As I write this, ‘Young and beautiful’ by Lana Del Ray is playing on my ipod- it’s on shuffle. It seems sadly fitting. I was surprised at how upset I was when I woke to the news that Peaches Geldof had been found dead in her home in Kent, England, aged 25. Peaches has never been far from the spotlight, as the second born daughter of Irish Punk rocker turned humanitarian, Sir Bob Geldof and his late wife, TV host Paula Yates, who died from a heroin overdose when Peaches was 11 years old.
We know the complicated story: Sir Bob & Paula are Brit celeb royalty. They had three daughters, Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Pixie. Paula left Sir Bob for INXS front man Michael Hutchence in the mid 90’s and Michael was a permanent fixture in the girl’s lives. Geldof and Yates divorced and Yates and Hutchence had a baby girl, a half sister for Fifi, Peaches and Pixie: Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (known as Tiger.) Hutchence was found dead in a Sydney hotel room in 1997, the coroner ruling suicide.
Paula was unable to continue without Michael and subsequently died of a heroin overdose two and a half years later. Sir Bob became the legal guardian of Fifi, Peaches and Pixie’s half sister, Tiger, and tried to raise her in a stable environment. Of the three older sisters, it was Peaches who stole the limelight. She had a passion for journalism and was writing for Elle at age 15. She wasn’t a conformist and definitely had her party girl reputation down pat. Her image was edgy, and rumours of prolific drug use followed in her later teen years and early twenties. Married in Vegas and divorced 6 months later, Peaches wasn’t afraid to make mistakes in the public eye. The tattooed, opinionated middle daughter of Sir Bob & Paula was often compared to her brash, blonde mother after Paula’s death. People feared Peaches would wind up in her mother’s and Hutchences’ footsteps.
So when she met Thomas Cohen and married him in 2012 shortly after the birth of their first son Astala, those around her appeared to relax. No more splashy tabloid stories of getting drunk, flashing her boobs. No more rumours of hard drug use. She seemed to shun the limelight in favour of quieter, more ‘earth motherly’ pursuits and took to twitter and instagram with stories of nappy changing and breast-feeding. Her second son, Phaedra was born last year.
Peaches was found by emergency services at her home, and pronounced dead at the scene. Police say there were no obvious signs of injury, nor were there drugs or a suicide note. Peaches’ last post on twitter was a photo of her mother and herself as a toddler, with the simple caption “me and my mum”.
Why did Peaches death shock me so much?
Some have spent the day arguing on social media that “suicide and depression” are “in her DNA”. And what was my first thought when I heard she’d died? I’m ashamed to say I immediately assumed a drug overdose or suicide. Then I stopped and remembered what she had to live for- two little babies under the age of 2 who were her world, her husband who was her best friend and soul mate, and an interview I read only weeks ago where she was quoted as saying she would never leave her boys.
I HOPE this is a tragic medical anomaly. I want to believe that she, who suffered so much due to the loss of her mother as a little girl, wouldn’t leave her own children motherless. However, I won’t be judging Peaches regardless of the outcome and findings by the coroner. I will not be one of those people who have said, “I’m not surprised” because I actually am.
Since 2012, Peaches has seemed so incredibly content. I choose to remember her this way, and not as another part of what has today been rather tackily coined ‘The Geldof curse’. My heart hurts for her family- her beautiful children, husband, father, sisters and particularly Tiger Lily Hutchence-Geldof who has experienced the traumatic and controversial deaths of both her parents and now, her big sister.
No jumping to conclusions. No judgement, just condolences.
Has the passing of Peaches Geldof affected you? What do you choose to believe?