Duncan James has recalled how Nikki Grahame dreamt of becoming 'a mummy' and even asked him to be her sperm donor before her tragic death aged just 38.

Talking exclusively to OK, Duncan recalled how the two immediately hit it off.

He said: "I loved Nikki. We just got on straight away. She'd put her arms around me and give me kisses and be like, 'Duncan, why are you gay? Please don't be gay.'

"I used to be like, 'Nikki, you know I love you.'"

In 2019 Nikki spoke to Duncan about one day potentially being her sperm donor.

At the time her decades long battle with anorexia, which she first developed aged just six, seemed under control.

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She had looked into becoming a mother through IVF using a donated egg, and had been told her body was healthy enough to carry a child.

Duncan recalled: "She said she wanted me to be her sperm donor. I remember speaking to her about it and she was like, 'Well, if you can't be my boyfriend, you can at least be my sperm donor, because I want you to be the daddy of my child.'

"I was like, 'Nikki, you're so sweet.' She was like, 'I'm so serious, I want to be a mummy.'"

Nikki, who briefly dated fellow BB star Pete Bennett, publicly shared her dreams of motherhood with new magazine in 2019.

The then 37-year-old explained that anorexia had damaged her fertility, saying: "I've never had a period. My ovaries cannot produce eggs which means I cannot have children.

"I've enquired at a few clinics in London."

Nikki told how she still hoped to fall in love, but had considered asking Duncan if that didn't happen by the time she turned 40.

She said: "Could you imagine?! How good would that be?"

But Nikki added: "Ideally, I'd meet the right guy and we could go through the process together."

And she said she thought she'd be a good mother.

"I'm so independent," she said. "I think I'd be such a good mum because I know I'm capable when I put my mind to it."

The death of the former Big Brother star, who charmed telly audiences with her friendly bubbly personality, was announced on Saturday.

It followed a fundraising campaign by friends to get her treatment for her eating disorder.

Nikki suffered multiple setbacks with her illness over the years. Seven years ago she relapsed, and at the time admitted she had a phobia of consuming more than 400 calories a day.

Her illness worsened dramatically during lockdown, with Duncan explaining that when gyms closed she lost her main way of 'escaping' her illness.

Duncan said: "What I've heard from her mum is that she did have an illness and she did battle anorexia all of her life and one of her escapisms was going to the gym and she loved to go to the gym.

"When they shut down all of the gyms… that was her escape to go and have a workout because she would come back and be hungry and eat. By not going to the gym she didn't feel that hungry and didn't feel the need to eat."

Duncan said he would remember Nikki with fondness, and alll the happy times they shared.

"I've got so many great, fond memories of her. So many fun events we've been to together. So many times we hung out at parties or red carpet events and we'd always just end up spending the evening together having fun.

"She really was a beautiful person and I was devastated to hear the news of her death."

If you have been affected by this story, you can call Beat on 0808 801 0677 or visit www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk

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