Danny Cipriani: Gloucester fly-half pays emotional tribute to Caroline Flack

Danny Cipriani playing for Gloucester
Danny Cipriani has played in 16 Tests for England - the most recent in 2018

Gloucester fly-half Danny Cipriani has released an emotional video tribute to ex-girlfriend Caroline Flack, saying "it's OK to be vulnerable".

Former Love Island host Flack, 40, was found dead at her home in London on Saturday after taking her own life.

Cipriani said he was speaking out about his own mental health issues in the hope her "life will not go in vain".

During the 18-minute clip on Instagram, the 32-year-old admits he tried to buy a gun to end his life 10 years ago.

"I couldn't do it because I had some fight in me," a tearful Cipriani said.

The England international said he had been speaking to Flack over the past "three or four months" and she had been dealing with negative media attention "for 20 years".

Flack was due to stand trial next month after being charged with assaulting her partner in December.

"Embarrassment and shame is not something that should make you do this," said Cipriani.

"I've worried my whole life what people say about me. I don't care any more. I know who I am."

Caroline Flack
Caroline Flack had presented Love Island, as well as co-hosting The X Factor and won Strictly Come Dancing in 2014

Cipriani, who played in Gloucester's Premiership defeat by Exeter last Friday, said he had shared "everything" with the television presenter.

Gloucester had already announced their next home match - against Sale Sharks on 28 February - would be used to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Following the news of Flack's death, Cipriani said he had missed a phone call from her.

"I have to see the meaning in why she decided to call me in her last moments, when she was with her two best friends," he said in Friday's video.

"How much love and trust did she have for me because we had been vulnerable and shared together? She felt it was a safe space so I thank her for that because I felt safe with her."

He had also previously posted on Twitter his criticism of sections of the media - accusing them of lying, and saying Flack - who he dated last year - had been "bullied".

In his latest post, he said: "We can't just blame the media, we can't blame ourselves, but we can change what's happening."

He said Flack's death meant he could "see clearly now" and was "strong enough to share my moments of vulnerability".

"I am just asking that we are kind and if you have vulnerable moments, and you have people you care about and close to you, you should share it with them," he added.

At the end of the video, Cipriani thanks people for "being kind" to Flack's family and friends.

"Continue being kind," he said. "Don't make it take for an artist to die before you buy his painting. If it's great, buy it."

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by mental health issues, help and support is available at bbc.co.uk/actionline