Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Peaches Geldof: 1989 – 2014

The young journalist and TV presenter found dead at just 25.

Mon, Apr 7, 2014, 22:43


How terribly, terribly sad.

Peaches Geldof was just 25. The television presenter, journalist, and daughter of Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates was the mother of two young sons with her second husband, musician Thomas Cohen – Phaedra who will turn two later this month, and Astala, one.

Her father, the Irish musician, author and activist, Bob Geldof, issued a statement earlier this evening: “Peaches has died. We are beyond pain. She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of us all. Writing ‘was’ destroys me afresh. What a beautiful child. How is this possible that we will not see her again. How is that bearable?

“We loved her and will cherish her forever. How sad that sentence is. Tom and her sons Astala and Phaedra will always belong in our family, fractured so often, but never broken. Bob, Jeanne, Fifi, Pixie and Tiger Geldof. ”

Ms Geldof was both precocious and prodigious in equal measure, setting out on a media career aged just 15 with a column in Elle magazine before contributing to the Guardianand the Telegraph . Tabloids, broadsheets and celebrity magazines alike were fascinated by her, especially given the tragic circumstances around her own upbringing.

Her mother, Paula Yates, was found dead aged 41 from a heroin overdose when Peaches was just 11. Pitched by the press to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a compelling television presenter, she became something of a divisive media figure, ridiculed by some for her a la carte intellectualism, and often dismissively filed under ‘famous for being famous’.

But she was also a fine writer, and the author of the much discussed ‘Teenage Mind’ documentary for Sky One when she was just 16, and a follow up ‘Teen America’ a year later.

Ms Geldof had a habit of rubbing interviewers up the wrong way though, especially in the run up to the launch of her Disappear Here magazine, the process of which was also the subject of an MTV documentary.

Yet, frequently, it seemed as though many of the architects of such ridicule didn’t pause to remember that, despite her brassiness, Peaches was still just a youngster. In 2011, she hosted a ITV2 chat show, ‘OMG! With Peaches Geldof’ which tried and failed to capture a zany version of the zeitgeist.

She moved to Brooklyn with her first husband, musician Max Drummey, whom she married in 2008 in traditional rock and roll style at the Little White Wedding Chapel inLas Vegas.

In 2009, she courted controversy in an ITV documentary presented by Fearne Cotton — ‘When Fearne Met Peaches’ — by alluding to being a Scientologist. She married Mr Cohen in 2012. He was the lead singer of the avant garde post-rock group S.C.U.M until the band’s split last year, and has since released solo material. Mr Cohen issued a statement this evening saying: “My beloved wife Peaches was adored by myself and her two sons Astala and Phaedra and I shall bring them up with their mother in their hearts every day. We shall love her forever.”

Unsurprisingly, given her profile, Geldof moved in celebrity circles, and was perhaps most identifiable by endless paparazzi photos of her coming out of some club or another in her late teens and early twenties. Rumours of drug taking occasionally surfaced in the gossip pages of tabloids, and Geldof herself brushed them aside.

In an interview with the Observer in 2009 she said: “Yeah, I’ve taken drugs. Yes, I have had experiences, and a few of those experiences were unsavoury, not ones I want to repeat, but I was growing up. I wanted the experience.”

An occasional model, she was dropped as the face of Miss Ultimo underwear collection in 2010 following allegations of drug taking which her lawyer vehemently denied. HerInstagram account offered a much calmer insight though, with frequently updated photos and videos of her family life, which any young mother could identify with. Her most recent update on Sunday was a short video of one of her sons holding a toothbrush.

Her final tweet was a link to a photo of herself as a baby in the arms of her late mother. Some things are prophetic, others just tragic.

Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire