Love Island: Here’s what ITV 2 reality TV show is doing after deaths of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon to protect future contestants
Love Island will offer ‘bespoke training’ to all future contestants following the deaths of two former stars.
Sophie Gradon, 32, who appeared on season two of the reality show in 2016, was found dead in June last year while 26-year-old Mike Thalassitis, who took part in Love Island a year later, died on Friday.
Following their deaths, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said reality TV shows have a duty to care for contestants after they become famous.
Love Island has said it under took a review six months ago to evaluate the after care it was providing.
The show said it will now offer support to all Love Island contestants rather than just those who ask for it.
The care will focus on helping contestants with social media and financial management after achieving overnight fame on Love Island, which has become a cultural phenomenon attracting millions of voters each season.
A statement from the show said: ‘This review has led us to extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us. And we will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management.
‘The key focus will be for us to no longer be reliant on the islanders asking us for support but for us to proactively check in with them on a regular basis.’
Following the death of Thalassitis, former Love Island contestants criticised the level of care they had received since leaving the show.
The majority who take part go from anonymity to intense public scrutiny overnight, often amassing millions of social media followers.
Megan Barton Hanson, who appeared on Love Island last year, said she found it difficult to cope after being ‘cast as a pantomime villain’ following her on-screen relationship with Wes Nelson.
Jonny Mitchell, who starred in the 2017 series alongside Thalassitis, told BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday that many people struggle to return to normal life after appearing on the dating programme.
Love Island defended the casting process, insisting all potential contestants are screened for physical and mental health issues before entering the villa.
And while on the show, contestants are monitored for any signs of problems developing, Love Island said.