Caroline took her own life in February after she was charged with assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton – something which she denied.
Now, singer Sam has opened up about the bond she shared with Caroline exclusively to Entertainment Daily.
The two women met when Sam auditioned for The X Factor in 2013 – a series she won.
Caroline was presenting Xtra Factor with singer Olly Murs at the time.
What did Sam Bailey say about Caroline Flack?
Sam told ED! that Caroline was “so supportive” after she was crowned the show’s winner.
“I just remember her being so supportive to me when I came off the show and the press were all over me and following me around,” Sam revealed.
“She was on Xtra Factor on my year, she was great, so good at what she did. We were in contact with each other quite a lot afterwards,” she added.
I just remember her being so supportive to me when I came off the show.
Sam said she struggled to come to terms with Caroline’s untimely death and, upon hearing the news, looked back at messages the TV presenter had sent her.
“Obviously she passed away under such awful circumstance. I believe it was a lot to do with the tabloids following her around.
“The biggest advice I ever got was from her and it was to do with how to just try to be thick-skinned with it all.
Caroline’s text messages to Sam
“I went back and read the messages after she died and it really choked me up.
“Because that’s what was eventually the final nail in the coffin for her. I believe she just couldn’t cope with all the tabloids,” Sam added.
The singer said despite not speaking to Caroline for the past few years, her death hit her hard.
“It was tough, it really was tough,” she told ED!.
“I hadn’t spoken to her for a few years because she was off doing Love Island, but the months after The X Factor she was there and she was sending me messages of support.
“When she died I just went, let me go back and see all the things she said to me. And I was like, oh my gosh, this is what eventually took her.
“It’s so sad, so so sad,” Sam said.
Advice for other X Factor hopefuls
However, despite the pressures of fame, Sam told us wannabe stars shouldn’t be put off of going down the reality TV route.
“I’d say just make sure you’ve got supportive people around you and people that are trustworthy,” she said.
“And grow a couple of layers of skin, as eventually those layers will be taken off and you’ll be left bare and open. You just need to be able to be thick skinned.”
Sam also said her previous job helped her to cope with the pressures of fame.
“Being a prison officer before the show, it’s probably the reason that I coped so well with everything.
“Going from that job to being in the public eye is relatively the same, where you have to stand your ground, be thick-skinned, assertive and strong.”
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