Inquest: RPDRUK’s Cherry Valentine struggled with fame

cherry velentine george ward

An inquest into the death of George Ward, RPDRUK competitor Cherry Valentine, heard Thursday that the popular drag performer struggled with fame and battled depression.

Cherry Valentine:

  • worked as a mental health nurse.
  • competed in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season 2.
  • star of BBC Documentary Cherry Valentine: Gypsy Queen and Proud.
  • used he/they pronouns when not in drag and identified as genderfluid.

Born and raised in the Traveller community, George Ward left home at 18 over rejection for being gay. His introduction to the drag scene came while studying to become a mental health nurse.

The post-mortem report stated that George’s flatmate Kate noticed that in the weeks leading to his death, he started sleeping in late.”

Struggled with fame

“The subject was a successful drag queen, and [his friend] believes he had been struggling with his rise to fame after being on RuPaul’s Drag Race…

“[Ward] previously suffered from depression… this is something he has battled with.”

George Ward — Cherry Valentine — took his life while his flatmate was at a concert.

The assistant coroner returned a verdict of suicide and extended his sympathy to loved ones.

George’s family, with whom he reconciled before his death, also issued a statement.

“As his family, we are still processing his death and our lives will never be the same.

“We understand how much he is loved and how many lives he has inspired and touched.

“We love you, Georgie.”

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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