Nikki Grahame’s friend Imogen Thomas has claimed the late star was ‘never alone’ before she passed away aged 38 last week.
The model, also 38, who met the reality icon on Big Brother in 2006, took to Instagram on Tuesday to ‘clarify’ that Nikki’s support system took turns to stay with her.
Imogen’s comments came after the TV legend’s ex-boyfriend Pete Bennett insisted she was ‘so lonely’ and stuck in London by herself’, while her mother Sue said she suffered from ‘terminal loneliness’ amid her 30-year anorexia battle.
‘It’s heartwrenching’: Nikki Grahame’s friend Imogen Thomas has claimed the late star was ‘never alone’ before she passed away aged 38 last week
Alongside a throwback image of the pair, the former Miss Wales queen said: I’ve had to come on here to clarify something. After seeing numerous interviews, I want to stress that our beloved Nik was never alone.
‘Myself, Leon [Dee] and Carly [Cunningham] alternated days to make sure of this. I also want to stress that Nikki’s lovely mum Sue was by Nikki’s side continuously. It pains me to read these stories. It’s utterly heartwrenching.’ (sic)
Big Brother 7 winner Pete, 39, fought back tears as he discussed the last time he saw the Northwood native.
The pair fell for each other in the house and enjoyed a brief romance after leaving the show.
‘It pains me’: The model, also 38, took to Instagram on Tuesday to ‘clarify’ that Nikki’s support system took turns to stay with her
Close: The former Miss Wales met the reality icon on Big Brother in 2006 (pictured)
The former couple, who’ve maintained a friendship since their split, were seen sweetly cuddling in her final snap, with Nikki leaning towards Peter as they wrapped their arms around each other.
The musician said his former girlfriend had been ‘so lonely’ before she passed away, after resurfaced social media posts showed how much she’d been struggling during lockdown.
Pete added that he was still ‘lost for words’ three days after Nikki’s tragic passing was revealed, after she had checked herself into a private hospital for her eating disorder last month.
Pete said: ‘When we saw each other again that night, when I went over there, it was magic – she came out of her shell.
Emotional: Imogen’s comments came after the TV legend’s ex-boyfriend Pete Bennett insisted she was ‘so lonely’ and stuck in London by herself’
Long-term friends: The former couple, who’ve maintained a friendship since their split, were seen sweetly cuddling in her final snap (pictured)
Final post: Nikki admitted months previously she was struggling to ‘deal’ with another coronavirus lockdown in what was to be her final social media post
A Big Brother icon: Nikki Grahame’s best bits on the hit reality show
Get her some BOTTLED water!
Early on into her stay in the Big Brother house, Nikki was suffering from a migraine and only bottled water would help make it budge.
She said: ‘I need water, I’m not drinking that tap stuff, it’s absolutely disgusting, I actually haven’t got energy to talk to you I feel so dehydrated.’
Despite being reassured the water had been filtered twice in the house, Nikki was still not having any of it and burst into tears.
She said: ‘I’m not enjoying it, I’m not. I hate it, I f*****g hate it!’
Memorable: Nikki was accompanied by housemate Dawn Blake to the diary room when she launched into a meltdown over bottled water
The stolen bed
A tipsy Nikki also ensured to command attention after repeating ‘that’s my bed’ several times when she found another contestant in her bed.
Sitting in the infamous gold chair she told BB: ‘Someones stolen Nikki’s bed, it’s my bed I don’t like it and I just don’t like it’
During the rant, Nikki was dressed in suspenders following a challenge the housemates were set.
Air con woes
The star always seemed to be cold in the Big Brother house and arguing with others over the temperature setting on the air con.
After wrapping up as well as she could, Nikki asked BB: ‘How are we supposed to get out of bed in the morning with the f*****g air con?
‘It’s a blizzard, I’m going to catch a cold’
Made the show: The star would often throw her arms around while reclining in the gold diary room chair and making her epic rants
Nikki was left very unimpressed after housemate Richard Newman finished off the cornflakes – and told her there was porridge oats she could have instead.
She explained: ‘He’s had four bowls of Cornflakes yesterday! Four! And they’re not just normal bowls, they’re f*****g mountains of Cornflakes!
‘Like a mountain, and a whole bag of sugar. We’re going to run out of sugar.’
Who is SHE?
Perhaps Nikki’s most iconic moment came after housemate Susie Verrico put her up for eviction and the star stormed into the diary room.
Arriving in her bikini, Nikki fumed about Susie decision despite ‘not even knowing her’, telling BB that she was feeling ‘very venomous and angry’.
Nikki’s next line cemented her in reality show history – and provided plenty of memes in years to come – as she said: ‘Who is she? Who is she? Who is she? Where did you find her?
And Nikki ended the rant with: ‘I can feel the venom pouring out of me as I breathe. I hate her, I tell you now. I’m going to find it very difficult to be pleasant to it. I don’t even want to look at it.’
Iconic: Perhaps Nikki’s most memorable moment came when she declared: ‘Who is she? Who is she? Who is she? Where did you find her?’
‘She was reminiscing about Big Brother, she wasn’t well obviously but she was still there. It was one of the most special nights I ever had with Nikki.
‘A lovely bond and experience to see each other again, the fondest memory I’ve got of her now.
‘She was lonely, she was stuck in north London, all by herself, I’m lucky enough to be in Brighton where there’s lots of people around, but she was stuck there all by herself.
‘I’m lost for words still, I really am, just yeah it’s been a mad wave of emotions and I can’t really, I’m still speechless trying to put it together what happened.’
‘It’s been really, really hard’: Her mother Sue recently said she suffered from ‘terminal loneliness’ amid her 30-year anorexia battle
The former reality TV star said he and Nikki weren’t in touch for several years following their stint together in the Big Brother house in 2006, but they had reconnected as lockdown hit during the Covid pandemic.
Pete explained: ‘As soon as I saw the GoFundMe link and I was in London at the time, I didn’t know she was that ill.
WHAT IS ANOREXIA?
Anorexia is a serious mental illness where a person restricts their food intake, which often causes them to be severely underweight.
Many also exercise excessively.
Some sufferers may experience periods of bingeing, followed by purging.
Sufferers often have a distorted view of themselves and think they are larger than they really are.
Untreated, patients can suffer loss of muscle and bone strength, as well as depression, low libido and menstruation ceasing in women.
In severe cases, patients can experience heart problems and organ damage.
Behavioural signs of anorexia include people saying they have already eaten or will do later, as well as counting calories, missing meals, hiding food and eating slowly.
As well as weight loss, sufferers may experience insomnia, constipation, bloating, feeling cold, hair loss, and swelling of the hands, face and feet.
Treatment focuses on therapy and self-help groups to encourage healthy eating and coping mechanisms.
Source: Beat Eating Disorders
‘I knew she was ill, I’d see pictures of her out with Imogen [Thomas] and I knew she was looking thin, she contacted me in the last lockdown saying she’d been hospitalised again and she wanted me to come and rescue her or something.
‘She got out again, we were still in contact… But recently when I saw the GoFundMe, it was a shock. When I saw her recently it was a complete difference, it was quite a shock.
‘We did a Rylan reunion and she looked quite ill, but when I saw her recently it was quite a shock.’
Nikki had previously admitted she was struggling to ‘deal’ with another coronavirus lockdown in what was to be her final social media post.
Alongside a video montage of some of her infamous tantrums in the Big Brother house, she wrote: ‘My reaction to the second national lockdown announcement.’
In her caption, she added: ‘Not this again….seriously can’t deal #lockdown #f**kcovid19 #fml.’
It is believed that the star was released from hospital in Devon a day before her tragic death.
Just last month Nikki’s pals had launched a fundraised to try and gather funds for her to receive specialist treatment, managing to reach a total of £65,539.
The original page read: ‘She has been battling for most of her life and as you can see, Nikki is now in a very bad way so we need to do something quickly.
‘Over the past years Nikkis family and friends have tried so desperately to get Nikki all the help possible through the NHS but unfortunately the treatments have failed and we have exhausted every avenue possible, and now Nik is unfortunately in a very bad way, this is now our last hope.
‘This is why we feel that getting her treatment in a specialist clinic is the only option left for her.’
‘Not a day will go by without missing your smile’: Nikki’s friend Leon Dee paid tribute to his late friend and revealed money raised on GoFundMe will be given to charity (pictured in 2017)