The singer and presenter, 32, lost her father Malcolm in March 2020.
She told the Standard his death was a “shock to the system” - but she was “grateful” to have had time with her family during the pandemic to grieve.
However, the star - who shot to fame in 2005 as a contestant on the X Factor but has since gone on to be a presenter and host - said she was concerned about how she would adapt to normal life without her father.
She said: “At the start of lockdown for me and my family, we lost my dad. Which was a real shock to the system. I am quite grateful that it happened to us in a lockdown. We didn’t have to face everyone so soon. We have been able to grieve and have a lot of time with my family.”
East - a former I’m A Celebrity runner up - continued: “It is strange thinking about going back to normal. The whole world has stopped with us in our grief. And when things start up again, it is going to be - that is going to be something we need to get used to. Going back to normal without my dad in it, we haven’t had that yet. The pandemic, lockdown, it symbolises the time we lost our dad. And it will always be like that for us. It is a strange one, a really really strange one.”
Marking the sad anniversary on March 15 this year, the star posted a series of pictures of her father with the caption: “Daddy East! Today marks 1 whole year without you and it still just doesn’t feel real. I never imagined life without you in it and now you’re gone, I really know how truly rich it was because of you.
“What an incredible Father you were! I am so blessed to have had your love, your guidance and your experience to learn and grow from. My number 1 fan who taught me how to be an independent, confident woman and I will live my life making you proud.”
She said work projects, such as hosting Saturday Night Takeaway with Ant and Dec and her Hits Radio show, had “kept her going” through the difficult times.
East was speaking ahead of her partnership with Slingsby Gin, one of the sponsors of the BMW PGA Championships. Slingsby Gin has launched its celebrity Golf Academy to encourage more women to take up the sport.
She and broadcasters Helen Skelton, Natalie Pinkham and Bela Shah are learning to play the sport to encourage more women to try golf.
East said she took up the challenge despite thinking golf was “an old man sport.”
“You don’t see a lot of women playing golf and anyone in my family who plays golf is a man - an uncle or a cousin or something. I never thought my wildest dreams I would be on a golf course and own clubs. I am excited about it and I am enjoying it, I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much. You can switch off from everything else. I didn’t think it would be as Zen as it is.”
She said golf had meant she’d spent more time with her family members who play the sport. “We would never have had that quality time usually,” she said.
Slingsby Gin is a proud sponsor of the BMW PGA Championship, and has launched its celebrity Golf Academy to encourage more women to take to the course this summer and to champion the social side of the sport. Please click here for more information, and follow Fleur’s journey on @slingsbysocial