DEPSITE battling anorexia since she was a child, Nikki Grahame's health took a turn after her 15 minutes of fame ended.
The Big Brother star died on Friday at the age of 38 after a long battle with the eating disorder.
She rose to fame on the 2006 series of Big Brother where she instantly became a British TV icon.
That was followed by a second stint on the series in 2010 and even the Canadian version in 2016.
In those 10 years, she also published two books and was invited to do many TV game shows and reality series.
But eventually the fame dried up and triggered a serious relapse with anorexia.
Her mum Sue explained watching her daughter 'spiral'.
“When you’re up there and you’re having a great time, working your socks off, it’s marvellous," Sue told The Telegraph.
"But then it can stop. And Nikki said she did feel quite lost when it stopped,”
Sue also told the newspaper how between the ages of nine and 16, Nikki spent more 'time in eating disorder units than at home or in school'.
Her condition was so bad that at the age of nine, a doctor said it was the worst case he'd ever seen
Sue also explained how the ongoing national lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic badly affected her daughter.
She said on This Morning: "With Covid, it sounds crazy but stuff like gyms closing impacted her.
"In order for her to eat she needs to know she can exercise, so when they closed it was quite a worry, the isolation as well.
"I asked her if she would come and stay with me but she said she needs to be in her home."
"She was (suffering terminal loneliness) she felt very cut off and spending too much time on her own with not enough to think about other than food.
"It all came to a grinding halt. Also for Nikki, she would muddle herself through the year knowing she's got friends abroad and she would visit them.
"She spent a lot of time last year cancelling holidays."
Nikki had recently checked into a private hospital to treat her eating disorder last month after her desperate friends managed to raise more than £65,500 to start paying for life-saving care.
Before her death Sue said she had a message for her daughter’s fans: "I heard from Nikki this morning and she said, 'please stress how overwhelmed I am at people's kindness towards me. I am so grateful.'
"But she said 'also tell everybody I'm going to try my level best to beat this'."
Nikki's mum also shared the moment she realised "something was wrong" with the star aged just seven years old, when they headed out for dinner as a family on Mothering Sunday.
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She said: "We had a lot of stuff going on. You know, my dad got very sick and of course that affected me and I think she was worried for me and I tried to put on a brave face.
"We had other things going on, my marriage broke up and my husband had struggles at work so I know (our home) wasn't a happy place.
"One point stands in my mind. She was seven and we went to a restaurant and Nikki stood beside me, she wouldn't actually sit, she was just beside me and it was around that time that I noticed, she started refusing to eat, that's the one thing that stuck in my mind."
The fundraiser's target was initially £25,000, with big-hearted celebs including Rylan Clark-Neal, Michelle Visage, and Vanessa Feltz each donating £500.
Nikki had been open about her anorexia battle since finding fame in Big Brother back in 2006, releasing autobiography Dying To Be Thin in 2009.
She has been fighting the illness since she was a child, and was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the age of 12 following a suicide bid.
At one point, Nikki had to be force fed through a nasal tube after she starved herself.
For help and support on eating disorders and body image, you can call Beat Eating Disorders on 0808 201 1677 for adults, or 0808 801 0711 if you are under 18.
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