Nick Grimshaw pays moving tribute to his friend Caroline Flack and casts blame on ‘relentless’ tabloids

Nick Grimshaw

Nick Grimshaw has shared his grief at the loss of his friend and former colleague Caroline Flack, who tragically died by suicide in February.

The gay radio 1 DJ opened up in a moving interview for the Guardian, touching on topics of sexuality, mental health, and the events leading up to Flack’s death.

Grimshaw met Flack in 2007 and the two went on to work together on the 12th series of The X Factor, with Grimshaw as a judge and Flack as a host. Flack was also a regular guest on Grimshaw’s Radio 1 show.

He was in his car on the way to the gym when heard the news of her death on the radio, and immediately drove home to cry.

“It’s really hard to take,” he said. “We weren’t best friends, but we were close and we’d speak all the time. We’d spoken earlier that week. We had plans to hang out, and I’d been messaging her when all the s**t had gone down.”

Flack’s arrest and assault charge in December made her a tabloid target, and many details of her private life were thrust into the public eye. But Grimshaw chooses to remember Flack at her best.

I knew she was very loved,” he said. “She was so funny, engaging and open. And also really vulnerable. I think a lot of people, me included, saw her in themselves. And it was the most horrible, shocking news.”

In the weeks that followed he was plagued with thoughts of how “it could have been avoided”, he said.

“I know that always happens when someone dies young, and when I’ve had friends who have passed away before they should have. You always play a bit of, ‘What could I have done?'”

Nick Grimshaw and Caroline Flack arriving at the 2015 X Factor Auditions at Wembley Arena in London. (Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle/GC Images/Getty)

Like many, he casts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the tabloid media and their “constant need to dig things out about people”.

“No one was reporting on facts,” he added, and it felt “relentless”.

“Someone’s life was on the line here. And their relationship, and their family’s lives,” he said. “We’re taught about duty of care at Radio 1. I just can’t imagine making light of something like that on the radio, so why would you write it down and print it?”

Nick Grimshaw also spoke of his own struggles with anxiety, and his early understanding of his sexuality.

He said that he never felt the need to come out as gay to his parents, and suggested that it was obvious enough for him not to have to spell it out.

“I used to just do Cher and Gloria Estefan shows,” he said, recalling the time he recreated one of Estefan’s album covers for his bemused parents.

“I also remember seeing a picture of David Beckham,” he continued.

“He was in a bath, and it was in black and white, and there was foam on him. I must have been so young because I didn’t find it sexually attractive; I just couldn’t stop looking at it.

“I remember running out to my dad in the garden being like: ‘Can I put this on my wall?’ And him being like: ‘Yes, but with Blu-Tack – don’t ruin the wall.'”

Click here to read full interview.