Bob Geldof blames himself for Peaches’ heroin death: ‘I clearly failed’

Bob Geldof

I was thinking about Peaches Geldof a few days ago. It still feels so unreal how she was living a double life towards the end of her days. Peaches had everything to live for with her family — two young sons and husband Tom Cohen — yet fell back into drugs. In early April of this year, Peaches’ body was found at her home near London. The coroner determined that she succumbed to a heroin overdose just like her mom, Paula Yates.

In July, Bob Geldof gave a brief interview about his unyielding grief. I didn’t cover it at the time because it was just so sad. Bob said the loss was “still very raw.” He often found himself ducking into alleys to avoid the paparazzi as he cried: “I’m walking down the road and suddenly out of the blue there’s an awareness of her — and you know, I buckle. I have to duck off into a lane or something, and blub for a while and then get on with it.” This is a parent’s worst nightmare, and I feel terrible for Bob. Still and always.

Bob has been keeping himself as busy as possible. The man is 63 years old and now touring the UK for a Boomtown Rats reunion. He tells ITV how the music helps him cope. Bob largely blames himself for Peaches’ death, but he also calls out the media for hounding his children over Paula’s tragic legacy:

Performing is cathartic: “I put on my snakeskin suit, and I can be this other thing. It is utterly cathartic. These two hours, I am drained, and it’s a very brief respite. It just so happened that this was available to me when this immensity, the enormity of losing my kid happened. And so it is very useful, but that isn’t why I do it.”

Did Bob know Peaches was using again? “Yeah. I mean, of course I knew about it. We did more than talk about it.”

The media’s role in Peaches’ downfall: “The first thing is that she was super bright. Too bright. She knew what life was supposed to be, and god bless her, she tried very hard to get there. And she didn’t make it. I know from whence it comes. It comes from being told constantly, posted articles. It damaged them. And I’m not just blaming the newspapers, of course not.

Bob blames himself the most: “You blame yourself, you’re … the father … who’s responsible … and clearly failed. You go back, you go back, you go over, you go over. What could you have done? And you do as much as you can, but … So that was a factor. They were constantly being told, of when they were young kids, you know going to parties, hanging out with mates, being followed, being photographed. ”

Where he’s at now: “The ability to try and understand, though it is incomprehensible, or to try and come to terms with the immensity of the grief is there, but it takes a long time to filter through sort of the filth of your subconsious to get to the front where you can try to itemize it. I’m not there with Peaches yet. It’s all just too soon. It was all too sudden, too unexpected.”


Poor Bob. He cannot help but blame himself. I think many parents would feel the same way after losing a child to drugs. Peaches was 25 when she died and hadn’t lived with Bob for several years. Bob raised her the best way he knew, and that’s all a parent can do (besides hope for the best). He is correct about how the press treated Peaches. Several outlets regularly published stories about how Peaches would mirror her mother. The whole situation remains incredibly tragic. I hope Bob finds some peace in the future.

Bob Geldof

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet & WENN

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68 Responses to “Bob Geldof blames himself for Peaches’ heroin death: ‘I clearly failed’”

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  1. Snazzy says:

    That poor man. I am not a parent, but it must be every parent’s nightmare to have to bury their child. I hope he can find a way to heal in time, as difficult as it may be

    • LadyMTL says:

      ITA. My maternal great-grandmother lost her two children (my grandmother and another daughter) and she always used to say that she never got over it, that losing your child is the most horrible thing that can happen to a parent. I feel really bad for Bob, as well as for Peaches’ kids.

    • Sullivan says:


    • swack says:

      We buried my daughter’s fiance this past December. I will never forget that night. Even though he was not my biological child, he considered me his mother (his own died when he was 8). I got a call at 2:30 am from my daughter who was crying and said to me, “Mom, I think he’s dead. I think James is dead”. It was horrible (she woke up and found him). I still walk in their house and expect to see him at any moment. I feel so sorry for Bob and also hope he finds a way to forgive himself as it was not his fault.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      No parent should have to go through this. I feel so sad that he blames himself. Just a tragedy for everyone who loved her.

  2. Brin says:

    Her poor children will grow up without their mother, so tragic.

  3. Lindy79 says:

    Is that TigerLily at the front? My god she’s like a mini Michael Hutchence!

    I know Bob isnt perfect but my heart aches for him with all the stuff he’s gone through, to lose a child in the same way as they lost their mother, can’t imagine what he feels…

  4. Somenestolemyname says:

    It’s very sad. Truly a tragic situation.

    • Anne tommy says:

      Very difficult for him not to blame himself but hope he can work through it, as the mother of a grown up daughter myself it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you can’ t always protect them and that they make their own choices for good or bad. RIP Paula and Peaches.

  5. Courtney says:

    My heart hurts for him. Hope her boys are okay.

  6. PunkyMomma says:

    There is no recovery from the loss of a child. I speak as an Aunt who lost a beautiful, young niece to a senseless tragedy. I will forever recount the moments and actions preceding her death, thinking, what if I had done this, or said that, or asked her to do or not do this or that? It’s hell on earth. A heartache that never ends.

  7. Arya Martell says:

    I feel so sad for Bob. Recently got the scare of my life when my brother’s girlfriend outed my brother’s escalating heroin smoking habit after he nearly od’d. No one in my family had any inkling that my brother was using heavy drugs. But that feeling of powerlessness you feel when someone is on the brink of destroying themselves is unimaginable. My brother’s in treatment and now that everything is out in the open he seems intent on getting better at least on the surface. One can only hope that rehab sticks.

    At the same time, Bob should not shoulder all the blame and we shouldn’t forget the example set by Peaches’ mom Paula Yates. I do think it’s okay to really put some blame on her mother for this one. How do you counteract the influence of your own mother dying of a heroin overdose? Trying to escape the confusion and drama of that situation creates such a vicious cycle (if that was her reasons for using drugs).

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      I know how you feel. My twin brother recently just went off the rails. He’s doing things that I never would’ve thought him capable of doing–even as soon as a year ago. And he’s completely cut himself off from our family–we only gets news of him if we contact his probation officer. It’s especially hard for me, because he’s my twin brother. He’s the one that I used to gossip with. He was the one that I hung out with–I was closer to him than I was to my other siblings. And one of these days, I’m worried that we’ll only hear from him if he’s dead or in prison. And it’s a scary thought–one that I try not to think about. And every time I think about it, I go back and think to everything that happened in our lives–he was always the most ‘sensitive’ out of us, and I wasn’t always the nicest sister, so I often wonder if I had been nicer, more understanding, more willing to stick up for him, etc–would he have turned out any different?

      • Elleno says:

        Totally get this. Adult sister in a similar place. And I will get medieval on anyone who tries to blame my parents for this. Hugs to you both.

      • Pinky says:

        @Virgilia Coriolanus I read your comment on the LeAnn Rimes thread about how in general you have no trouble telling people apart. You realize it’s likely because you’re a twin, right? For some reason, because you have this shared existence when you’re constantly compared to each other or are fighting for your individuality and individual recognition, you intrinsically begin to pick up on identifiers that make people unique, rather than the same. I think this ability might even be keener in twins of the same sex and even more pronounced in identical twins, but I thought I’d toss this out there as food for thought.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I’m an identical twin. Very interesting, Pinky! We were always compared and contrasted.

      • Arya Martell says:

        My younger brothers are identical twins and my mom has an identical twin (who has identical twin daughters). Being the sister of twins is so weird. And they can get creepy weird too, telepathy with my brothers is a thing. I can describe my feelings it’s just so weird to watch.

  8. Aussie girl says:

    THis is all to heartbreaking for everyone involved. She obviously tried to fight her demons and from what I’ve seemed was an amazing mother ( regardless of her drug use). I really feel for her two little boys, such beautiful babies without their mother. I think that’s what makes it even more sad.

  9. Chris2 says:

    Ah Bob love, you have a heart the size of Kent…..Peaches was on her path and no-one could dissuade her from it.
    All your girls must have secrets and worries like the rest of us, but they have had a singularly amazing Dad in you. Please try to allow yourself some peace now. You are a good man.

  10. Gina says:

    What a terrible burden this man carries on his back and in his heart. The questions of what could I have done…and I’m quite sure like others who suffer as he did knowing what the end of his child’s fate long before her journey ended. I have a loved one who has the same demons that Peaches had and it is a heartbreaking situation. Neil Youngs’ anthem says it best. I’ve seen the needle and the damage done; A little part of it in everyone, But every junkie’s like a setting sun. Prayers out to all who are or know or love those afflicted with this unbearable, intolerable addiction.

  11. frisbeejada says:

    I could cry for him.

    • Chris2 says:

      Yes indeed, the heart aches for him.
      Recalling the earthquake of Paula’s complete transformation over MH, when she even got a boob job, and started messing with drugs and became quite another person, you wonder has Bob ever once expressed his feelings about that to the family? You get the feeling he took it all on/into himself immediately, (along with poor Tiger) and never once let Paula’s memory be less than shining, for their bewildered daughters. What a strain. What a brave and decent man, and what an utterly stranger-than-fiction family history.

      • frisbeejada says:

        ITA he would have done all he could to protect his daughters – because that’s the kind of bloke he is – and the agony he must feel over Peaches and not thinking that he did enough to help her would bring even an enormously strong character like him to his knees. It just seems so unfair, he’s worked so hard to try and help other people for 30 odd years but still has to face one personal body-blow after another.

  12. Bridget says:

    This is going to sound terrible, but perhaps growing up with fabulous wealth was the worst thing that could have happened to the Geldof family. Yes, it gave the girls opportunities, but it also exposed them to a social scene that helped Peaches spiral downwards – after all, she had a public profile since she was in her early teens. I know that Bob tried numerous times over the years to get her help over the years and that she of course had a genetic predisposition to addiction, but I wonder if she’d been a normal, non-famous girl if she’d still be alive today.

    • delorb says:

      But wouldn’t her genetic predisposition still kick in? I know nothing of these people. Don’t know what he does (musician?) or their lifestyle, but I’m thinking that if its in your ‘genes’, so to speak, then its best you not try it at all, regardless of wealth.

    • QQ says:

      i dont think it sounds terrible… it is factual and actual that the girls just had a Lot of leeway and freedom to be in places where maybe they shouldnt due to their fame and wealth so i dont think is wrong to wonder

      I also am wondering who is caring for the kids cause didn’t Peaches husband admit they were using when the kids would go to bed? Is he still using? Is he clean? Are the babies under his care? this is just terrible.

    • Chris2 says:

      Not wishing to rehash poor Peaches’ issues here, but *did* she have this genetic disposition? Not from Paula, surely……her drug experimentation was a sudden volte-face whilst completely blinded by her Hutchence infatuation……til then she had almost Puritanical views about drugs and alcohol. (Indeed, after MH died Paula drank more than she drugged, god love her….another drug death facilitated by booze.)
      Peaches’ feelings about her mother’s death must have been very tangled; one wonders if, when she found out the great attraction of heroin herself, (maybe trying to feel what Paula did), did she convince herself she would just be smarter than Paula and manage it ‘safely’? Christ it’s a miserable tale.

    • frisbeejada says:

      The tragedy of addiction is that you can have 10 people try a drug, 9 will handle it but one may eventually become hopelessly addicted. That can be due to genetic and social circumstances but it is by no means confined to a particular socio-economic group. It’s like a lottery, addiction can strike at any time and the risk of drug taking is you just can’t predict who will become dependent. A classic case is Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones who avoided drugs all his life and then got hooked on heroin in his fifties. As Chris 2 pointed out Paula Yates became dependent very late in the day prompted by access, grief, social circumstances and yes, possibly even biological predisposition. Poor Peaches – who knows why she started to take drugs? To try and understand her mother’s need, to try and prove (to herself) she was nothing like her mother, that she could handle it? We’ll never know and the real tragedy is that neither will her Dad and that poor man will spend the rest of his life haunted by these kinds of questions. If it’s bad for the addicts, believe me, it’s just as bad for their families and loved ones.

      • Chris2 says:

        Damn good point about Charlie.
        And heroin of course doesn’t require any predisposition to addiction……it’s seductive enough to turn even the strongest will to its embrace. But within that smack community there are definitely some who ‘can’ and some who most certainly ‘cannot’, in terms of an instinct for self-preservation even whilst using serious drugs.
        Poor lovely Peaches.

    • Gina says:

      Addiction is 50% predisposition. Her mother was also an addict which genetically gave her a 50/50 chance of suffering the same fate, whether she was a famous girl or the girl down the street.

      • Melanie says:

        This. I’ve even heard as high as 70-75%. I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. She was adopted as a baby and after many years, sought out her biological parents. Finds her birth mother and two siblings. They are all raging alcoholics. It actually helped her understand herself better. Her adoptive parents and siblings have no addiction issues and she always felt like the odd one out with her disease. Meeting her bio family gave her some perspective on the genetic aspect of her addiction.

      • SnarkySnarkers says:

        Hmmm well both my parents were drug addicts (one still is) and I never so much as smoked pot. Me thinks your statistics are skewed…. I think its up to the individual as to whether they become addicts later in life. Poor coping skills play a huge role as well.

    • Jessica says:

      Apparently Geldof was actually pretty tight with money as far as his kids go. It wasn’t so much the wealth but the name. Peaches and Pixie got given a lot of stuff.

  13. Esmom says:

    I can’t imagine the horrible pain and guilt he must feel. My kids are teens and I already worry about my one son in particular when it comes to potential substance abuse. The family history is there plus there’s something in his personality that makes me worry that he will get caught up in that mentality I see among so many teens where they are so eager to seek out the next high.

    Anyway, I know next to nothing about Peaches and this might be an unpopular/odd view — and I know it’s no consolation to the grieving family — but I have come to the conclusion that some people aren’t meant to be on this earth for as long as others. Their star shines incredibly brightly while they are here, but it burns out way too soon for reasons that are out of everyone’s control.

    I can think of a couple celeb examples and what first made me think about this was seeing a story on a TV news show about Danielle Steele and her son who was bipolar and died very young. There was really poignant serenity about Ms. Steele as she described how they tried to do everything to help him but in the end he just wasn’t meant to be here.

  14. LAK says:

    Off topic: Did he ever live with her after Paula died? I know he had full custody, but the kids had their own flat next door (or possibly upstairs) to his own flat where he lived with his partner. They’ve been lots of articles that said the kids were largely unsupervised, partially because they lived next door.

    • Arya Martell says:

      That and I don’t think Bob got them any counseling or help after their mother died so they were left to deal with their own grief. In an interview he said he sent them to school the next day and told them to carry on. That grief is going to come out one way or another. I’m not saying Bob was wrong for doing it that way or that it’s a cause but grief comes out in funny ways.

      • LAK says:

        Peaches, in one of her last interviews, said that he sent them to school the next day like nothing had happened because his policy was to carry on as normal. She said she struggled with that. So sad.

      • Chris2 says:

        I remember that ghastly news broadcast, and wondering how in the name of god Bob could bear any more Paula-related pain. He must have felt the gods were singling him and the girls out for a very cruel game. He reached out for Tiger automatically, but his heart must have been ripped from his breast….you know, paralysing him? Paula’s friends rallied round I recall, but Christ, it was too much for anyone to process I’d think.
        No doubt the girls should have had professional help offered, and Peaches’ story is legitimate……but wouldn’t we wish Bob could have been spared that thought?
        I imagine he was part helpless robot and part boiling fury in the immediate aftermath, and definitely not capable of clear thinking.
        I really hope he’s talked down out of this guilt….an error of judgement at such a time is no sin, no matter how it all turns out.

        Sorry for rabbitting on, It’s all so desperately sad.

      • frisbeejada says:

        I agree with you, grief does take people in funny, even bizarre ways. There is no right way of handling it but I am convinced that people do the best they can in the circumstances they find themselves in and that Bob Geldolf did his very best for his kids as any parent would.

      • Caz says:

        agree. There are quite a few articles written by proper journalists back in the day (not just posts on gossip sites) detailing Geldof was largely an absent, selfabsorbed father who left the parenting of his children to their nanny and had nothing to do with their upbringing. Geldof has a lot to answer for …he should have done a lot of things differently a long time ago. He cannot be considered a good father. I respect he is grieving for his daughter. Theres a lot of guilt there too. Once a son or daughter or spouse dies it’s too late to realise what one remaining should have done. My comments are only related to Geldof – not at any celebitchy who has shared their own experiences here.

  15. rylan says:

    My heart aches for Bob & his tragic loss. It haunts you forever. I lost my 20yr old son two years ago in a car accident. The kid who was driving was going 150km through the mountains & couldn’t make the turn. the car flew off the road, took off the top of a couple of trees & rolled several times. The piece of shit kid who was driving was at our house several times before the accident & i always think how could i not see that he was bad news? I feel like i failed as a parent because if i did a better job my son would still be here? It never ends. The only way I can try to explain my feelings of loss are that nothing can console me & the pain is so great that when i think of my son is that i’m dying and everything inside me is shutting down & i can’t go on. And as Bob said i can be going about my day & suddenly feel so overwhemed by reality I just collapse & bawl my eyes out. My heart, thoughts & prayers are with him. If ever i could meet him & hug him & tell him he’s not alone i would. It’s so heartbreaking that so many parents have lost their children. Well i’m off to cry , thank you all for letting me get this out of me.

    • Cheryl says:

      Crying with you.

    • Jen34 says:

      Rylan, I am so very sorry for you. I hope you find peace one day.

    • Birdix says:

      There is such beauty in your compassion for Bob, and so much pain. My heart goes out to you.

    • icerose says:

      I feel for you and your loss. I lost my son too a berry berry aneurysm thee days before his 28th birthday. You wonder if you could have missed something. He had been complaining of headaches in the previous weeks but he had always been a recurrent migrane sufferer, The doctor told me that even if he had gone to a doctor they would not have diagnosed so I try to see it as fate and not apportion blame.
      It does get easier but the grief still erupts given the right triggers, Two things helped me in a strange way. I decided to go forward with a holiday I had booked about 6 months afterwards and discovered it was following the trail of soldiers who were marched through the jungle having already spent years of hardship trying to build an aerodrome in the Borneo jungle. Few survived the march and those that did were then shot. I was in a memorial looking at the ages of young men younger than my son and I was struck by the collective grief that mothers must have felt and for some reason it gave me an inner strength. Later when in hospital the women on the ward were talking about their children and a very elderly lady said she had 3 children but lost two in the war and then she said I always say I have three children because I HAVE stop loving them I have just learn to live without them. I still believe that those of us who have list a child share a collective grief .To this day I have people I have never met on my facebook who I know have gone through a similar experience as well as friends and family who share the loss with me.
      And I understand those moments that Bob Geldorf describes and will never judge him.

      • icerose says:

        I have three children because I HAVE stop loving them I have just learn to live without them should have read I have never stopped loving them. My brother called and I did not have time to proof read it.

      • rylan says:

        Thank you Birdix, Jen 34, Cheryl &icerose for your kind thoughts &support. I mentioned my son’s death quite a while ago &was overwhelmed by the outpoor of support . When i’m feeling such grief I read the comments & always feel better.Even tho I don’t know any personally but that you care enough to be so kind from strangers I feel such warmth & not so alone. Please know how much your caring &support means so much to me & helps me to keep going.

      • Esmom says:

        icerose, so sorry for your loss. I am glad that you’re able to find bits of comfort amidst the pain. It makes me realize more than ever that I should be grateful for every moment with my sons, never knowing when it might be the last.

    • Esmom says:

      Rylan, I am so sorry for the loss of your precious son. Wishing you continued strength.

  16. iseepinkelefants says:

    I must be in bizarro world because yes he should blame himself. There were tons of stories about he was always too busy paying attention to his causes than paying attention to his children. It was said that all 3 girls never had any structure and basically their flat in Bayswater was their flat because they were left home alone so often. Please spare me the Bob was a great father crocodile tears, by all accounts he wasn’t. And I really feel sorry for Tiger Lily, poor child is stuck being raised by Bob, isn’t allowed to learn about her father ( the man who stole Paual from him) and can’t even get to know her paternal grandparents. Sadness all around. Screw whatever UK judge gave that man custody of her. He couldn’t even take care of the 3 he already had.

    That said I didnt realIze they finally came out with case of death, heroin is surprising, she seemed so much happier since becoming a mum

    • Arya Martell says:

      I think that’s unfair. I see where you are coming from but I think it’s unfair. I think Bob did the very best he could with the situation handed to him. Mistakes were made along the way. It happens. Should he have done this or that? Probably. But his mistakes are no lesser or greater than those of many parents. He’s no father of the year, I agree and he should have done more to help Peaches if he knew she was doing this and intervened on behalf of her children but we don’t know what he or her husband tried to do. Every parent makes mistakes and I can relate. I’ve been wondering if having pot smoking sessions with my brothers when we were younger set my brother down a bad path that now he’s in rehab after almost od’ing from heroin.

      Whatever Bob’s motives are and whatever his reasons for doing things are his own. His actions have shown that on some level he means well if that was his true motive and intentions – well only he knows. Tiger Lily is 18 years old. I’m sure she knows plenty about her biological parents she isn’t stupid. Both MH’s father and brother have said that she was left in good hands. If Bob had allowed her to return to Australia Tiger would have never had a life of peace. She would have been hounded by the media because of MH’s immense fame. She has still chosen not to return to Australia so I think it’s more her choice than his.

    • Angela says:

      I’m in bizzaro world with you. When the best a parent can do is not provide adequate supervision or therapy when the other parent dies, than the best is not good enough. Parents need to get the help they need to be a good enough parent, not perfect but good enough.

      I get so tired of reading “they did the best they could”. Maybe yes, and maybe the best they could do was not good enough and they needed to get help to parent a wee bit better.

    • jwoolman says:

      Peaches said her father provided structure and schedules (they had to do their homework…) when she was with him, her mother’s house was chaotic. It really sounds as though he was trying to help them grow up properly.

    • Kit says:

      I agree. The Saint Bob fiction makes me sick. He was incredibly and relentlessly cruel to the mother of his children, and he deliberately alienated Tiger Lily from her family in Australia in a childish act of revenge against a dead man. Peaches death is an unmitigated tragedy but I don’t find his words sincere at all, I just see him promoting his tour.

    • Caz says:

      I totally agree. The turning of geldof into saint bob is untruthfull.

  17. Gingi says:

    I agree, iseepinkelefants. Thank goodness someone else is going against the oh poor Bob and Peaches tide. I also think peaches herself was selfish and deserves blame. You’d think she would have known better. I mean, you’d think if she lost her mother like that, she’d make damn sure her children wouldn’t go through what she did. By many accounts, Bob was a cold father who sent his kids to school the very next day after Paula died and Peaches should have grown up once she had children and surely would have done her utmost to ensure her children were never left motherless at a young age, like she was. I just can’t with this situation. I’m glad you were brave enough to stick your head up and tell it like it is.

  18. Cupcake says:

    No matter what kind of parent you are/have been – it’s still devastating to lose a child. I feel so badly for anyone who has lost one of their little ones.

  19. Jen34 says:

    Bob has suffered a lot of loss in his life. I can’t imagine the horror of losing a child.

  20. Angela says:

    I can’t imagine the horror of losing a child either. In reality, though, it has historically been the norm. Most of our ancestors lost at least one of their offspring.

  21. captain hero says:

    He shouldn’t blame himself, the nannies raised those kids not him. I only wish peaches kids had nannies, then the 1yr old would not have been left hungry /thirsty/ covered in piss and shit for 11 hrs while his mother overdosed on heroin in the next room.

  22. Rylan says:

    Thank you so much Esmom

  23. Nikki L. says:

    Wow, that was a very honest and articulate interview. I feel everything he said was spot-on. Poor man, I feel for him and his family. 🙁