Skip To Content

    "Caroline Flack: Her Life And Death" Raises Important Issues Around Fame And Mental Health – Here Are 13 Takeaways From The Documentary

    "She hated that people thought she was this awful person."

    🚨 TW: This article includes references to self-harm and suicide. 🚨

    Channel 4 has just dropped Caroline Flack: Her Life And Death, a heartfelt documentary exploring the untimely death of the TV presenter who died by suicide in February of last year.

    Savannah McMillan/Channel 4

    Through testimony from her family, friends, and colleagues, we learn about how fame affected Caroline, and how intrusion by the press and constant criticism on social media damaged her mental health behind-the-scenes.

    Mike Marsland / WireImage / Via Getty Images

    The documentary is devastating to say the least, and reveals the sad truth of how being in the media spotlight can really affect a person's self-worth. Here are some of the things we learned after watching:

    1. Caroline's rise to fame coincided with the rise of social media.

    2. Many of her friends believe it is the press who are ultimately responsible for Caroline's death.

    Hollie Adams / Via Getty Images

    Friend and fellow presenter Natalie Pinkham admitted she has never had the kind of exposure or press intrusion that Caroline had. "That's was ultimately what killed her, I believe, and I'm sure many others do", she added.

    3. In her mum’s view, Caroline wasn’t super well known until she landed a presenting gig on the The Xtra Factor.

    SYCO/THAMES/CORBIS/DYMOND/ITV

    I personally remember Caroline fondly from her TMi days, but according to Christine Flack, Caroline only became really famous after she began co-presenting The Xtra Factor with British singer Olly Murs from 2011 until 2013. Later, she would present ITV's Love Island from 2015 to 2019, which would be her career-defining presenting spot.

    4. After hosting The X Factor, Caroline received an unprecedented amount of hate online.

    Karwai Tang / WireImage / Via Getty Images

    Caroline and her co-host Olly Murs transitioned into hosting The X Factor main show back in 2015, taking over from Dermot O'Leary. The pair were let go after one season and this was a massive blow for Caroline's self esteem.

    Speaking about the hate they received online, especially on Twitter, Olly said "it was an awful experience to know that people hated us" and that it was "constant for ten weeks". "Caroline got it so much more than me", he added. "Those comments did affect her every day, they did hurt."

    5. Caroline was addicted to social media.

    Shirlaine Forrest / Via Getty Images

    According to Dermot and Dee, Caroline was in a "weird cat and mouse game" with social media, "she hated [it] but also couldn’t live without it." Although Caroline received an overwhelming amount of hate on Twitter et al, she also became addicted to the affirmation that came with also being talked about positively online.

    Caroline's mother Christine and her former agent Polly Hill worried about how much time Caroline spent on her phone reading about herself. Though it was bringing her down, Polly said that Caroline would spend a lot of time looking at hate comments and that she really suffered as a consequence.

    6. She was very discreet about her mental health.

    Tristan Fewings / Via Getty Images for Zeo

    Caroline was very secretive about her struggles with mental health from a young age, and often people had no idea at all that she struggled with depression. In her friend Chantelle's words, "that was her worst nightmare, she did not want that to be made public... she felt ashamed about that."

    7. Caroline had two very opposing aspects to her personality – on the one hand she was massively confident, and yet she was extremely vulnerable on the other.

    Christine Flack/Channel 4

    Throughout the documentary, it's revealed that Caroline often struggled with feeling emotionally conflicted for most of her life. Caroline's agent, Louisa McDonald, shared how Caroline would be nervous before attending red carpet events, but once she stepped out of the car "you could see her come alive" and that she would starting thinking "ooh, people do like me."

    Christine Flack also explained that Caroline would often react badly and experience a lot of hurt whenever she went through a heartbreak, especially in terms of her romantic relationships.

    8. She left home at age 16 for drama school in Cambridge.

    Christine Flack/Channel 4

    Early acting roles for Caroline included those in Is Harry on the Boat? and Bo' Selecta!, but she was more interested in becoming a television presenter.

    9. Caroline may have assaulted her then-boyfriend – model and ex-tennis player Lewis Burton – in December 2019, because she thought he had been texting with another woman.

    10. According to Caroline's agent, the blood that appeared on the sheets of Caroline's bed in the infamous photograph printed in The Sun was actually her own.

    Hollie Adams / Via Getty Images

    On 1 January 2020, The Sun ruthlessly ran the headline "Flack’s Bedroom Bloodbath" and printed a picture of the so-called attack by Caroline upon Lewis – but it was actually Caroline's blood on the sheets.

    According to Louisa McDonald, Lewis received a small cut to the head which was treated on the scene when the police arrived. The blood stains that were sprawled across the front page of The Sun were actually a result of harm Caroline had done to herself.

    Though it was something she didn’t want anyone to know, Christine describes how Caroline had a history of self-harm, and that on this occasion, she had to receive plastic surgery on her arm to repair the damage.

    11. She felt ashamed that people saw her as an abuser.

    Samir Hussein / WireImage / Via Getty Images

    Friend Jaime Bradley shared that Caroline was full of shame over the idea that people saw her as an abuser, and that she just couldn’t see a way out of all the bad press she was getting. Her mum also comments that "she hated that people thought she was this awful person".

    12. Caroline’s cat, Waffle, now lives with her mum.

    13. Caroline spent her last Christmas with her immediate family.

    Christine Flack/Channel 4

    Christine describes how Caroline drove up to see her parents and her sister on Christmas, and that it was "lovely" and "the best thing". Though her family wished for her to stay, she drove home on Boxing Day and took her own life a month and a half later.

    If you need help with suicidal thoughts, please reach out for help using the links below.

    International suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. You can text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK for free anonymous 24/7 crisis support from Shout, an affiliate of Crisis Text Line. The Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and are contactable on 116 123.

    In the US, you can text TALK to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. The US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form