Zoe Ball Reflects On Boyfriend Billy Yates' Death, Saying She 'Wishes She'd Told Him She Loved Him'

She recently completed a Sport Relief challenge in his memory.

Zoe Ball has expressed her regret over not telling her boyfriend, Billy Yates, that she loved him one last time before his death.

Last year, Zoe was dealt a blow when Billy, a cameraman for the BBC, took his own life at his home in south London, after struggling with depression.

In Billy’s memory, Zoe recently took part in a 350-mile cycling challenge for Sport Relief, to raise awareness of mental health issues, and money to help those affected around the UK.

Zoe Ball
Zoe Ball
PA Archive/PA Images

During the challenge, the ‘It Takes Two’ presenter had an emotional moment as she reflected on Billy’s death, admitting she wishes she could have expressed how she felt for him the last time she saw him.

In scenes that will air tonight (21 March) on BBC One, Zoe says: “It was just that moment and that feeling of, ‘Oh my god I love him so much, we’ll find some help and it will all be okay’. And I wish I’d told him that.”

Zoe spoke earlier this month about Billy’s struggles with his mental health, telling Radio Times: “You can’t just sit down with someone when they are that poorly and say, ‘I want to help’. There is no quick fix.

“I’d say things like, ‘If you exercise, go outside, see someone you love, it might help.’ But it didn’t. And the therapy he had didn’t even touch the sides.”

Zoe on Brighton beach, as part of her challenge
Zoe on Brighton beach, as part of her challenge

She added: “Even now I sometimes think, ‘I’m a resourceful woman, I’m a bright woman… why could I not save him?’ And then I have to stop and say, ’Everyone who loved him knew. None of us found an answer, none of us saved him.

“To move forward you have to accept that. Which is very difficult. But I take comfort from the fact he is no longer in pain. He struggled every day and now he is at peace. The pain has stopped for him.”

‘Zoe Ball’s Hardest Road’ airs tonight on BBC One at 9pm.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk

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