Holly Willoughby shares amazing stories about friend Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

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Kayleigh Dray
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Tara Palmer-Tomkinson passed away at her London home earlier this week – and now, in a moving segment on ITV’s This Morning, Holly Willoughby has paid tribute to her beloved friend.

The presenter had sat down to interview Ivan Massow, one of the 45-year-old socialite’s close acquaintances, when she felt compelled to talk about some of her own fond memories with Palmer-Tomkinson.

“She was a very close friend of mine,” she said, adding that she felt “lucky” to have known her.

Willoughby continued: “She had that special energy about her. She was just so funny – and she was incredibly generous, not just with her time, but also with her spirit.”

The 36 year old went on to recall a moment when she had been chatting to Palmer-Tomkinson, when she noticed that her friend was wearing a dazzling diamond ring on her finger.

But, when Willoughby complimented her pal on her “gorgeous bling”, Palmer-Tomkinson’s immediate response was to take it off and hand it to her as a gift.

“She goes, ‘Oh this? This is just a bit of tatt from Chanel,’” said Holly. “And she drops it in my champagne glass and told me, ‘It’s yours’.”

When Willoughby protested, Palmer-Tomkinson warned her that she would take the ring and “throw it across the restaurant” – and so Willoughby wound up with a piece of designer jewellery.

Willoughby went on to share another story about the later Palmer-Tomkinson, revealing that her friend was there for her when her self-esteem was at its lowest.

“After I had [my daughter] Belle, I had this event to go to,” explained Willoughby, revealing that she didn’t feel at all confident about going so shortly after giving birth.

Recognising that Willoughby needed a confidence boost, Palmer-Tomkinson told her to come home with her – and, once they arrived, she led Willoughby into her wardrobe.

“She must have spent hours with me trying on her clothes,” said the TV presenter, “and she fully kitted me out in heels, she gave me her handbag, she dressed me up, and sent me off on the way to this party [with a smile on my face].”

Willoughby added: “She was a real girl’s girl.”

Watch the moment for yourself below:

During the interview, Massow opened up about some of the problems that Palmer-Tomkinson had faced in her later years – including her battle with a brain tumour.

“She was facing a lot of problems,” he said. “One, it was very hard for her to stay off drinking, so that was always a thing.

“There was lots of surgery around her mouth – her nose was giving her lots of problems. She was terribly conscious about that. She always knew how to get the angle with that.

“Then there was this [tumour] on top. It was benign, but it was another worry. On top of that, she was never comfortable with becoming an older person – it was hard for her to see herself in that role, and she was very frail.”

After doctors discovered a malignant growth in her pituitary gland in January 2016, Palmer-Tomkinson opened up about her illness to the press, revealing that she had sought medical help, including blood tests, after feeling run down the previous summer.

The former columnist and TV personality said in November last year: “I went to the doctors to talk about my latest blood test results when I got back from skiing in January.

“I said, ‘What does this mean? Can you translate it?’ And the doctor said, ‘As I suspected, you have a brain tumour.’”

Palmer-Tomkinson is not thought to have died in suspicious circumstances, although police have said that her death is, at this point, “unexplained”.

Images: Getty


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.