The Bachelor NZ’s Zac Franich: The family tragedy that almost broke us

The star reveals the heartbreaking loss that shattered him and his mum, Debbie.

Next year there might very well be a woman on the scene, helping Zac Franich pick out what to buy his mum Debbie for Mother’s Day. But this year, Debs is likely spending Sunday evening watching her single son search for love on The Bachelor, occasionally having to peer through her fingers if he puckers up for any of the girls again next week.

“Watching the first kiss was the hardest!” admits Debbie, laughing.

While there will be plenty of laughs on Sunday as they celebrate Mother’s Day, the pair revealed to New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, a family tragedy is never too far from their minds.

Seven years ago the best friend of Zac’s younger brother Jed committed suicide. Wiri was just 18 years old when he took his own life and was very, very close to the entire Franich family.

“The kids all dealt with it in their own ways,” tells Debbie. “Jed took it the hardest, but it had a huge impact on all of us. Wiri was part of our family.”

Zac says it was the toughest thing they’ve been through – and the fall out for the family was devastating.

“We just started turning on each other,” he tells.

Zac has previously spoken of his own battle with depression.

“I went from being 100 per cent motivated to spending half my life in bed,” the star of The Bachelor New Zealand told Woman’s Day in a candid interview.

“I spiralled into a really dark place and it got to the point where I didn’t know how to be happy any more. It was scary.”

Where to get help:

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)

• Youthline: 0800 376 633

• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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