Gemma Collins has revealed she’s ‘broken-hearted’ following the tragic death of her friend Rhys Alan Smith.
Speaking candidly about her grief after Rhys – who was the ex-boyfriend of TOWIE‘s Harry Derbidge – was found dead in Tenerife last month, Gemma, 40, said that she’s taken comfort from seeing ‘signs’ that her friend has gone onto a better place.
Speaking on The Gemma Collins Podcast, she said: ‘My dear friend, who was like a little brother to me, sadly passed away and it has been so awful. If anyone is feeling not themselves or is struggling please speak to someone.’
Candid: Gemma Collins, 40, has addressed the tragic death of her ‘dear friend’ Rhys Alan Smith for the first time, revealing she has been ‘broken-hearted’ in recent weeks
Police sources on the island confirmed last month that officers had been called to an address in Granadilla de Abona in the early hours of April 22.
It’s thought that Rhys’ death is not being treated as suspicious by police.
Touching upon the fact that she hadn’t recorded another episode of her BBC podcast after the news of Rhys’ passing broke, Gemma explained: ‘I did take a week off because I was so distraught.’
She added: ‘Recording this podcast makes me feel happier and do you know what guys, I missed you all last week.’
Tragic: Rhys was found dead in Tenerife and police are not treating the death as suspicious (Gemma and Rhys pictured together in a throwback photo shared by Rhys earlier this year)
Heartbreaking: TOWIE star Harry Derbidge’s ex Rhys Alan Smith died after he was found dead in Tenerife (pictured together in 2013)
Gemma also told listeners she was certain Rhys had sent her a ‘sign’ from above when she was watering her trees, giving her some relief that he’s in a better place.
She said: ‘And I really got some comfort the other day, which started to make me feel better – I was watering my trees and a little white angel feather fell down as I was watering my trees.
‘If you listen to my podcast you know I believe in that sort of thing and it did give me a bit of comfort.’
Gemma told listeners: ‘My dear friend Rhys, may he rest in peace’ (pictured in throwback picture)
She also sweetly noted: ‘My dear friend Rhys, may he rest in peace.’
Praising her beloved mother Joan for her support in recent weeks, Gemma revealed her mum has been helping her remain positive by accompanying her on shopping trips when she’s been ‘feeling alone’.
Gemma continued: ‘I have felt really alone and I have felt so sad, and I just want to thank my mum because she’s been amazing and she came shopping with me.’
Gemma then joked: ‘I know, shopping again. What is it about shopping? Whenever you’re sad you just think, ‘I’ve just got to buy something.’
Gemma led the heartbreaking tributes to Rhys last month as she commented on the reality star’s last shared picture to Instagram on 3 April.
The TV personality penned: ‘My heart will never be the same I won’t ever be the same love you Reece,’ beneath a photo of herself planting a kiss on Rhys’ cheek.
A source close to Rhys’ ex Harry told OK! at the time: ‘Harry’s absolutely devastated to hear that Rhys has died. It has come as such a huge shock to him. He’s been crying all day.’
Sad: Gemma put: ‘My heart will never be the same I won’t ever be the same love you Reece ❤️’ beneath Rhys’ last Instagram photo
While they added that Harry’s cousin, Amy Childs, is also heartbroken, they continued: ‘She is so shocked, she couldn’t believe it when she heard the news.
‘She’s been trying to comfort Harry, but he is inconsolable. It’s just so, so sad.’
MailOnline contacted Harry’s representative and TOWIE for further comment at the time.
Rhys’ last Instagram post was on April 3 where he shared a photo of himself in Tenerife captioned: ‘Quality time with myself.’
Thank you: Gemma sweetly thanked her mum Joan for her support in recent weeks, revealing her mum had been helping her remain positive by accompanying her on shopping trips
Prior to that, he had spent time in Dubai where he had shared several pictures of himself enjoying various activities such as kayaking with friends.
Rhys dated TOWIE star Harry in 2013 with the former couple regularly appearing at events together before Harry dated Bobby.
In 2014, Harry, who is now engaged to beau Dean, split from Bobby after he told the reality star he had slept with his ex at the beginning of their romance.
He said at the time: ‘Before I tell you this I absolutely love you so much. Please don’t cry, please. When we was in Tenerife I did sleep with my ex. I’m f**king so sorry because I f**king never meant to hurt you, I really didn’t.’
Sad: Earlier this year, Rhys (pictured in March) had spent time in Dubai where he had shared several pictures of himself enjoying various activities such as kayaking with friends
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