Dawn O’Porter has revealed that she cried in cupboards for months after her friend Caroline Flack took her own life in 2020.

The writer, 43, who has two young sons, explained that she did so to avoid her children seeing her upset.

Speaking to Sophie Ellis-Bextor on her Spinning Plates podcast, the presenter also opened up about motherhood after losing her mum aged seven, as well as recently helping out at Flackstock Festival in memory of her great friend.

Reflecting on loss: Dawn O'Porter has revealed that she cried in cupboards for months after her friend Caroline Flack took her own life in 2020

Reflecting on loss: Dawn O’Porter has revealed that she cried in cupboards for months after her friend Caroline Flack took her own life in 2020

Reflecting on her grief when losing Caroline, Dawn said: ‘[My children] were so young at the time, only five and two, she died on the 15th of February, just before the pandemic got its claws into us all.

‘Which is just so weird because I just blurred the whole thing together now I think.

‘I got Covid on the way back to LA from her funeral on the Friday, and then the world shut down on the Monday. It’s just this weird period of grief, not being able to leave the house and still being in floods of tears for six hours a day.

‘With two kids at home, I cried in cupboards. I just didn’t want them to see. 

‘They were going through enough, school had just been shut down, my five-year-old is being forced to do some weird thing on his computer which he didn’t know what was going on.

Memories: The writer, 43, who has two young sons, explained that she did so to avoid her children seeing her upset

Memories: The writer, 43, who has two young sons, explained that she did so to avoid her children seeing her upset

‘Trump’s voice was blaring through the radio, everyone’s going to die, “Oh my god we’re all dying!”

‘And I was like, “What the kids are about to go through is so, whatever, it’s happening, I’m not going to put my grief on top of them as well.”

‘So I dealt with it quite privately in a little bungalow that we were living in at the time.

‘And somehow realised the importance, I didn’t have a very big one but I had a walk-in wardrobe, that a mum must always have one so she can always go there and cry.

‘In terms of the day itself, I got a call from my friend Josie at around 7.30 in the morning, about an hour before it broke on Twitter.

‘I am just eternally grateful that I heard it from her rather than if I had woken up late that morning and saw it on the internet, that’s just terrifying.

‘Chris was in the living room with the kids, and I just texted him to say “Something really awful has happened, can you put the TV on and just come to me”.

‘And I can’t imagine what he was faced with when he came into the room. I was just howling.’

About the festival put up in tribute for Caroline, Dawn said: ‘It was absolutely incredible. We put on a festival for my good friend Caroline Flack because she loved festivals and she loved dancing, singing, it just felt like the right tribute.

‘Natalie Pinkham came up with the idea, text me and said “would you be up for helping?” – and I said yes but I really meant no.

‘I honestly found the whole thing a bit too soon, very heartbreaking and terrifying. Like, how the hell are we going to put on a festival, it’s no joke.

‘She asked more people who came on and it’s OK, we can do this, we’re a connected group. As long as we get funding, and we can pay to have it put on properly, I think we can do this.

‘McDonald’s was our main sponsor, they gave us £300,000, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that. 

‘It got the costs of running the festival sorted, and as soon as that was done, and I knew that the infrastructure was secure I felt a lot better about it. 

‘We had about 4,500, it was on a Monday, started at about four in the afternoon and finished about 10.30 at night. It ended with Olly Murs singing Sweet Caroline.

‘The crowd was unbelievable, it was the most incredible energy, I was on stage quite a lot because I just couldn’t get off it!

‘My thing at the start was we’re doing this with the hope of abolishing shame around people dying this way, we want people to feel they’ve got support and can talk about this, and as much as it was a memorial it was that too.

‘I just feel like everything about it was perfect. There was so much crying, so emotional. You would be having the best time and then you’d think, “I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to put on a festival for Caroline – what the f***, where is she? Why aren’t we at Latitude this weekend having a great time?”

Tribute: The Love Island host, who passed away aged 40, was found dead in her London home on February 15 2020 after taking her own life

Tribute: The Love Island host, who passed away aged 40, was found dead in her London home on February 15 2020 after taking her own life

‘That would just hit you every now and then… but life is life, people die, and you’ve got to celebrate them. You’ve got to put out a message of hope and positivity.’

On the loss of her mother hitting her only this year, she said: ‘The only time when I felt it, she died when I was really young, she died just before I was seven so I don’t have memories of her, I’ve never missed her.

‘You feel a gap in your life in wondering what was supposed to be there but it’s not an actual missing feeling.

‘It’s a different kind of grief, a different kind of emptiness I had. 

‘The only time I ever really felt it was this year, my eldest, Art, his birthday’s two days after mine.

‘On my birthday this year, he was the exact age I was when my mum died – and I just kept having these moments where I was looking at him going, I always thought I was a little girl.

‘I thought I was younger and less emotionally mature – but I look at him and think “Gosh you know exactly what’s going on”.

‘If that happened to him now, he would be absolutely distraught. So I just realised what trauma went into my body at that age and what got buried.

‘And it came up again this year, that it’s exactly the age I would’ve been like.’

Dawn has shared various throwback snaps of her late friend Caroline Flack since losing her to suicide in early 2020.

Love: Following her passing, Dawn was one of Caroline's many friends to post a tribute to her on social media along with a selection of photographs

Love: Following her passing, Dawn was one of Caroline’s many friends to post a tribute to her on social media along with a selection of photographs

A few months later in June of that year, she posted one of the pair with BBC Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney as they all flashed beaming smiles at Glastonbury Festival.

Dawn said that the annual event is where she and Caroline had ‘the most fun’ and admitted she has been imagining them there together all week. 

She ended the post by adding: ‘If those fields could talk… such memories [heart].’ 

The Love Island host, who passed away aged 40, was found dead in her London home on February 15 after taking her own life.

Earlier that year, Dawn opened up about struggling with grief following the death of her close friend and regularly shares memories of the two of them together.

Since her death, Dawn has regularly posted tributes to the star on her Instagram page and shared touching insights into their friendship.

Dawn candidly detailed her experience with grief and shared an old photograph of the duo at an event together in 2015.

Alongside the image, Dawn penned: ‘This was a big night for me. Caroline showed up, as she always did. I keep waiting for it to feel easier. It doesn’t.’

If you are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, you can contact The Samaritans helpline 24/7 on 116 123 for help and support.



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