‘She was so very fragile’: Caroline Flack was diagnosed with bipolar weeks before her tragic suicide and was ‘petrified’ of being labelled as ‘mental’, her mother Christine reveals
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Caroline Flack was diagnosed with bi-polar just weeks before her tragic suicide, her mother Christine has revealed.
The former Love Island host was found dead aged 40 in her London flat on February 15 2020, a day after she heard CPS would pursue a trial following a drunken row with then-boyfriend Lewis Burton.
And on Friday, her mother blasted the police and Love Island for the ‘hypocritical’ treatment of her daughter following the incident, amid her ‘fragile’, and worsening mental health.
‘She was so very fragile’: Caroline Flack was diagnosed with bi-polar just weeks before her tragic suicide, her mother Christine has revealed
Speaking from her Norfolk home, she told The Sun: ‘It’s so important to me that Carrie [Caroline] is not tainted by those last few months of her life. It’s tragic. I hate the memory of my daughter to be a negative one because she wasn’t negative.’
Christine – who is also the mother to Lizzie, 51, Paul, 50, and Caroline’s twin sister Jody, 41 – spoke fondly about her late daughter, remembering her for her ‘happy, funny, brilliant, kind and outgoing’ personality, while noting she endured some ‘terrific down times’ which most people weren’t privy to.
She said her daughter suffered for a ‘long time’ in silence as she discussed her final medical appointment to address her mental health.
‘That was the thing; she hid it,’ Christine reflected. ‘The last doctor she saw thought she may have had bipolar and that’s what I always thought. It was just constant highs, all of a sudden, then the lows.’
Tragedy: The former Love Island host was found dead aged 40 in her London flat, a day after she heard CPS would pursue a trial following a drunken row with then-boyfriend Lewis Burton
According to the mother-of-four, Caroline didn’t have a local doctor and would hop between various medical practices because she was ‘so ashamed’ of people reading her files to discover her ongoing mental health troubles.
She admitted her daughter was ‘petrified’ of people seeing her ‘dark side’ and thinking she was ‘mental’.
The late TV presenter allegedly attacked her former partner Lewis, 28, in December 2019. However, Caroline strongly denied assaulting her him and had pleaded not guilty to assault by beating at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court on December 23.
She was subsequently axed from hosting Love Island and was swiftly replaced by Laura Whitmore.
Her death was the latest connected to Love Island, following the deaths of contestants Mike Thalassitis, 26, in March 2019 and Sophie Gradon, 32, in June 2018.
Dearly missed: And on Friday, her mother blasted the police and the dating show for the ‘hypocritical’ treatment of her daughter following the incident and leading up to her passing
Christine called out the ITV dating show for their ‘hypocrisy,’ after firing Caroline over the alleged attack, despite promoting rows between couples during their episodes.
Despite her resentment towards the show for their treatment of Caroline, Christine insisted her daughter loved working on the programme at the time and adored the crew and the contestants.
Caroline’s mother also confessed she hasn’t been able to watch the programme since her daughter passed away, because it brings back memories and unwanted emotions.
‘Now, it’s horrible when the advert comes up and the girl that’s taken her place is all in almost the same dress, in almost the same pose,’ Christine added.
In loving memory: Speaking from her Norfolk home, she said: ‘It’s so important to me that Carrie [Caroline] is not tainted by those last few months of her life. It’s tragic’
She also said Love Island could have shown greater respect to her daughter and responded differently to her amid news of the alleged incident with Lewis.
Flack was found hanged at her home in Stoke Newington, north-east London. On a coffee table a paramedic saw a note that read: ‘I hope me and Lewis can one day find harmony’.
After Caroline’s passing, Christine blasted a senior Met Police officer for appealing against the CPS’s decision to give her daughter a caution after her arrest for the alleged attack, despite officers finding her at the crime scene with an injury caused by self-harm.
She accused Detective Inspector Lauren Bateman of treating her more harshly due to her celebrity status.
Candid: Christine spoke fondly about her late daughter, remembering her for her ‘happy, funny, brilliant, kind and outgoing’ personality, while noting she endured some ‘terrific down times’
During an inquest in 2020, Christine said: ‘She (Caroline) cut her arm (to cause serious injury to herself)… and you were putting an appeal in to get her prosecuted, you never bothered to see her.
‘If it had been… an ordinary person, you wouldn’t have prosecuted. I see domestic abuse and I just think you should be disgusted with yourself so there is nothing we can do to bring Caroline back. I hope in hindsight you do regret this. This girl killed herself because you put an appeal through.’
DI Bateman previously denied treating the presenter more harshly because she was famous and insisted she ‘wouldn’t do anything differently’ if confronted with the case again today.
She said a caution was not appropriate because Flack did not admit her guilt in a police interview.
Caroline’s family have repeatedly accused the authorities of pursuing a ‘show trial’ and ‘witch hunt’, despite being aware of her worsening mental health.
Echoing the same sentiments in the interview with The Sun, Christine said the case was ‘so badly handled’ by police as she confirmed they locked her up for 24 hours after the arrest while aware she had previously tried to commit suicide.
She said someone else might have been able to survive the public debacle but not Caroline, because her mental health was ‘so very fragile’.
‘The last thing that anybody ever said about her was that she was an abuser,’ Christine added.
Before Caroline passed, she endured an onslaught of trolling on social media from tweeters that branded her an ‘abuser’ and said she deserved to be sacked from Love Island.
Commenting on the relentless trolling Caroline suffered in the wake of the alleged attack, she commended her daughter for never speaking poorly about anyone.
Incident: The late TV presenter allegedly attacked her former partner Lewis, 28, in December 2019, however she strongly denied assaulting her him and had pleaded not guilty to assault by beating (pictured together in October 2019)
The TV personality’s death prompted an outpouring of sorrow from celebrity friends, colleagues and fans, who referenced one of the former Strictly winner’s social media posts from December in which she urged people to ‘Be Kind’.
While Christine acknowledged the ‘Be Kind’ movement is great in theory, she doesn’t feel anyone has truly learned anything from it or behaved kinder since her daughter’s death.
Instead she feels many individuals have simply ‘jumped on the bandwagon’ with the social cause.
To stop Caroline from seeing the hateful comments when she was alive, Christine revealed she would have to take her phone away because the presenter was ‘addicted’ to reading the negativity.
No holding back: Christine called out the ITV dating show for their ‘hypocrisy,’ after firing Caroline over the alleged attack, despite promoting rows between couples during their episodes (pictured this year’s contestants Faye Winter and Teddy Soares)
As a result, she accumulated approximately 20 cell devices in a bid to protect her, despite Caroline immediately going out to buy herself a new one.
Her daughter’s battle with depression presented in adolescence when she tried to commit suicide for the first time and was subsequently hospitalised.
Christine admitted her daughter was always ‘fascinated’ by suicide and she feared she would take her own life.
According to the mother-of-four, Caroline experienced bouts of terrifying lows throughout her twenties and thirties and checked into rehab on multiple occasions for treatment.
Christine recalled a harrowing conversation with her daughter after she survived a suicide attempt: ‘I can remember saying to her, you know, “you survived for a reason,” but then when she was really down again, many years later, she said to me, “You said I’d survived for a reason – but what is it?”‘.
Despite the attempts at taking her own life, Christine believes her daughter didn’t want to die and loved her life, career and close friends.
Christine said Caroline was passionate about being a good example for younger women and she hopes she is remembered for all of her wonderful attributes.
For help call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org
Devastated: Christine also said the case was ‘so badly handled’ by police as she confirmed they locked her up for 24 hours after the arrest while aware she had previously tried to commit suicide (pictured leaving court with Caroline in 2019)
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
While it is normal to feel down from time to time, people with depression may feel persistently unhappy for weeks or months on end.
Depression can affect anyone at any age and is fairly common – approximately one in ten people are likely to experience it at some point in their life.
Depression is a genuine health condition which people cannot just ignore or ‘snap out of it’.
Symptoms and effects vary, but can include constantly feeling upset or hopeless, or losing interest in things you used to enjoy.
It can also cause physical symptoms such as problems sleeping, tiredness, having a low appetite or sex drive, and even feeling physical pain.
In extreme cases it can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Traumatic events can trigger it, and people with a family history may be more at risk.
It is important to see a doctor if you think you or someone you know has depression, as it can be managed with lifestyle changes, therapy or medication.
Source: NHS Choices
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