Big Brother's Imogen Thomas hits back at claims Nikki Grahame was lonely and says friends took turns staying with her

NIKKI Grahame's Big Brother pal Imogen Thomas has hit back at claims the star was lonely in her final days – revealing she and others took turns staying with her.

The Welsh model, who met Nikki on 2006's installment of the Channel 4 show, insisted that the reality icon was "never alone" before her untimely passing on Friday aged 38 following a lifelong battle with anorexia.

Taking to her Instagram Stories yesterday, Imogen shared a throwback photo with Nikki in happier times and explained that she felt the need to "clarify" comments made about the star's suffering from "loneliness".

The mother-of-two penned alongside the photo: "I've had to come on here to clarify something.

"After seeing numerous interviews I want to stress that our beloved Nik was never alone. Myself, Leon [Dee] and Carly [Cunningham] alternated days to make sure of this.

"I also want to stress that Nikki's lovely mum Sue was by Nikki's side continuously. It pains me to read these stories. It's utterly heart wrenching."

Imogen's comments came afterNikki's ex-boyfriend Pete Bennett insisted she was "so lonely" and stuck in London by herself.

The Big Brother winner appeared on yesterday's Good Morning Britain to remember the late star.

Pete was visibly upset as the chat went on, adding to the presenters that Nikki had been "lonely" during lockdown because she didn't have her "coping mechanisms" any more – such as time with friends.

Host Kate Garraway then said for Pete to take some time to compose himself after picking up on his distress, with the Big Brother champ insisting that he was OK.

Earlier in the chat, the star revealed that Nikki had contacted him to "come and rescue her" after she was secretly hospitalised last year.

He said: "I knew she was ill, I'd see pictures of her out with Imogen [Thomas] and I knew she was looking thin, she contacted me in the last lockdown saying she'd been hospitalised again and she wanted me to come and rescue her or something.

"She got out again, we were still in contact… But recently when I saw the GoFundMe, it was a shock.

"When I saw her recently it was a complete difference, it was quite a shock."

He sadly added that he thought: "Maybe love and support would save her".

Nikki's mother Sue recently revealed that she had been suffering with "terminal loneliness" on This Morning last month.

Sue explained how her daughter's most recent health battle was sparked when gyms closed during lockdown as the star dreaded eating if she couldn't exercise.

She said: "With Covid, it sounds crazy but stuff like gyms closing impacted her.

"In order for her to eat she needs to know she can exercise, so when they closed it was quite a worry, the isolation as well.

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"I asked her if she would come and stay with me but she said she needs to be in her home."

"She was (suffering terminal loneliness) she felt very cut off and spending too much time on her own with not enough to think about other than food.

"It all came to a grinding halt. Also for Nikki, she would muddle herself through the year knowing she's got friends abroad and she would visit them. She spent a lot of time last year cancelling holidays."

Nikki's anorexia battle began when she was just seven years old after a gymnastics classmate cruelly accused her of having a "big bum".

She had been open with her illness since shooting to fame in Big Brother in 2006, releasing her first autobiography 'Dying To Be Thin' in 2009.

Last month, Nikki checked into a private hospital to treat her eating disorder after friends managed to raise over £65,000 for the specialist care.

However, her tragic passing was confirmed with an emotional statement on the same GoFundMe page that raised the cash.

  • For help and support on eating disorders and body image, you can call BEAT on 0808 201 1677 for adults, or 0808 801 0711 if you are under 18.

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