Zoe Ball inundated with support over poignant post on late boyfriend Billy Yates’ birthday

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Zoe Ball, 50, has shared an emotional tribute to her late boyfriend, Billy Yates, as she showed her followers a beautiful red rose that had come back in time for what would have been the cameraman’s birthday. The BBC Radio 2 presenter sent love to all of the special people in her former partner’s life, as it would undoubtedly be a difficult time for them as well, four years on from his tragic death.

Billy took his own life back in 2017, leaving Zoe devastated at the time, and today, she still keeps his memory alive with a special rose bush in her garden.

Sharing a close-up photo of the rose in full bloom, she typed: “The roses my mama bought me came back for Billys birthday.(sic)

“Love to all his special peeps today #mateswithyates and a big hug for my Mama as it’s her wedding anniversary, we miss you Rick & Billy #alwaysinourhearts.”

Zoe’s stepfather Rick died in 2012 from Motor Neurone Disease and she has since raised awareness for Motor Neurone Awareness Month to highlight the importance of early diagnosis.

In response, fans sent their love to the radio DJ and shared their own experiences with grief.

One said: “Lovely Zoe, hope you’re ok too.”

A second replied: “Depression took one of my closest friends, my daughter’s godmother two years ago. I miss her terribly. Sending much love and healing vibes Zoe.”

While a third remarked: “Muchos love Zoe. I’ll raise a glass to him later. And happy anniversary to your mum! Hope you’re keeping well xx.”

“Bless you Zoe, love you,” added a fourth.

Zoe also penned an emotional tribute to Billy on the three-year anniversary of his death last year.

“Billy, three years,” the BBC radio presenter wrote, alongside a throwback snap of the cameraman. 

“Your love lives on in the hearts of all your dear ones angel. Always the rainbow coming around the bend.

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She added: “Power, strength & love for those in need of love today.”

Zoe dated Billy following the end of her marriage to DJ Fatboy Slim (real-name Norman Cook), and the couple were first pictured together in February 2017. 

But sadly Billy, who was battling depression, died in May that year. 

The heartbroken TV presenter has since completed a Sport Relief cycling challenge from Blackpool to Brighton to highlight the importance of mental health in Billy’s memory.

Speaking after the challenge in May 2018, Zoe opened up about her final moments with her boyfriend before his death. 

Breaking down in tears, the mum-of-two said: “It was just that moment and that feeling of, ‘Oh my god, I love him so much and we’ll find help and it will all be ok.’ 

“And I wish I’d told him that.” 

She continued: “I just thought, whatever it is we have to do, I love him so much we will get through this somehow.

“He got on his bike and he cycled off and he turned round and he blew me a kiss, and that was the last time that I saw him. And I feel really grateful that I got my goodbye in a way. And I think that was my goodbye.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.

Alternatively, you can find more information on the Samaritans website here.

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