Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof, better known simply as Peaches Geldof, has died at her home in Kent. The rebellious and vivacious teenager turned eloquent and doting mother was 25 years old.
Peaches was born on March 13th 1987 and was lived her life in the media’s glare. She was the second daughter of the Irish rockstar and philanthropist, Sir Bob Geldof and his late wife Paula Yates. Her mother Paula was a radical music journalist who gave interviews from a bed on the set of The Big Breakfast. As a teenager Peaches followed in her footsteps, pursuing a career in the media, and gaining fame in her own right.
In her autobiography, Paula describes a 6 year old Peaches as a spirited child; “Peaches wants more than anything to dress like the Queen Mother, circa 1935… She’d sneak off to put on make-up and then come downstairs ready for school but with her lipstick slightly squiffy and blue eyeshadow trowelled on….But at least we knew what it was like to live with real, natural glamour!”
The Geldof family was plagued by tragedy. In 1995, Paula left Bob and began a relationship with INXS frontman Michael Hutchence. Hutchence was found dead in a Sydney hotel room in 1997, as a result of suicide. According to Peaches, her mother became “a heartbroken shell of a woman who was just medicating to get through the day.”
Peaches, and her sisters Fifi Trixibelle, Pixie and Tiger Lily, were raised by Bob; who advocated an “almost Dickensian” routine of “homework, dinner, bed – because he was trying in his own way to combat what was going on”. Gerry Agar, Paula’s publicist, later told the media about the turbulent upbringing the Geldof girls endured; “Peaches got the worst of the fall out…I can’t even begin to describe what that poor girl lived through.”
As a teenager never far from the spotlight, Peaches had a worldly intelligence beyond her years. She once said, “I haven’t felt like I was a teenager since I was 12. I’ve felt like I was 30 since I was 13. I don’t think I had a teenage time. Maybe my twenties will be easier.”
She began writing a column for Elle Girl in April 2004, and contributed a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph between the ages of 14 and 17. In an interview with Richard & Judy, Peaches told the TV hosts that she hoped to pursue a career in journalism or read English literature at university.
In 2005, Peaches starred in a documentary Peaches Geldof: Teenage Mind, aiming to find the adolescent voice. In the footage, she showed the vulnerable and innocent side that her often feisty public persona undermined. Her newspaper columns were infamously candid, and she famously labelled television’s premiere style advisors Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine as “upper-class bitches with no fashion sense.”
Her celebrity status grew as she designed a collection for the fashion label PPQ and became the face of the Ultimo underwear brand. In 2006, Peaches was named in Tatler Magazine’s annual top 10 fashion icons, the youngest person on the list.
The label “wild child” was one that Peaches wore throughout her life. She was open about her tumultuous adolescence, admitting to taking alcohol and drugs from a young age; “I did experiment with drugs, I did get drunk and go to parties.I could have let myself spiral but all the time I remembered what happened to my mum.”
In July 2008, Peaches was resuscitated from an overdose by emergency paramedics when she stopped breathing for several minutes. That December she left a “shopping list” of drugs behind her in a pub. She soon relocated her life to New York. 19 year old Peaches then married a wannabe drummer Max Drummey in Las Vegas unbeknownst to her family. The marriage lasted 6 months.
In March 2010, pictures materialised online showing Peaches allegedly on heroin during a one night stand. Their owner claimed the images were from a drug fueled binge in Los Angeles in November, 2009. She subsequently lost her contract with Ultimo underwear.
In an attempt to find solace and sanctuary, Peaches returned home to London. On April 12th 2012, she welcomed her first son Astala Dylan Willow to the world. Astala’s father, the singer Thomas Cohen, and Peaches were married in an idyllic ceremony in September 2012. In his speech Bob said ‘It’s a beautiful day, in all senses of the word. I am happy for them. I love seeing people in love.’
Peaches openly spoke about how the birth of her son was her saving grace; “The second I held him it was like this missing piece of my life being put into place; everything started to heal….Even if it’s an archaic idea I want Astala to have a mummy and daddy together for ever. It’s a commitment. I want to be a good wife, a good mother, a good person.”
Peaches second son, Phaedra Bloom Forever, was born on April 24th 2013, on what would have been his grandmother Paula’s 54th birthday. Peaches defended her children’s unusual names to Hello Magazine, “I wouldn’t be a Geldof if I didn’t get stick in the press about my ridiculous choice of names. I’ve got to uphold the family’s tradition.”
In 2013, Peaches admirably took on the controversial tabloid columnist Katie Hopkins in a televised debate about parenting methods. Peaches championed the “attached parenting” approach, denouncing controlled crying, and insisting on the importance of following a “mother’s natural instinct to love her babies”. In one of her last television interviews, with Australia’s Studio 10, she stated her two sons were her “raison d’etre”.
Peaches is survived by her father Bob, sisters Fifi Trixibelle and Pixie, half sister Tiger Lily, husband Thomas and sons Astala and Phaedra.
By Freya Drohan