Six Love Island stars claim ITV producers made them feel suicidal
Six Love Island stars have slammed the show, claiming it left them feeling "suicidal" after they were treated like "performing monkeys".
Malin Andersson, Josh Denzel, Paul Knops, Adam Collard, Callum MacLeod and Alex Miller have banded together to write a scathing letter accusing ITV producers of pulling strings behind the scenes.
The former reality show contestants claim they felt depressed and worried following their stints on the show, and they've decided to speak out following the suicides of Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.
The deaths have sparked a huge debate regarding how Islanders were treated during their few weeks in the Spanish villa and the aftercare they received when they left.
Changes were made this year to the way the contestants were looked after once they were dumped from the show. ITV released a statement following Mike's suicide this year.
"Our duty of care is a continuous and ongoing process for each Islander. This follows three key stages; pre-filming, filming, and aftercare," they insisted.
"We work with both an independent GP and a psychological consultant to provide an assessment of the physical and mental health of each of the shortlisted cast members and their suitability for inclusion on the programme."
"We have a medical team on location which includes a psychological consultant. They not only look after Islanders’ healthcare needs, but also monitor them to check that there are no emerging signs of any problems developing whilst they are in the villa.
"Additionally, several of our senior team, who monitor the cast around the clock, have been trained in mental health first aid." Six former Love Island stars have now spilled their true feelings on the series.
Alex Miller says he struggled to adjust to real life after his romance with Megan Barton-Hanson in the villa last year, telling The Ringer that he had suicidal thoughts after fame went cold and he had to return to his job in construction.
"I never thought I would get into that mind frame. But I would be driving to work, contemplating ending things." Love Island bosses contacted a psychologist on his behalf after he opened up about these thoughts.
He previously told the Standard:
"From a Love Island perspective probably about five months after I was out of the villa and it had all died down and I was in a bit of a dark place and partying too much, I did have a rant on here and one of the Love Island producers got in touch and put me back in touch with a psychiatrist."
Malin Andersson took part in the 2016 series alongside Sophie Gradon, but has faced tough circumstances since she left the show.
She accused bosses of orchestrating Love Island and claimed contestants are essentially "performing monkeys for them".
Adam Collard, who appeared on the show in 2017, claimed he was told he had to steal someone's girlfriend when he entered the villa.
"They interviewed me, they knew my personality, and then they put me in the villa and said, ‘You’ve got 48 hours to steal someone’s girl, otherwise you’re gone’."
Adam was told that his career "a world of good" if he could "cope with this mentally" with the bad press that would come his way.
Callum MacLeod, who was the first of 2019's Islanders to be voted out of the show, spoke out to confirm that Islanders do get aftercare when they leave.
Callum said they were shown a video about trolling, which was created by former Islanders and detailed life on the outside.
Josh Denzel, from last year's series, said receiving cruel comments online was difficult to deal with. Friends who ran his account stopped posting online due to the hateful comments they read.
Paul Knops, from 2018's round-up, opened up about his anxiety;
He said: "You go through anxiety. It can be pretty stressful. And then you go back to your own home, and there’s no one really to talk to about what you’ve been through. It all comes down to dealing with stuff on your own, and not everyone’s great at that."
Other Islanders have defended Love Island and the aftercare;
Olivia Buckland spoke to the Daily Mail about her time on season two: "I was in constant contact with the producers for a very long time. I got offered psychological tests when I got out.
"I got offered counselling when I got out. I got a list of agencies. Honestly, they really did look after me, and Alex. They always checked in with us, and I’m still good friends with them now. Love Island is there for you if you need them."
Megan Barton-Hanson told the The Sun:
"When I came out of the villa ITV sat down with me and went through everything that had happened to make sure I was prepared. I don’t blame ITV for any of this – they’ve been amazing," she emphasised.
"They are in regular contact and whenever anything difficult happens they make an extra special effort to check in on you to see if you’re OK. I’ve got the number of the show’s psychologist in my phone and I know I can call her whenever I need to.”
Alex George, who appeared in series four, told ITV News: "I can only talk about my own personal experience of course, and I’ve felt that when I’ve asked for help, I’ve received it."
Olivia Attwood (season three) wrote in her New! magazine column: "I think when you put yourself in a situation like this, it’s always a risk and you need to decide whether you’re strong enough to do it.
"I’ve been subject to a lot of negative comments from trolls in the past year, but the only point it really got to me was when I first came out," she added, referencing her thick skin developing.
Chris was elevated so much in the press, whereas I was a bit hated. It was a lot to deal with because I knew a side to Chris that no one else had seen. But even then ITV were so supportive to me."
She advised new Islanders to stay grounded;
"My advice to Islanders coming out is to brace yourself and keep as much normality as you possibly can because I always say to myself that this isn’t your real world. You’ve got to keep things in perspective.
"You were happy and existed before you went on TV, so you should be happy and exist after it all goes away."
Tom Powell, who took part in series two, told The Sun: "The show was crazy. But they took care of us. Anyone who says otherwise is talking bulls**t."
"This morning Love Island called me and said I could call the psychologist who works for the show. They gave her new number. He was one of the first person to speak to us.
"After you leave the show you speak to the psychologist and you were always checking in with her. We had a lot of care after the show. They took great care of us," he assured.
Chris Hughes, who appeared on series three, spoke out on Victoria Derbyshire: "Before the show you see a psychologist, and after the show before you head back to the show you see a psychologist.
"In the series that I was in you spoke to somebody before, and they make sure you're fine, and during your time in the show, you can also speak to somebody," he said, defending reality television.
"And then afterwards before we flew home to the UK, still when we're within a duty of care from ITV, we have an opportunity to speak to somebody.
"We speak to them regardless, that's set in stone. So they can prepare you for what to expect when you land back in England.
"One thing I will say is when I filmed another show with ITV, another reality show, mine and Olivia's, we were given support by a psychologist there for whenever we wanted it and me and Olivia spent hours separately and together speaking to her because they were worried about that side of things with us. It's obviously a massive help."
It sounds like mixed messages from former Love Island stars. On the one hand, if you're built with a thick skin or develop one, it seems the aftercare is sufficient.
On the other hand, certain contestants receive far more trolling than others, and work dries up for many, which can be majorly anxiety-inducing.
Fans of the show are currently worried about Amy Hart, who has just voluntarily left this year's series after her brutal break-up with her first love; Curtis Pritchard.
Feature image: ITV2