“Peaches has died,” a grief-stricken Bob Geldof said. “We are beyond pain.”
The father of three yesterday delivered a touching and eloquent statement on behalf of his family following the sudden death of his second-eldest daughter, Peaches.
“She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us,” he said. “Writing ‘was’ destroys me afresh. What a beautiful child. How is this possible that we will not see her again? How is that bearable? We loved her and will cherish her forever. How sad that sentence is. (Husband Tom Cohen) and her sons Astala and Phaedra will always belong in our family, fractured so often, but never broken.”
A consummate wild child with a deeply intelligent social conscience. Rock star royalty who lived life against the stereotype.
Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof was, like her eclectic name, a study in contrasts throughout her short, but full, life. A wild child with a strong social conscience. Rock star royalty who lived life against the stereotype. The product of a difficult childhood who fiercely protected her own two children. A devoted mother and a British media Page One fixture to the very end. Her short life was a rollercoaster of success and setbacks, due in part to an existence lived wholly in the spotlight and plagued by tragedy.
A troubled childhood
Peaches’ mother, television presenter Paula Yates, died at the age of 41 after a heroin overdose. At the time, Peaches was 11 and her sisters Pixie and Fifi Trixibelle, and her half sister Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, were 10, 17 and four.
Yates’ death followed years of substance abuse in the aftermath of the 2000 suicide of her lover, INXS singer Michael Hutchence. Yates was devastated by his death and spiralled into an uncontrollable cycle of drugs and depression.
Peaches and her siblings split their time across two worlds, “complete chaos” with her mother and an “almost Dickensian” existence with her father, who was “trying in his own way to combat what was going on at my mother’s.”
Peaches reflected on the time of her mother’s death as a confusing period.
“It’s still hard to talk about it. I just blocked it out. I went to school the next day because my father’s mentality was ‘keep calm and carry on’,” she told Elle magazine in 2013. “I didn’t start grieving for my mother properly until I was maybe 16.”
Her last tweet was an old photograph of her and her late mother, simply captioned “Me and my Mum.”
To seek solace, Peaches turned to drugs and partying while living in the US as a teenager. She frequently made headlines for her wild ways, most notably a Las Vegas wedding to musician Max Drummey at the age of 19. The marriage lasted six months.
A brilliant career
Despite her growing reputation as a party girl, the teen also gained respect and acclaim as a budding journalist, writing as a contributor to the Telegraph and Guardian newspapers from the age of 15.
One of her first articles discussed the ridiculousness of celebrity baby names, using her own experience as hilarious anecdotal evidence.
“Mine has haunted me all of my life, and will continue to do so. I am named, as you may have noticed, after a fruit.”
Her bubbly personality and quick wit made her an ideal candidate for television and she soon made the crossover, writing and producing her own documentary Peaches Geldof: Teenage Mind in 2005. In 2008 she earned her own reality series and in 2011 began hosting chat show named OMG! With Peaches Geldof.
Love and motherhood
In a statement following her death, her husband Thomas Cohen fondly remembered his “beloved wife”.
“Peaches was adored by myself and her two sons, Astala and Phaedra,” Cohen said. “I shall bring them up with their mother in their hearts everyday. We shall love her forever.”
The pair began seeing each other upon Peaches’ return to England from the US in 2010 and found loyal partners in one another.
“I fell in love the first night we spent with each other and it was the same for her,” Cohen told the Daily Mail in 2012. “We haven’t looked back since. She’s funny and clever and open and my love for her is about caring for her.”
They married in September 2012 in the church were her mother’s funeral was held.
When Geldof fell pregnant with their first child, the couple was overjoyed and Geldof soon found a new purpose. She became a doting mother to her two sons, one-year-old Astala and 23-month-old Phaedra, and an outspoken advocate for “attachment parenting”, a method of mothering focused on close bonds and a cycle of compassion. She regularly shared photos of her beloved babies on Instagram and Twitter and blogged about her experiences of motherhood for Hello Magazine.
Many saw her commitment and passion for parenthood as an attempt to distance herself from her own chaotic upbringing.
An “unexplained and sudden” death
Police found no evidence of hard drugs, injury or a suicide note at the scene of the 25-year-old’s death. While a cause of death remains unclear, family and friends mourn a young woman known for her sense of humour and intelligence.
Despite her tragic and unexplained passing, it is important to remember the young starlet as a woman who fought against her own demons to forge a better life for herself and her beloved children.
Perhaps the sweetest image of Peaches was painted by her mother in her 1995 autobiography, who fondly recalled her daughter’s eccentric childhood.
“Peaches is the only six-year-old I’ve ever met who goes to bed in a bright-purple bri-nylon peignoir with matching negligee, which someone gave her for Christmas,” Yates wrote. “At least we knew what it was like to live with real glamour!”
For help or information on depression and suicide:
• Lifeline: 13 11 14
• Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
• MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78
• Beyondblue support service: 1300 22 4636
• Lifeline: 13 11 14
• SANE Australia Helpline 1800 18 SANE (7263)