Laura Whitmore broke down as she remembered her “vivacious and loving” friend Caroline Flack in an emotional tribute on her Sunday morning radio show.
Whitmore, who has known Flack for around 10 years and replaced her as host on the current series of Love Island, said that “none of this makes sense” after the TV presenter took her own life at the age of 40.
Flack was found dead her east London home on Saturday.
I’m trying to find the words but I can’t 💔 pic.twitter.com/FY3ppLzqsA
— Laura Whitmore (@thewhitmore) February 15, 2020
Opening her show on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday morning, Whitmore – who had previously tweeted her shock that Flack was dead – said she had been “debating whether I should, would or could come on air today”.
Her voice cracking, she said: “Yesterday we lost someone before their time.
“We’re going to talk about her and give her the respect that she deserves and that she didn’t always get.”
Whitmore, 34, said that “anyone who knew Caroline knew she was vivacious, loving, and had a passion for life, which is why none of this makes sense”.
"Only you are responsible for the way you treat others." Laura's opening link on her radio show today. Words have more potency & power than you'll ever realise and will linger long long long after you've forgotten you even said them. This much I know. Sending love @thewhitmore ❤️ pic.twitter.com/3XdQ8xs1pH
— Eoghan McDermott (@eoghanmcdermo) February 16, 2020
“Caroline loved dancing. Angels by Robbie Williams always reminds me of her because she danced so beautifully to it on Strictly, and I’m going to play that song after I’ve said what I want to say.”
She said that Flack “loved music, she loved to dance, we shared many a dancefloor at gigs, festivals” as she recalled their friendship beginning 10 years ago at V Festival.
“She was bubbly, and for such a small stature commanded a room,” Whitmore said. “She loved to laugh and had the most infectious chuckle.
“She also had many struggles. I’m not going to pretend she’s perfect, but she lived every mistake publicly under the scrutiny of the media.”
Whitmore said that Flack “loved to love” and “that’s all she wanted, which is why a show like Love Island was important to her because the show is about finding love, friendship, having a laugh.”
Defending the ITV2 programme, she said: “The problem wasn’t the show, the show to work on is loving and caring and safe and protected. The problem is, the outside world is not.”
She said that people who are ever nasty to others on social media “need to look at themselves”, and added: “To the newspapers who create click-bait, who demonise and tear down success. We’ve had enough.
“I’ve seen journalists and Twitter warriors talk about this tragedy and they themselves have twisted what the truth is. You don’t have to tear someone down to feel good about yourself.
“So to listeners, be kind, only you are responsible for how you treat others and what you put out in the world.”
Whitmore said she herself has “been harassed for just doing my job and this is where the problem is, and I want to use my platform to call people out because it’s gone too far.”
“Your words affect people. To paparazzi and tabloids looking for a cheap sell, to trolls hiding behind a keyboard, enough.”
Whitmore thanked the BBC and ITV for supporting her in going on air, as well as her partner, Love Island narrator Iain Stirling and the “whole Love Island family who are in mourning of their colleague and friend and have been a great support to me over the last few hours”.
Today my friend slow motion walked into heaven. I will miss her always. Thank you for everything x
— Iain Stirling (@IainDoesJokes) February 15, 2020
She added: “I’m going to carry on today and get through this show as that’s what Caroline would say to do.
“Caroline, I’m so sad for you, for your family. I’m angry that you saw this as your only option as I know how much love and support you had. I’m sorry you didn’t know that.”
“I’m not sure when but I know I’ll see you on the dancefloor again.”
Stirling paid tribute to Flack on Saturday, sharing a video of her dancing on Strictly along with the message: “Today my friend slow motion walked into heaven.
“I will miss her always. Thank you for everything x.”