Former Big Brother UK winner Pete Bennett broke down in tears as he mourned the death of his co-star and ex, Nikki Grahame.
The 38-year-old contestant died on Friday, April 9, weeks after checking into a private clinic amid a longtime battle with anorexia that had worsened during the coronavirus pandemic this past year. Pete began a brief romance with Nikki when they competed on Big Brother UK season seven in 2006. They met up again one month ago for a friendly reunion. He recently helped promote a crowdfunding page in which more than $94,000 was raised to pay for her treatment.
“We got loads of money and the amount of love and support for Nikki was overwhelming,” Pete, 39, said in an Instagram selfie video posted on Saturday, April 10. “I thought to myself, yeah, we can save her. But it’s OK. she’s in a good place. She’s not suffering anymore.”
He continued, holding up a bottle of wine, “So I would just like to raise a f–king glass, a f–king bottle of wine, more like, for Nikki Grahame and all the love from us at Big Brother 7 that we really love you Nikki. You were a true winner, nan. You were great. You f–ing rock it, babes.”
Sobbing, Pete added, “Just want to say, we’ll miss you babe….See you later Nikki. Bye.”
Pete also wrote that he found out about Nikki’s death earlier in the day. He wrote, “Im gutted [sic], we have lost a true character, my bb7 posse feel like we’ve lost a family member, our series just wouldn’t of been the same without her!”
“Even through our ups and downs we have still remained close through the years, and it was so nice to visit again recently with my girlfriend ,sing Kate bush songs and have fun like the good old days!” he continued. “I’m just sad that it was the last song we ever sang…Thank you for the memories my friend , you will sorely be missed,I hope you’re not hurting anymore and finally at peace. I’ll See you in heaven Nikki [red heart emoji] Lots of love Pete Xxx.”
In late January, Nikki and Pete reunited virtually with their Big Brother season seven cast mates on the Sky Bingo series The Big Ry-Union. Nikki called her time on the reality show “an “incredible fairy tale.” She said she still speaks to Pete “quite a lot” and also keeps in touch with other past co-stars.
In mid-March, Pete shared on his Instagram page a photo of himself hugging Nikki inside a kitchen, and promoting the crowdfunding page to raise money for her anorexia treatment. He wrote, “Pete and Nikki March 2021 [heart emoji] visiting my nikki and still cuddling to this day :)”