How Peaches Geldof's family life echoed her mother Paula Yates

Peaches’ tragic role model: How Paula Yates and her daughter both wrote about parenting, married rock stars and settled into quiet family lives before succumbing to heroin demons

  • Channel 4 documentary looks back on Paula Yates’ love of motherhood
  • Yates’ daughter Peaches, was a writer who promoted attachment parenting

Channel 4 documentary Paula, which revisits the meteoric rise of Paula Yates while she battled private demons, revealed she was a ‘famous teetotal’ before she lost custody of her daughters with Sir Bob Geldof.

Speaking to the program, Yates’s best friend Belinda Brewin revealed the star turned to drink ‘to forget’ after her personal life began to unravel following the death of her partner Michael Hutchence, a DNA test which revealed her biological father was Hughie Green, and the custody decision.

Although she was best known for her presenting roles on The Big Breakfast and The Tube, Yates, who died of an accidental heroin overdose in 2000 at the age of 41, often spoke about how being a mother was her favourite job and she took time out of the spotlight to raise her children. She also penned parenting books.

As her daughters grew up, second eldest Peaches’ life mirrored that of her mother almost exactly after she married a rockstar, became an advocate for attachment parenting, and tragically died from a heroin overdose in 2014 when she was just 25 years old.

Yates shared three children with Boomtown Rats star Geldof – Peaches, Pixie and Fifi Trixibelle. She also shared Tiger Lily with Michael Hutchence. Following her death, he raised all four girls.

Peaches Geldof (pictured with one of her sons before her death in 2014) followed in the footsteps of her mother Paula Yates in promoting attachment parenting and frequently writing about the joys of motherhood. Her death also chillingly echoed that of Yates, after a coroner ruled she had accidentally overdosed from heroin, just as Yates had done 14 years earlier

Although her name had been made as an eccentric, flirty TV presenter, Yates was described by her close friends as ‘quieter’ in person, and enjoying ‘village life’ as she wrote books about motherhood. 

A clip from an interview between Yates and Terry Wogan, in which she promotes her new book, saw the TV presenter speak about how motherhood was just as wonderful as being a career woman.

After Wogan described motherhood as Yates’s ‘niche’, she replied: ‘Yeah, I think that I like it very much and I think that one of the nice things about it is that, the more children you have, the more you realise how fantastic it can be at home.’

Mark Cook, Yates’s make-up artist and close friend, said she was ‘quieter in real life’ and ‘loved being with her kids’.

Just like her mother Paula Yates, Peaches Geldof was known to date rockstars and married US rocker Tom Cohen in 2012 (couple pictured together in 2013)

Peaches Geldof also appeared on This Morning alongside Katie Hopkins in November 2013 to debate the benefits of attachment parenting

Paula Yates often spoke about how motherhood was her ‘niche’ and wrote books on parenting, as a documentary has revealed her love of ‘village life’ and being a mother until her personal life began to unravel. Pictured: Yates in 1996 with her arm around Peaches, while out with Michael Hutchence, Pixie Geldof (right) and the girls’ friend Natasha (centre)

He said: ‘When you read some of the books it’s all about the village life and baking cakes. That was her… escape.’

Before her death in 2014, Peaches was a columnist who also wrote about motherhood and how she favoured attachment parenting – a style adopted by her own late mother. 

Speaking to Grazia magazine a year before her death, Peaches, then 24, revealed how she and her husband Tom Cohen slept in separate bedrooms, but each shared a bed with one of their sons, Phaedra and Astala, who were two and one when she died. She also opened up about how it had affected their sex life, having become parents early on in their relationship.

She said: ‘There are days when my husband and I think, ‘What if we’d had more time to be in this relationship to just enjoy each other’?’ 

However, she remained a strong advocate for the practice and often promoted it. 

At the time of her death, Peaches was a columnist for Mother & Baby Magazine. After she died, her family gave permission for her final column to be published posthumously.

Her last words about motherhood echoed the sentiment shared by Yates when she was alive as she wrote: ‘When I had two wailing, smiling, joyful little blobs of waddling pink flesh, they became my entire existence, and saved me from one of pure apathy.’

So committed was Peaches to her parenting style that she appeared on This Morning just a few months before her death and debated attachment parenting with Katie Hopkins.

During the interview Peaches, who described the phenomenon as ‘instinctive mothering’, spoke in favour of the method, while Hopkins disagreed with the practice.

As Peaches made headlines discussing her family and love life, fans also drew parallels with her late mother Yates.

Both mother and daughter fell for rockstars, with Peaches marrying Tom Cohen, a US rockstar, while Yates had first married Sir Bob Geldof before getting together with INXS frontman Michael Hutchence.

Peaches married Cohen in 2012 at St Mary Magdalene and St Lawrence Church in the village of Davington in Kent – the same church where her mother and father had been blessed following their Las Vegas wedding in 1986.

Prior to tying the knot with Cohen, Peaches had briefly been married to another US rock star, Max Drummey.

After an intimate and symbolic wedding ceremony to Cohen in which the bride wore a stunning white lace gown, Peaches prioritised family life the countryside, just as her own mother had done years before.

But while she publicly promoted attachment parenting and the joys of motherhood in a style echoing Yates, Peaches was secretly battling substance abuse issues and was having treatment for heroin addiction in the two years before her death.

An inquest heard Peaches had been taking methadone, a substitute for heroin, before she relapsed two months before her death and again started using the class A drug.

As the mother-of-two battled secret demons before her tragic death, Peaches’ story again chillingly echoed that of her own mother. 

Speaking in the documentary, Brewin revealed how Yates had always been ‘famously teetotal’ for most of her life and even starred in a TV advert for non-alcoholic wine with Oliver Reed. She didn’t begin drinking until her personal life began to fall apart – but this also came with the use of prozac and valium.

Brewin said: ‘A lot of the time I felt like she might never be the same again. I think she felt that, too.’

She added: ‘People grieve in different ways so she would drink to forget.’

An inquest into Yates’s death heard that she had not used illegal drugs for around two years before she died, with the coroner ruling the overdose accidental as by that time, Yates was ‘an unsophisticated taker of heroin’ with no tolerance to the drug.

The inquest into Peaches’ death heard she had hidden heroin from Cohen, but when he discovered she was using again she flushed it down the toilet.

A post-mortem revealed she had fatal levels of codeine, methadone and morphine in her system.

In a chilling verdict, the coroner ruled she had died from a heroin overdose that was not intentional. He also noted that, just like Yates, Peaches’s tolerance levels to heroin had declined.

The coroner said: ‘It has been said this is a case of history repeating itself. But this is not entirely so.

‘By November last year she had ceased to take heroin as a result of the considerable treatment and counselling that she had received.

‘This was a significant achievement for her but, for reasons we will never know, prior to her death she returned to taking heroin, with the fatal consequences that we have heard here today.’

The day before Peaches died, she posted a photo on Instagram of herself and Yates with the caption: ‘Me and my Mum.’

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