Duncan James shares heartbreak over begging Nikki Grahame to eat during her anorexia battle

Nikki Grahame
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Blue star Duncan James has revealed his heartache over begging Nikki Grahame to eat in the midst of her anorexia battle - confessing he wishes he had a chance to say goodbye to her when she was at her illest. 

It was confirmed last week that Big Brother star Nikki had died (opens in new tab) aged 38, following years struggling with an eating disorder (opens in new tab).

“It is with immeasurable sadness that Nikki Grahame passed away in the early hours of Friday 9th April 2021. Please respect the privacy of Nikki’s friends and family at this tragic and difficult time," a statement form her representative said.

Nikki Grahame

Credit: Getty

Former boy band star Duncan has now opened up on how he encouraged to get Nikki to eat, recalling a moment he noticed how thin she was and how she told him to "stop nagging" her.

Speaking to OK (opens in new tab)!, Duncan said, "When I was doing Chicago the musical a couple of years ago with Alexandra Burke she [Nikki] came and saw me. The picture of me I posted hugging her was backstage at the show.

"She looked so thin then. I said, ‘You need to eat. Why are you so thin?’ And she said, ‘Oh stop nagging me!’ I said, ‘No, you've got to start to eat.’ And she said, ‘I’ve been battling this for years.’"

Duncan James

Credit: Getty

Sharing details of Nikki's mental health decline over the past year of lockdown, Duncan, who has "so many fond memories" of Nikki, explained how her inability to go to the gym had caused her eating disorder to spiral.

"I tried to encourage her. What I've heard from her mum is that she did have an illness and she did battle anorexia all of her life and one of her escapisms was going to the gym and she loved to go to the gym.

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"When they shut down all of the gyms... that was her escape to go and have a workout because she would come back and be hungry and eat.

"By not going to the gym she didn't feel that hungry and didn't feel the need to eat."

Nikki checked into a private hospital last month in a bid to get help for her declining health and friends, family and fans had raised over £65,000 to pay for her treatment.

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The Go Fund Me page gives a devastating insight into just how unwell Nikki had become in the months before her death, with her loved ones feeling the hospital treatment was her last hope of beating anorexia.

'Over the past years Nikkis family and friends have tried so desperately to get Nikki all the help possible through the NHS but unfortunately the treatments have failed and we have exhausted every avenue possible, and now Nik is unfortunately in a very bad way, this is now our last hope,' the description below the fundraiser reads.

'At the moment, Nikki constantly feels weak and is struggling on a day to day basis. She feels trapped and really wants to get better but feels like it’s impossible.

'It’s heart-breaking and we desperately just want a healthy and well Nikki back with us. She has no energy and is taking each day as it comes.'

Caitlin Elliott
Caitlin Elliott

Caitlin is a Junior News Editor for Goodto.com, covering all things royal, celeb, lifestyle, food, and family. Having set her sights on becoming a magazine journalist when she was a child, Caitlin took on work experience stints at local papers and titles such as Cosmopolitan, Now, Reveal and Take a Break while studying for her Multimedia Journalism degree and has interviews with celebs, reality stars and the Archbishop of Canterbury under her belt (of course, she couldn't resist asking him about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry).