Ex Emmerdale star Gemma Oaten has revealed she tried to help former Big Brother contestant Nikki Grahame in her eating disorder battle.
Nikki sadly died on Friday (April 9) at the age of 38 after battling anorexia since childhood.
Speaking before Nikki’s death, Gemma said she saw her two years ago and “got the sense she felt so forgotten and so lost”.
What did Gemma Oaten say about Nikki?
Speaking exclusively to Entertainment Daily!, Gemma said: “We’ve met a few times at different events. The last time I saw her was about two years ago, she just didn’t look right, she didn’t look well.
“And I remember saying how are you doing, are you okay? She said yeah I’m fine, and I was like no, are you okay, and she said you know what it’s like, it just is what it is.”
She continued: “And I was like no Nikki you are worth fighting for, you can reach out to me, SEED, I just got the sense she felt so forgotten and so lost and that was two years ago and I couldn’t have done any more than what I did. I asked and I tried.
Gemma praised Nikki’s “good heart”
“We did speak about it and I know Imogen [Thomas] and I’ve had a few of Nikki’s friends message me privately saying I’m worried and what can I do as a friend and I’ve always tried to help her friendship group but sadly it takes rock bottom.
“Because she’s been living like this for so long it’s such a hard thing to think right let’s challenge it now because it’s just been her existence and sometimes it has to get to rock bottom.”
Gemma said Nikki had a “good heart” and called her battle “heartbreaking”, adding she hoped it was “one that ends in hope”.
Speaking about her own eating disorder battle, the star added: “My recovery started when I was 19 and I was fully recovered and ready to live a normal life when I was about 23 and then by 25 I’d got Emmerdale.
“So by the time I’d got Emmerdale I was okay.
“So I didn’t have to go through was public scrutiny and trolls and keyboard warriors and it did make me think god, if I was going through my eating disorder with social media in this day and age as the world is now, I thought it was hard enough, it must be really really difficult.”
What else has Gemma said recently?
Gemma’s own parents co-founded the charity SEED when Gemma was a child herself.
Last month, the soap star – who was 10 when she first developed her eating disorder – shared her story on Twitter.
Appearing visibly upset, Gemma said of Nikki’s condition: “I am struggling with this because 26 years ago the reason Seed was co-founded by my parents was because we went through the exact same thing.
“And yet here we are now, still fighting for somebody’s life. This beautiful, beautiful woman that deserves a life away from an eating disorder can’t get help. And it’s not just Nikki. It’s hundreds of thousands of people.”
“I will keep fighting for change”
The soap star urged those who are struggling to reach out and get help. She also slammed the government for the lack of funding available for mental health care.
In addition, in a follow-up tweet, Gemma added: “Early intervention is KEY. You can’t put a number on a life. Not on the scales, not on money and not on time.
“These are real people with loved ones who feel helpless. A daughter, son, brother, sister, wife, husband, friend.
“I will keep fighting for change…”
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, contact SEED here or on its helpline: (01482) 718130
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