Pete Bennett has described struggling to maintain his relationship with late ex-girlfriend Nikki Grahame after their Big Brother romance.
Speak against Warmth Magazine following her death at the age of 38 earlier this month, the musician, 39, described how the couple felt “ under pressure ” when they left the Big Brother house in 2006 and came under public scrutiny.
Nikki’s body was discovered at her home in London on April 10, a day after she was discharged from Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester after a three-week stay, while her loved ones insisted she was released ‘too early’.
Heartbreak: Pete Bennett has described struggling to maintain his relationship with late ex-girlfriend Nikki Grahame after their Big Brother romance (the couple pictured in 2006)
Since her death, Pete and many others have paid tribute to the reality TV legend, with her ex-boyfriend now describing the demise of their relationship and how they became good friends afterward.
Big Brother 7 winner Pete and Northwood-born Nikki fell in love with each other and enjoyed a brief romance after leaving the show.
Speaking of their split and Nikki as a girlfriend, he has now said: ‘In the end, it was really hard to maintain a relationship outside the home …
‘Everyone wanted a piece of us and we did big interviews together as a couple, but people watched every move and it was so under pressure – I think she was too much for me to handle without Big Brother telling her!
Troubled: In a conversation with Heat Magazine following her death at the age of 38 earlier this month, the musician, 39, described how the couple felt “ under pressure ” when they left the Big Brother house in 2006 and came under public scrutiny
‘When we split it pretty raw between us for a while. Plus, I went off the radar a bit, so we drifted apart, but about a year later, we started messaging each other again. Nikki called me and said in her funny voice, “Peeeeete, can I come and see you?”
Nikki was pictured with Pete in one of her latest photos, while hugging her ex-boyfriend in the poignant photo.
Nikki has had anorexia for much of her life and was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the age of 12.
Last week, Nikki’s friends reactivated her fundraiser to help her heartbroken family pay for her funeral and help others with eating disorders.
The fundraiser was initially set up by Nikki’s friends a month ago and raised £ 65,000 for the Big Brother star for specialized treatment for her eating disorder.
His love: Nikki was pictured with Pete in one of her latest photos, while hugging her ex-boyfriend in the poignant photo
Her friends posted a message: “ We just wanted to let you know that we’re going to pass on donations again to anyone who wants to make a donation in Nikki’s memory, as many people have asked if they can still donate.
‘An amount is used for the funeral costs and the remaining money goes to an organization that helps people with eating disorders …
“The crucial funding that was missing to help people in these terrible situations has not been addressed, we will use this money to the best of our ability to try to stop this horrific, debilitating disease.”
After Pete’s interview, it was revealed that health heads began an investigation into Nikki’s death Tuesday after her family claimed she was released from the hospital prematurely after weighing just five stones when she died.
And sources close to Nikki later claimed the star would ‘be alive today if she wasn’t fired too soon.’
Lost Love: Big Brother 7 winner Pete and Northwood-born Nikki fell for each other in the house and enjoyed a brief romance after leaving the show
Now Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust, the trust that runs the hospital where the star was treated before her death, has initiated a review of the case, according to the sun.
A hospital spokesperson told the newspaper: “The Trust staff were deeply saddened to learn that Miss Grahame had passed away, and our thoughts are with Miss Grahame’s family and friends at this very difficult time.
A full internal investigation is currently underway into the circumstances surrounding Miss Grahame’s death. This is in line with standard procedures following sudden death. ‘
It comes after family members expressed fears about Nikki’s discharge from hospital earlier this month.
A source told The Sun: ‘Those close to Nikki think she would be alive today if she wasn’t fired so soon. Her family felt that she was not physically strong enough to take care of herself. It has left them shocked and heartbroken. ‘