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DJ Norman Cook speaks for first time about his 'traumatic' split from Zoe Ball

The couple called time on their 18-year relationship in September

Gemma Strong

DJ Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, has opened up about his traumatic year following the end of his marriage to Zoe Ball in September. The 53-year-old parted ways from Strictly: It Takes Two star Zoe in September, after 18 years together. He told the Daily Star he has been using music as his "escapism" following their split. "My music and shows have always been about escapism, for people to forget what's wrong in their life," he said.

"I've done it for 30 years but, because my life was happy, I was providing that escapism for the crowds. And now they're providing that escapism for me. Having hit a traumatic year, for those two hours when I'm on stage, I forget all my worries and I feel like I can escape."

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Norman Cook and Zoe Ball announced their separation in September, after 18 years together

STORY: Zoe Ball's father Johnny reveals how family rallied around her after death of boyfriend

The record producer also revealed that the breakdown of his marriage had forced him to focus more on his music. "A lot of people have been telling me, 'You're on fire in your shows! The worse your personal life gets, the better your DJing gets.' It's because I'm letting off steam. I've made three new Fatboy Slim songs lately, and that's 300 per cent more than I'd made in a few years." He added: "Because of my marital situation, I have a lot more time on my hands. Practically, I see less of the kids than I used to, so I have more time to make music."

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The couple are parents to two children, Woody, 17 and Nelly, seven

Norman and Zoe, who share two children, Woody, 17, and seven-year-old Nelly, issued a joint statement back in September confirming their split. It read: "With great sadness we are announcing that we have separated. After many exciting adventures together over the last 18 years we have come to the end of our rainbow. We are still great friends and will continue to support each other and raise our beautiful children together, living next door but one. X Zoe & Norm."

Following their separation, Zoe, 46, found love again with cameraman Billy Yates. Tragically, he took his own life in May, with Zoe posting a touching tribute on Instagram following his untimely death.

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