The untimely death of British model and fashion writer Peaches Geldof, 25, on Monday has sent the entertainment and fashion circles in Britain into shock and speculation mode. Kent Police personnel found the socialite dead in her Wrotham home and could not say much to clarify the circumstances under which she died. However, Geldof’s family history and recent interviews are now being perused to see if her death could be linked to a drug overdose.
Born to British rock musician Bob Geldof and television presenter Paula Yates, Peaches Geldof had a difficult childhood. After splitting with her father, Geldof’s mother Yates entered into a relationship with Michael Hutchence, who died in 1997. Three years later in September 2000, Yates died due to a drug overdose.
Those close to Peaches Geldof knew that it was a huge blow for the then 11-year-old girl, who never really recovered from her mother’s sudden death. In a sad coincidence, her last post on Twitter and Instagram was a picture of herself as a baby with her mother and the simple words, “Me and my mum.”
Geldof, who launched her writing career with a column in Elle Magazine when she was just 15, was never short of media attention – both good and bad. Moving out of her home by the time she was 16, Geldof was a self-made person who not only began contributing to the Telegraph and The Guardian, but also became a television presenter herself.
Over the years, she entered into modeling and was a well-known socialite. She was keenly followed by the British media, which published sordid stories about her shoplifting cosmetics and using heroin as a teenager. After photographs of her going topless and reports of her using drugs surfaced in the tabloids, Geldof allegedly even lost a lingerie modeling contract.
The death of Peaches Geldof has been met with a slew of tributes as well as speculation over drugs playing a part in her death. However, not all of it is mere speculation: Geldof has herself owned up to using drugs as a teenager in a couple of interviews that she gave in the recent past.
The young mother of two had always claimed that she did stop using drugs after a while. Describing her experiences with drug use as “unsavory”, Geldof had explained that she used only because she was curious and was still growing up. She also declared that she was nothing like Amy Winehouse and that she was sober.
The 25-year-old is survived by husband Thomas Cohen and her two sons, Astala and Phaedra. While Astala is set to turn two years old later in April, Phaedra is only 11 months old. Husband Cohen is the lead singer of S.C.U.M, a post-punk/art rock band based in South East London.
Cohen and Geldof were married after her six-month marriage to American rock musician Maz Drummey fell apart in 2009. Reacting to his wife’s sudden death, Cohen said that he and their two sons had adored Peaches Geldof and that he would raise them with their mother in his heart.
For her father, the singer and philanthropist Bob Geldof, his daughter was the most wild, funny and clever person in his family. He described Geldof as a beautiful child and said that the family was beyond pain. Referring to her in the past tense destroyed him afresh, he said.
Though he acknowledged that his family had been fractured by tragedy many times, he said that it was never “broken” and said that his grandsons Astala and Phaedra would always belong in their family. The death of Peaches Geldof, possibly due to a drug overdose, has once again trained the spotlight on the tightrope celebrities seem to be walking.
Opinion by Aruna Iyer