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“I had to face the pain”: Peaches Geldof’s husband on coping with grief

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Harriet Hall
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Peaches Geldof’s husband has spoken out about coping with the grief of losing his wife, two years after her death in 2014.

Thomas Cohen, 25, had been married to Geldof for only 18 months, when he discovered the body of his wife in their Kent home – their son, Phaedra, in the next room. It was later revealed that Geldof had died following a heroin overdose.

This weekend, in a candid interview with The Guardian, Cohen describes his process of grieving, saying that speaking openly is a part of his recovery:

“Although it is obviously a very painful process, it is a process. If I’d given myself a time limit, then I wouldn’t be able to do interviews now or even talk about it.

“And I do want to talk about it, in a very loving, kind way. Because that’s the only way of doing it.

“It has to come from you. It has to be you that drags yourself out of it and faces that pain, which is so terrifying. It’s not a case of saying: ‘Right I’m done with that,’ because it will come and bite you, basically.”

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Peaches Geldof with Thomas Cohen at Glastonbury, 2013

Geldof’s own mother, Paula Yates, died of an overdose, aged 41, and had struggled with addiction for years – to which Cohen can relate:

“I think any time you love someone, you’re slightly scared of it,” he says. “But when they have addiction issues and the border of life and death is so constant and close and intertwined throughout the whole thing, it’s heightened.” 

The musician and ex-SCUM front man, who is father to two young boys with Geldof, says that music has helped him through the bereavement:

“[Writing] gave me a purpose. Aside from parenthood, obviously, it was my only real personal belonging. I could create something new, rather than just be a single father, which is also what I am, but a musician, too.”

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Peaches Geldof with son Astala in a photo on her Instagram feed, 2014

Cohen says the songs he's written about his late wife do not bring pain but something positive:

“It feels good to do every time. It comes from a place of hurt, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to sing it. That’s the joyful thing about music, a lot of music, even certain famous huge pop songs that are quite bad, come from that place.”

Cohen did his first interview since Geldof’s death only a few weeks ago - with The Times - saying he refused to be “ a traumatised, grief-stricken single father.”

Geldof’s best friend has also spoken out, in a moving essay in which she describes Geldof as “a firework of a girl.”