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Family of Caroline Flack ‘begged’ her to quit showbusiness

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·2-min read

Caroline Flack’s family “begged” her to give up showbusiness because they feared for her mental health.

In an upcoming Channel 4 documentary, the former Love Island host’s twin sister Jody recalls how her sister had been “terrified” to publicly admit the extent of her struggles.

Flack took her own life at the age of 40, on February 15 2020, while awaiting trial on an assault charge for an alleged attack on her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

Caroline Flack death
Caroline Flack on Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Speaking in the film, Jody said: “I would beg her to change jobs and leave showbiz but she never would. Life would have been easier but she wasn’t built for an easy life.

“She was always scared she’d be ridiculed, she was terrified to admit her mental health struggles.”

Jody also said Flack had been “fascinated by the subject of suicide”, adding: “I was prepared that it could happen.”

Caroline Flack: Her Life And Death, which airs next week, features family and friends, including Olly Murs and Dermot O’Leary, speaking about how the presenter was affected by her life in the spotlight.

Flack’s mother Christine said she had from a young age “found heartbreak impossible” and became distraught after her teenage relationship with a fairground worker known to the family as “Waltzer boy” broke down.

Caroline Flack documentary
A photo of Caroline Flack taken in the 1990s (Channel 4/Family Handout/Flack Family/PA)

“She ran away from home as a teenager after falling for a man who worked at a fair. It broke her heart,” she said.

Jody also described the negative pattern of behaviour her sister would fall into following each break-up.

She said: “It feels so weird talking about it because I know it’s something she never wanted anybody to know about.

“Each serious boyfriend, she sort of took a lot of tablets, drank a lot, and ended up in an A&E situation a lot of times.

“She really didn’t think she could cope with that feeling, so it was her trying to control it.”

Flack’s family are speaking in a bid to encourage viewers to be more open about their mental health struggles and seek help where necessary.

“The documentary made this year bearable. It was therapy for us,” says her mother.

She also called on social media companies to tackle online trolling, saying: “I don’t think they protect anyone. You can’t get away from it, it follows you on your phone. They are making money from it and need to step up.”

Coroner Mary Hassell found that Flack killed herself because she knew she was being prosecuted for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, Burton, and could not face the press coverage.

– Anyone who needs support should call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org or visit the Samaritans website.