Zoe Ball’s emotional birthday tribute to late boyfriend Billy Yates

He passed away last year

Zoe Ball has paid an emotional tribute to her late boyfriend Billy Yates to honour him on what would have been his 42nd birthday.

The presenter was dating Billy for a number of months before he took his own life in May last year, leaving her devastated.

Zoe, 47, took to Instagram on Thursday to share a photo of film producer Billy saying she’ll “love his face forever”.

Read more: Zoe Ball candidly reveals heartbreaking grief over boyfriend’s death

The photo sees Billy smiling while wearing a hat and glasses.

Zoe captioned the picture: “Happy Birthday Bface one shining bright up there in the cosmos.

“Hope you can see the shimmers of love that burn ever strong for you, from the daft beings dotted all over this planet down here, who’ll love your face forever & miss you more than ever.”

She added the hashtag, “mateswithyates”.

Billy passed away in May last year (Credit: Instagram)

Fans rushed to comment on the post, with many sending their condolences and birthday messages to Billy.

One person said: “Beautiful words,” while another wrote: “Thinking of you and all his family and friends.”

A third commented: “Thinking of you Zoe. Happy birthday Billy.”

Earlier this year, Zoe 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 Billy.

Opening up about Billy’s death, Zoe told the Radio Times in March: “I’m getting stronger. I’m a tough old cookie. My family have been through a lot.

Instagram @zoetheball
Zoe cycled more than 350 miles over five days to raise money for a fundraiser inspired by Billy (Credit: Instagram)

“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.”

Zoe, who is now rumoured to be dating construction boss Michael Reed, 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.

Zoe said she didn’t know how to help Billy’s depression (Credit: FameFlynet)

Read more: Zoe Ball reveals why she’s not trusted with any Strictly secrets

“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.”

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