The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Zoe Ball: How I f inally beat booze in rehab
WITH her heavy drinking lifestyle, she was the poster girl for ladette culture – but Zoe Ball tells for the first time today how she finally won her booze battle with a stint in rehab.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the broadcaster also speaks of her trauma following the suicide of boyfriend Billy Yates and the pressure she feels hosting Radio 2’s Breakfast Show.
The mother of two says it took her several attempts to tackle her alcohol problem that accompanied her career from children’s television presenter to the first female host of Radio 1’s Breakfast Show.
Ball, 49, says: ‘You’ll find that you’ll deal with it a little bit but then you slip back into old ways
‘It took me a couple of attempts to sort that out.’ Explaining how she finally dealt with her problem drinking, she explains: ‘I was lucky enough to go to rehab and through meeting other people who had addictions as well.’
Her reputation as a party girl increased after her 1999 marriage to superstar DJ Fatboy Slim – Norman Cook – when she often found herself among other female stars known for their booze-fuelled antics. She credits her appearance in the 2005 series of Strictly Come Dancing, when she came third, for allowing her to reinvent herself as an adult presenter.
She says: ‘I went on Strictly and people did a double-take.
‘I will always be grateful to that show.’
The star, who separated from Cook in 2016, speaks movingly of the death of cameraman Yates, who took his own life in 2017, aged 40.
She says: ‘Losing him was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my life.’
Zoe became the first woman to host Radio 2’s Breakfast Show but reveals she can’t help worrying over the audience figures after the ratings fell by nearly a million listeners.
She says: ‘You kind of pretend it’s not but the listening figures come in and your face is on the tin. So yes, I do take it completely to heart.’ •Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 today at 11.15am.