How did Paula Yates die, who was her husband and how many children did she have?

23 years on since the tragic death of former Big Breakfast presenter Paula Yates, Channel 4 have created a two-part documentary taking a closer look at the Welsh star’s life.

Focusing on four “extraordinarily compelling” and previously unseen interviews which were recorded in 1998 and 1999, the documentary hopes to explore the mystery surrounding Paula’s life and untimely death in 2000.

During the interviews, Paula “frankly and eloquently discusses the positives and pitfalls of her life”, according to the broadcaster, and also includes testimonies from her close friends and former colleagues.

But who exactly was Paula and how did she die?

Early Life

Born on the 24th April 1965, Paula was originally born in Colwyn bay to English parents, with her mother being former showgirl Elaine Smith who also had a lucrative career writing erotic novels.

For much of her life, Paula believed her father was Jess Yates (her mother’s husband) the host of ITV religious show Stars on Sunday, however a DNA test taken in 1997 revealed this was not the case, and her biological father was actually game show host Hughie Green.

Describing her own childhood as lonely and isolated, Paula claimed that her mother was largely absent from her upbringing, however this didn’t stop her from achieving at school, when she attended Penrhos College and Ysgol Aberconwy.

Following the dissolution of her parents marriage in 1975, Paula spent most of her time living with her mother, despite having a closer relationship with her dad.

Journalism Career

Four years after the split, Paula began her career as a music journalist with a column entitled “Natural Blonde” for the Record Mirror, only a short while after she had posed for men’s magazine Penthouse.

Her major break however happened in the 1980’s when she joined Jools Holland as the co-host of Channel 4 music show The Tube, after enjoying a stint of much smaller presenting roles on the BBC alongside veteran presenter Terry Wogan.

Showing her more playful side, in 1987 Paula joined Jennifer Saunders for a spoof documentary on pop group Banarama, earning a legion of new fans in the process.

Fans these days will probably best remember her for her iconic role on The Big Breakfast, where she became renowned for her notorious “on the bed” interviews with high profile stars.

Personal Life

For twenty years, Paula was married to Boomtown Rats singer and work renowned philanthropist, Bob Geldof.

The pair first met in 1976, but didn’t tie the knot until 1986. The couple remained together for a solid 20 years, even going on to have three children, Fifi, Peaches and Pixie.

While eldest daughter Fifi prefers to stay away from the limelight and has gone on to secure a successful career in the PR industry, sisters Peaches and Pixie have been far more prominent on the public stage.

Both siblings have walked the runway, with Pixie also sharing her mother's keen interest in music as she pursues a career as a singer.

Middle child Peaches previously worked for Elle as a writer, and even followed in her mother's footsteps to embark on a promising television career.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the only similarity she shared with her mother, as Peaches also had a similar battle with drug use and died from a Heroin overdose in 2014, leaving behind her two young children.

Following Paula's split from Bob in 1995, the couple divorced one year later, when Paula embarked on a relationship with INXS singer Michael Hutchence, with the couple sharing one daughter together Tiger Lily.

Paula and Michael’s rock and roll lifestyle, ultimately, ended in tragedy. Michael was found dead in a Sydney hotel room in 1997 aged 37 after taking his own life.

Discussing his marriage to Paula in 2020, Bob Geldof said on The Tommy Tiernan Show: "When Paula left me, it became almost impossible to live and I was kept going by some close friends – Pete Briquette from the Rats being one of them.

“I remember a futile flight from somewhere in Europe and I was going back to nothing because my home, my family and everyone I'd loved had gone. I really didn't understand why I'd lost everything I took to be true.”

How did Paula die?

On September 17 2000, on daughter Pixie's 10th birthday, Paula was found dead at her home in Notting Hill at the age of 41 of a heroin overdose.

According to the coroner, the death was not a suicide, but instead the result of "foolish and incautious" behaviour.

The late star was discovered in the presence of her daughter Tiger Lily, who was just four years old at the time of her death.

At an inquest into her death, a close friend of the star revealed that Paula had not taken illegal drugs for almost two years prior to her overdose.

Paul Knapman, the coroner in the case, concluded that although the amount of heroin taken by Paula was not sufficient enough to kill an addict, "an unsophisticated taker of heroin" like her had no tolerance to the drug.


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