Grahame, who found fame in the same series of Big Brother as Bennett, died on Friday (9 April) following a long battle with anorexia.
On his Instagram, Bennett posted a video in which he celebrated Grahame’s life, while drinking from a bottle of wine in her honour.
“For Nikki Grahame, all the love from us at Big Brother 7,” he said. “We loved you, Nik. You were a true winner. You were great, you were beautiful, you rocked it, mate. Just wanna say, we’ll miss you, babe. Safe, man. See you later, Nikki.”
Bennett and Grahame were an on-again/off-again item within the Big Brother house, and briefly dated in the aftermath of the series.
In a caption for his video, Bennett thanked Grahame’s friends for launching a fundraiser in March to pay for emergency treatment for the star. A statement from Grahame’s representative at the time said that the Big Brother star’s anorexia had “worsened” during lockdown.
Bennett added that he had recently visited Grahame with his girlfriend.
“Even through our ups and downs we have still remained close through the years, and it was so nice to visit again recently with my girlfriend, sing Kate Bush songs and have fun like the good old days!” Bennett wrote. “I’m just sad that it was the last song we ever sang.”
He continued: “Thank you for the memories my friend, you will sorely be missed, I hope you’re not hurting anymore and finally at peace. I’ll see you in heaven, Nikki.”
In a statement published yesterday (10 April), Grahame’s death was confirmed by her family representative.
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“It breaks our hearts to know that someone who is so precious was taken from us at such a young age,” it read. “Nikki not only touched the lives of millions of people, but also her friends and family who will miss her immensely.”
Former Big Brother host Davina McCall led tributes to Grahame, calling her “the funniest, most bubbly [and] sweetest girl”.
For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this piece, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677.
NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040.