The sad story behind reality star Joey Essex's mum's devastating death

The reality star opens up about his grief for the first time in a new BBC documentary

You wouldn’t know it from his happy-go-lucky reality TV persona, but for the past 20 years, Joey Essex has been burying his grief over his mother’s suicide.

MORE: Holby City fans devastated following shock cancellation news

Ahead of his new documentary, titled Joey Essex: Grief and Me, find out more about the tragic story behind his mum's death here...

Loading the player...

WATCH: Joey Essex discusses making his new documentary on This Morning

The former The Only Way Is Essex star's mum Tina sadly died by suicide in 2001 when Joey was just ten years old. Tina, who was 37 at the time, sadly suffered mental health issues caused by candida, a yeast imbalance in the gut that can lead to a number of other health problems, including depression. 

MORE: Former TOWIE star Mick Norcross' cause of death confirmed

Following her death, Joey, now 30, and his older sister Frankie, who also appeared on TOWIE, were brought up by their dad, Donny. 

Joey's mum Tina took her own life in 2001

Speaking to BBC Three ahead of the documentary's broadcast on Thursday night, Joey revealed that the pain of losing his mum has never left him. "Behind closed doors I deal with pain every single day. I've been dealing with it my whole life," he said. "It's still here. It's always been the same, it's never got easier, it's just dragged on.

"People don't see this, but it'll be Mother's Day, or it'll be coming up to mum's birthday and I'd be sitting in my house alone… I'd just have all the family pictures out, I'd be staring at them. I would burst into tears, crying on my own. I wouldn't tell anyone that either."

Will you be watching the new documentary?

Before now, Joey has rarely spoken about his mum's death and always turned down interview requests to discuss her suicide.

However, he did briefly open up while taking part in Celebrity SAS Who Dares Wins last year. He explained on the show: "I had to deal with a lot of [stuff]. My mum committed suicide when I was ten which was difficult." 

MORE: This Morning's Phillip Schofield changes perspective over 'personal struggles' after coming out

He continued: "It hardened me up a little bit. I can't explain it. It's made me tougher inside. I only sort of started being able to talk about it openly, saying the word mum three or four years ago. I know my mum loved me. But it has given me trust issues. One day she was there one day she was gone."

If you have been affected by this story and wish to seek help, Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you're feeling, or if you're worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.