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Monday 24th September 2018

Zoe Ball candidly reveals heartbreaking grief over boyfriend's death

So heartbreaking

Zoe Ball has said she is "getting stronger" after her partner Billy Yates took his own life last year, but that she still struggles with moments of grief.

Cameraman Billy was found dead at his home in May at the age of 40.

Strictly: It Takes Two presenter Zoe last week cycled more than 350 miles over five days, from Blackpool to Brighton, raising more than £500,000 for Sport Relief in a fundraiser inspired by him.

Zoe told the Radio Times that while she still struggles with unsuspected moments of heartache, she is gradually feeling better.

Zoe has been taking on a gruelling challenge in Billy's memory (Credit: Instagram @zoetheball)

"I'm getting stronger," she said.

"I'm a tough old cookie. My family have been through a lot.

Read more: Former Strictly star expecting twins with Team GB medallist wife

There are moments when you least expect it when grief catches you.

"There are moments when you least expect it when grief catches you. But the main thing for me is I've found people who have been through this and are doing better. They've found some hope.

"That's the biggest thing for me, that there is hope. Otherwise what are we doing this for?"

The 47-year-old has said she still grieves her late boyfriend (Credit: Instagram @zoetheball)

Zoe, 47, said that she has moments "when I can't believe any of this happened."

"I'm in the middle of this challenge and Billy's gone," she said, adding: "That never leaves you. That and the heartbreak, and the fact you couldn't save them.

"It's true for Billy’s mum and dad and his sisters and friends, too. They are all in pain.

"Especially his male friends. The ripple effect is dangerous. It can happen again. It's scary.

Zoe hosts Strictly spinoff show It Takes Two (Credit: BBC)

Zoe said she knew Billy had lived with depression for a long time and that she "didn't know how to help".

She said that she sometimes wonders how she was not able to 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'," she said.

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"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's interview is in the new issue of Radio Times (Credit: Radio Times)

Her efforts in the challenge, which she completed to raise awareness of mental illness, will be shown in BBC One documentary Zoe's Hardest Road Home on Wednesday March 21.

Statistics from charity Samaritans show more than 6,600 people took their own lives in 2015.

Radio Times is on sale now.