant, originally from Northwood in London, checked into a private hospital last month after her eating disorder worsened in lockdown.

It came after her friends managed to raise more than £65,500 via a fundraising page to start paying for life-saving care.

Last month Mr Bennett visited Ms Grahame and posted a picture of her to his Instagram account.

The caption said: “Pete and Nikki March 2021 ♡ visiting my nikki and still cuddling to this day :).

“Remember the fundraiser to help get her into a specialist anorexia clinic is in my bio! #savenikkig.”

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Mr Bennett and Ms Grahame met on Big Brother in 2006 and enjoyed a brief relationship after leaving the show.

Mr Bennett, who won the series, called off their romance after just a month, but the pair remained friends.

On Saturday news of Ms Grahame’s death was posted to the GoFundMe page set up to raise money for her treatment.

A statement read: “It is with great sadness, we have to let you know that our dear friend Nikki passed away in the early hours of Friday 9th April.

“It breaks our hearts to know that someone who is so precious was taken from us at such a young age. Nikki not only touched the lives of millions of people, but also her friends and family who will miss her immensely.

“We would like to request privacy at this difficult time, while Nikki’s friends and family process the sad news.

“Full details will be released as and when we know them.”

Ms Grahame had battled anorexia since childhood, spending much of her younger years in and out of hospital due to the condition.

Her mother Sue Grahame told This Morning last week that her daughter’s condition deteriorated after the gyms closed.

Previously, Sue said lockdown had been “hellish” and had “floored” her daughter.

Mr Bennett shared a video on Instagram following Ms Grahame’s death, where he thanked people for their "heartwarming" support and donations.

He said: "I thought to myself yeah we could save her, but we couldn’t. But it’s okay she’s in a good place and she’s not suffering anymore.

"So I’d just like to raise a f***ing glass, or bottle of wine more like, for Nikki Grahame."

The reality star then broke down in tears.

Captioning the clip, Mr Bennett wrote: "R.I.P Nikki. Thank you for Carly Cunningham and Leon for starting the amazing Nikki fundraiser, sadly earlier today I found out she just passed away from anorexia.

"I’m gutted, we have lost a true character, my bb7 posse feel like we’ve lost a family member, our series just wouldn’t of been the same without her!

"Even through our ups and downs we have still remained close through the years, and it was so nice to visit again recently with my girlfriend, sing Kate Bush songs and have fun like the good old days! I’m just sad that it was the last song we ever sang."

He concluded: "Thank you for the memories my friend, you will sorely be missed,I hope you’re not hurting anymore and finally at peace. I’ll see you in heaven Nikki. Lots of love Pete Xxx."

Many took to social media to reflect on Ms Grahame’s life and legacy.

Davina McCall, who hosted the reality series when it aired on Channel 4, tweeted she was “so desperately sad to hear” the news.

She added: “My thoughts are with her friends and family xx she really was the funniest, most bubbly sweetest girl x”.

Coronation Street’s Daniel Brocklebank tweeted: “I’m deeply saddened to hear that Nikki Grahame has passed. We hung out a few times.

“The last time on stage together at Manchester Pride. A sweet, kind & fun lady. My love & thoughts go out to all who knew & loved her.”

Presenter Rylan Clarke-Neal said: “Thinking of Susan and Nikki’s close friends and family. A Big Brother Icon.”

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