Zoe Ball returned to her Radio 2 show on Saturday and paid a loving tribute to her boyfriend Billy Yates, who died four weeks ago. The couple were together for six months before Billy, 40, was tragically found dead at his London home. Zoe took a break from hosting her radio show to grieve the loss of her partner, who worked as a cameraman on The Antiques Roadshow. Returning to the radio this weekend, the presenter thanked colleagues and listeners for their support at this difficult time.
Radio 2 presenter Zoe Ball
Zoe said: “As most of you know I've been away for the past four weeks - been a pretty tough time actually, having lost my dear, dear boyfriend, Billy. I would really like to thank the ever-gorgeous ladies Kate Thornton, Suzi Perry and Melanie C, for holding the fort so brilliantly whilst I was away, everyone at the BBC and all my friends for all their support and Billy's dear family, his brilliant friends, [and] my family.”
Zoe, who was formerly married to DJ Norman Cook, went on to thank her listeners and for their kind thoughts and messages, which she said had "meant the world to us all". Speaking about Billy, the star told fans that he was "a truly special chap" who ‘"oved to make everyone laugh". The Strictly Come Dancing: It Take Two host then dedicated Frank Wilson’s Do I Love You to her late boyfriend in tribute to him.
This week Zoe posted a peaceful photo of the sea to her Instagram page. After her return to Radio 2 on Saturday, her fans were quick to welcome her back with many comments beside the calming picture. One follower wrote: “Great to have you back on the radio Zoe, you did great like all ways xx.” While another fan told the star: “Lovely to hear your voice Zoe. Listening to you right now. Much love. Be gentle on yourself.” A third follower said: “All of these lovely messages must be so heart-warming for you to read. Well done today, you were so strong and it can't have been easy. Keep strong.”
News of Billy's death broke on 5 May, and a short while late Zoe broke her silence to pay a simple but beautiful tribute to her boyfriend. The heartbroken star took to Instagram to share a close-up photograph of a flower, writing alongside: "My sweet love X." A friend told The Sun that the 40-year-old star was overwhelmed with grief. "She is completely and utterly devastated," the insider said. "Billy had made her happy again after the most horrendous year when her marriage broke down. This was completely out of the blue. She had no feeling that this was coming and is in total shock.