Nikki Grahame’s mum reveals first time ‘alarm bells rang’ during gymnastics when she was just six

Nikki Grahame's mum has opened up about how "alarm bells rang" for her daughter when she was taking part in gymnastics aged six.

Late Big Brother star Nikki tragically passed away aged 38 last April, following a long battle with anorexia which began when she was a child.

In an exclusive interview with OK!, Nikki's mum Sue, 67, has opened up on her "beautiful" daughter's life and her heartbreaking experience of an eating disorder that lasted almost 30 years.

Speaking about what Nikki was like as a child, Sue shared: "From the minute Nikki was born, she made her presence known. When I brought her home she cried solidly for a fortnight. In the end, I was forced to go and buy her a dummy. Finally – silence!

"She always liked to be in charge. Even at nursery, she called the shots. I remember her pulling a kid out of one of those red and yellow plastic cars so she could have a turn, and letting her sister Natalie cut her fringe with a pair of scissors in the back garden."

While she was in primary school, her mum took her to join a local gymnastics club, but noticed it was the first time she noticed her daughter affected by the "pressure to perform".

Sue continued: "She used to like standing on her head doing handstands and so when she was about six I suggested we take her to gymnastics.

"She joined the club and was very good at it but that’s the first time I noticed her being affected by pressure – in this case a pressure to perform. It did ring a few alarm bells because I thought she was too young to be worrying about things like that."

Nikki stars in a new documentary Nikki Grahame: Who Is She?, airing on Thursday 7 April, which takes a look at the star's life.

In her OK! interview, Nikki's mum Sue further opened up on how she sometimes watched YouTube videos to feel closer to her daughter.

Sue explained: "There's a lot of stuff about Nikki on YouTube, which is great for me, because suddenly she comes to life. It might be an interview or a scene of her in the Big Brother house. Most of her TV appearances were when she was doing ok so it's nice to see."

She added how "proud" she was of her daughter's achievements and how she was "the best thing that ever happened" to her.

"I believe God set her free last year and now she’s no longer in pain. If I could speak to my daughter now I’d tell her she was pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me – she and her sister," her mum said.

"I am so proud of everything she achieved. She was the best and I’m so lucky that she was my girl. She never felt like a victim – she was always so strong and brave."

Sue continued: "Before she died, I promised Nikki a trip away wherever she liked. We were going to go to Tahiti or Hawaii together. This year, I’ll go to Hawaii without her and scatter some of her ashes in the warm sand, maybe even in the sea. I think she’d like that – a warm and beautiful place to rest. I need that too, to get some closure."

For help and support with eating disorders contact SEED on 01482 718130 or visit seedeatingdisorder.org.uk.

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