Gemma Outen wanted to take her own life as she battled anorexia like late pal Nikki Grahame


Emmerdale star Gemma Outen says she wished she could have helped her friend Nikki Grahame overcome her anorexia and called for others to seek help

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Gemma Oaten discusses her struggles with anorexia

Actress Gemma Outen has said she thought about taking her own life as she battled anorexia like her late pal Nikki Grahame.

The former Emmerdale star met Nikki 10 years ago at a showbiz bash in London and the pair became friends.

She was devastated to hear the news Nikki had passed away at the age of 38 in April last year as her illness took hold of her in lockdown.

A year on from Nikki’s tragic death from the disease, Gemma has spoken out saying it could so easily have been her.

And she called for anyone who is struggling to seek help so Nikki’s death isn’t in vain.







Gemma says she can’t ever go back to the ‘hell’ she experienced
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Her pal Nikki Grahame was painfully thin when she died
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Speaking to the Sun on Sunday’s Fabulous magazine, Gemma revealed her battle with anorexia started when she was 10 years old, which led to bulimia in her teens.

The 37-year-old shared: “It could so easily have been me… an eating disorder doesn’t care what’s right or wrong. When it gets hold of a person, it will do everything it can to destroy them.”

She explained eating disorders have the highest death rate of any other mental health illness.

Discussing her own experience with anorexia, Gemma continued: “People go to the extreme lengths of taking their own lives, because not being here is easier than being here.

“I know that because I’ve had that in my own life. At one point, I planned to take my own life, but my dad called out my name as I was about to do it and pulled me back from the brink.”







Gemma guest starred in rival ITV soap Coronation Street last year
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That wasn’t the only time Gemma thought about suicide as she battled her eating disorder.

Another time, she said she planned to do it after being admitted to an eating disorder hospital unit, but didn’t go through with it as her parents eventually took her home.

“If they’d left, I don’t think I would be here now,” Gemma confessed.

Although she is in recovery now, the impact of anorexia on Gemma’s body has taken its toll.

She revealed she needs major dental work after anorexia, combined with binge-eating and throwing up, damaged the enamel on her teeth.

It will take a full day of surgery to put it right and Gemma faces having to take out loans to pay for the treatment.







Nikki shot to fame on Big Brother in 2006
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Earlier this week – as a new documentary remembering Nikki aired on Channel 4 – her mum Susan revealed her daughter had a BMI of just 10 when she died.

Gemma said it was “nonsensical” than in 2022 people with eating disorders had to reach a certain BMI threshold and nearly die before they qualify for treatment.

Blasting the system, she said early intervention was crucial for anorexia sufferers’ survival.

Recalling the last time she saw Nikki at a friend’s book launch, she remembers her “looking so lost”.

“I held her tiny frame and begged her to reach out to SEED [a support service launched by Gemma’s parents to help families dealing with eating disorders].

“I wish I’d insisted, but there’s nothing her friends or family could have done.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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