Like mother, like daughter?

The latest lurid headlines suggest Peaches Geldof may be emulating Paula Yates, says Deirdre Reynolds

Deirdre Reynolds

They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree -- but what about Peaches? With her flaxen hair, elfin features and quirky dress sense, Ms Geldof could easily be mistaken for a young Paula Yates.

But now wild child Peaches seems to be emulating her tragic mum in more than just looks.

Daughter of presenter Paula and Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof, the Brit brat (21) was yesterday axed as the face and body of lingerie brand Miss Ultimo after photos of her looking less than peachy clean surfaced online.

The topless snaps were posted last week on by a US student called Ben Miller, who claims he had a one-stand with the socialite during which they tried heroin together.

Peaches, who's currently dating director Eli Roth (37), vehemently denies the drugs allegations. However, the kiss-and-tell has already cost her the €112,000 a-year modelling contract.

The tale of an off-the-rails IT girl could be lifted straight from the opening chapters of her mum Paula's life story.

The Big Breakfast presenter died of an accidental heroin overdose aged 40 on her daughter Pixie's 10th birthday in 2000.

But parallels between the troubled blonde and daughter Peaches, who was just 11 when her mother died, have become inescapable.

Rock journalist Paula shot to fame presenting Channel 4 pop music programme The Tube before securing stardom thanks to her cheeky "on the bed" interviews on C4's The Big Breakfast.

Following in her footsteps, Peaches has penned columns for pop culture bible Nylon magazine, Elle Girl and The Guardian, as well as presenting a string of her own reality TV shows including Peaches Geldof: Teenage Mind.

Neither were shy about stripping off in pursuit of exposure -- Paula posed naked for Penthouse in 1978, while topless paparazzi snaps of Peaches were 10 a penny even before the latest internet scandal.

The photos show that Peaches has inherited her mum's love of body art too.

Although the late presenter drew the line at the large green dragon on her right arm -- while ink addict Peaches has a clutter of 10 tatts decorating her body.

In a left-of-centre way, both women have earned sex symbol status. Sprawled across a leopard-print bed in rubber trousers, peroxide Paula could jump-start men more effectively than a stiff coffee in the morning during the 90s as she purred her way through interviews.

And that style icon torch has clearly been passed to Best Dressed-list regular Peaches, who was once voted 53rd sexiest woman on the planet by FHM.

However, it's her tumultuous private life that most eerily echoes that of her fallen mum's.

Celeb groupie Yates wed Boomtown Rats frontman Geldof in 1986 and the couple have three daughters together. But in 1995, she left Sir Bob for drug-addled INXS singer Michael Hutchence -- who committed suicide in a Sydney hotel room two years later.

Devastated by his death, Yates was admitted to a psychiatric clinic after attempting a copy-cat suicide. But her continued dalliances with drugs eventually led to her early demise in 2000.

Already a divorcee at 21, Peaches too has a soft spot for rockers. In 2008, she married American musician Max Drummey in a quickie Las Vegas ceremony and had his name tattooed on her hand -- the ink was barely dry before the publicity stunt relationship ended six months later.

Another of her tattoos screaming 'Ex Valentine' is believed to refer to former flame Faris Badwan of The Horrors.

Peaches' latest antics could be a simple case of questionable taste in men -- but it will ring a bell with those old enough to remember the headlines generated by her mum before her.

While being treated for a nervous breakdown, Yates had a brief fling with an ex-con and heroin dealer who later sold his story to a tabloid paper.

So if it's a case of 'Like mother, like daughter', what does the future hold for Peaches?

After investigating Yates's death, a coroner blamed "foolish and incautious" behaviour.

Now it seems Peaches -- repeatedly linked to drugs in recent years -- is on self-destruct too. In July 2008, she was treated by paramedics after an overdose.

And with a toxic LA lifestyle, pals have expressed fears the socialite could also be headed for an early grave.

"I feel sorry for her," said Gerry Agar, author and friend of Paula Yates. "It's tragic she has become so trapped -- it will be the downfall of her.

"She really has become like the replacement Paula. She even uses the same arguments to try to convince people that comparisons between her and her mother are unfair, and that she is just having a good time.

"But while she cavorts around in her present crowd nothing will change.

"For me it is so frustrating because I am literally watching history repeating itself."

Unable to break out of the shadow of their famous parents, celebrity kids often end up emulating it instead, reckons Dublin psychologist Owen Connolly.

But having already mastered the art of being famous for being famous like her mum before her, Peaches' apparent downward spiral could be a result of dormant grief.

"Children who have lost a parent in their formative years may find themselves unable to finish their emotional development stage, leading to adult child syndrome, where they develop intellectually and physically but are stunted on the emotional side.

"It may be that Peaches' mother herself was locked in the 'little child' stage of emotional development," he adds.