‘Love Island was the worst decision of my life’: Jacques O’Neill claims bosses tried to make him stay as he sobbed to leave over fears he’d lose control after Adam Collard’s arrival
Jacques O’Neill has told how he left the Love Island villa over fears he’d lose control but claims bosses tried to make him stay.
The reality personality, 23, decided to remove himself following the arrival of Adam Collard, 26, as he declared: ‘Love Island was the worst decision of my life.’
Jacques was rattled by the arrival of former contestant Adam, who set his sights on the rugby player’s partner Paige Thorne, 24, before telling his fellow Islanders that the sportsman was ‘immature’.
Struggles: Jacques O’Neill, 23, removed himself from Love Island amid fears he’d lose control of his actions after Adam Collard’s arrival
Adam, who was known for his womanising ways, made a shock comeback to the ITV2 show this week after originally appearing in series four in 2018.
Gemma Owen’s ex, Jacques, said he’d reached breaking point after Adam’s arrival, telling The Sun: ‘I thought if I don’t get myself out things could go horribly wrong and I could get physical.’
Jacques said he removed his microphone and walked out the front doors of the villa before producers intercepted, prompting him to demand to be left alone.
While viewers learned the television personality had left the villa on Tuesday, he had in fact departed on Sunday.
He claims he’d been gone a day before bosses coaxed him back when he had a ‘welfare chat’ about his situation.
Rocky road: Jacques said taking part in the show was ‘the worst decision of my life’, admitting he’d reached breaking point on the show
He insisted he ‘couldn’t deal with it’ any longer and was in tears, saying he wanted to return to the UK.
He added: ‘It broke me and I was already broken. I was crying my eyes out. I couldn’t cope. I was literally feeling awful. It was the worst I’d ever felt in my life.’
Jacques family revealed during his time in the villa that he had been diagnosed with ADHD at the age of nine and sometimes struggled to deal with emotional situations.
Mixing things up: Adam, 26, originally appearied in series four in 2018 and rattled Jacques, 23, after setting his sights on the rugby player’s partner Paige Thorne, 24, after his entry
He stopped taking his Ritalin medication seven years ago and did not expect the condition to cause problems during his time on the show, despite bosses’ concerns.
Jacques has since said: ‘Any little thing in the villa, in the end, started bothering me and I was just getting in so much of a rut.
‘I know the way I spoke to Paige was wrong. I tried to apologise and she kept asking why I did it. ADHD isn’t just about not being able to concentrate. It’s also about feeling anxious quite a lot, being on edge a lot.’
Unimpressed: Jacques said he’d reached breaking point after Adam’s arrival, telling The Sun : ‘I thought if I don’t get myself out things could go horribly wrong and I could get physical’ (Adam pictured on date with Paige after Jacques’ departure)
Jacques was kept in a separate apartment after leaving the villa during which time he searched his name online, leaving him horrified to see ‘everyone hating me’.
However, Jacques was pleased find some normality as he trained with his old rugby team Castleford Tigers before speaking to the club’s welfare officer.
He added that he found solace in the messages he’d received from other people who have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Emotional: The rugby player quit following his rocky romance with Paige as he told the others he ‘couldn’t be himself’ and left for the sake of his own mental health
A spokesperson for Love Island told MailOnline: ‘We cannot comment on any individual’s medical records owing to confidentiality and our own duty of care towards the Islanders, however we have rigorous and extensive checks in place to assess Islanders’ physical and mental health in advance of being cleared to enter the villa. This is something we take extremely seriously.
‘As we said at the time, Jacques made the decision to leave and we respected that decision. Islanders are welcome to leave should they choose to do so and we would never put pressure on someone to stay in the villa.’
Jacques said he watched the Casa Amor episodes to ‘torture’ himself’, admitting he was ‘disgusted in myself’ after watching his actions.
He said: ‘I will wait for Paige on the outside, but I’m not watching the show again, I can’t do it.’
It comes after Love Island bosses addressed Jacques’ emotional exit from the show on Friday, after fans suggested he was ‘encouraged’ to leave.
Speaking to Deadline, producer Mike Spencer said: ‘We’ve never had a parent who told us they wanted to pull their child out of the show. The contestants are all adults so it’s down to them’
Speaking to Deadline, producer Mike Spencer said: ‘Jacques is amazing. We love Jacques. When you date, your emotions are naturally up and down. Finding love is not a simple thing, that’s why the show is so relatable.
‘Jacques was on his own journey and he had a strong connection with Paige but sometimes you have to think about yourself and that’s what Jacques did. We respected his decision to head home but I think he’s excited to be on Aftersun on Sunday to discuss his journey.
‘We’ve never had a parent who told us they wanted to pull their child out of the show. The contestants are all adults so it’s down to them more than anyone else.’
Mike explained that they speak to the contestants families everyday and make sure that they are regularly updated.
Following their own departures from the show, Charlie Radnedge, 28, and Antigoni Buxton, 26, have defended ITV following Jacques’ decision to leave.
Support: Following their own departures from the show, Charlie Radnedge, 28, and Antigoni Buxton, 26, have defended ITV following Jacques’ decision to leave
Charlie explained to The Mirror: ‘You get a load of therapy sessions afterwards and they are very supportive.
‘Obviously given previous years, where there have been well documented cases of bad things happening… from my perspective I’m completely fine and sound.’
Singer Antigoni added: ‘I spoke to Jacques, he was in really good spirits. He’d just had enough. He’d been there for long enough and he was ready to come back to reality.’
Representatives for Love Island said their duty of care protocol is widely available.
It came as Love Island viewers shared their theories about Jacques’ exit with some suggesting there was something not quite right about Jacques’ departure.
Reaction: However fans suggested there wasn’t something quite right about Jacques’ departure and theorised that he may have been encouraged to leave due to his declining metal health or because of an unaired fall out
They went on to theorise that he may have been encouraged to leave due to his declining metal health or because of an unaired fall out.
One person speculated: ‘I reckon the producers of Love Island told Jacques that his MH [mental health] was declining & he should consider going home; with suicide being in mind re previous contestants; they have to be more careful.
‘I really felt for him & I truly hope he’s OK. It’s never nice seeing someone like that.’
Another agreed, and said: ‘The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that the LI producers and/or aftercare team spoke to Jacques & helped him come to the decision he made.
A different person said: ‘There’s obviously much more to Jacques leaving. I don’t believe it’s fully to do with him not able to be himself. Bit suspish.’
Love Island duty of care protocols in full – ahead of 2021 series
Pre-filming and filming
- Registered mental health professional engaged throughout the whole series – from pre-filming to aftercare.
- Thorough pre-filming psychological and medical assessments including assessments by an independent doctor, psychological consultant and reports from each Islander’s own GP to check medical history.
- Potential Islanders are required to fully disclose any medical history that would be relevant to their inclusion in the villa and the production’s ability to provide a suitable environment for them.
- Managing cast expectations: detailed explanations both verbally and in writing of the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series are given to potential cast members throughout the casting process and reinforced within the contract so it is clear.
- Cast are told they should consider all the potential implications of taking part in the show and work through this decision-making process in consultation with their family and those closest to them, to ensure they feel it is right for them.
- Senior Team on the ground have received training in Mental Health First Aid.
- A welfare team solely dedicated to the Islanders both during the show and after.
- Bespoke training on dealing with social media and advice on finance and adjusting to life back home.
- A minimum of eight therapy sessions will be offered to each Islander when they return home.
- Proactive contact with Islanders for a period of 14 months after the series in which they have appeared has ended, with additional help provided where applicable.
- We encourage Islanders to secure management to represent them after the show and manage them should they choose to take part in other TV shows, advertising campaigns or other public appearance opportunities.
When contacted by MailOnline, a Love Island spokesperson said: ‘Jacques explained his reasons for leaving, which as we said in our statement & was seen on air was his decision.’
While the show has been criticised by viewers, it is fair to say that they have a cohesive duty of care structure in place for their contestants following the deaths of former contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon.
Producers offer extensive care before, during and after the reality show, including increased therapy, social media training and even financial management.
Love Island work with GPs and psychological consultants to ensure hopeful contestants’ mental health are strong enough to take part.
Duty of care: Producers offer extensive care before, during and after the reality show, including increased therapy, social media training and even financial management
Following the death of Sophie Gradon, who hanged herself at her family home last year, and Mike Thalassitis, 26, who also committed suicide, Love Island contacted experienced physician and Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Litchfield.
He independently reviewed the medical procedure the ITV show had in place to offer regular therapy to all contestants and not just the ones who reached out.
Now Islanders are also be given social media training and financial management to help adjust to fame.
Lara Waycot, a BACP registered therapist told MailOnline: ‘Seeing a contestant from a popular show like Love Island talking about their mental health and choosing to leave the show for their benefit is admirable.
Opening up about one’s mental health on national TV is a great step forward to normalising these struggles.
But while as a nation we’ve been more open about mental health, only 24% would seek therapy support if experiencing mental health issues according to BACP’s Public Perceptions Survey.
‘There are still a lot of misconceptions around therapy, and BACP’s ‘Therapy talks’ campaign launched today aims to demystify these so people can take active steps to improve their mental health when needed.’
LOVE ISLAND 2022: MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Name: Paige Thorne
Who is their type on paper? ‘In Swansea there is just no-one I can find.
‘I haven’t got to swipe. So, hopefully they can just come to me now!
‘I came out of a relationship and I was just so done with guys. Then I was like, ‘Ok, I’m bored now’
Name: Indiyah Polack
Occupation: Hotel waitress
Who is their type on paper? ‘It’s quite hard to date without being influenced by social media and stuff like that.
‘Love Island is a great place to get to know someone one-on-one.
‘I don’t think I have ever been out with two guys who are quite the same.’
Name: Tasha Ghouri
Occupation: Model and dancer
Who is their type on paper? ‘My dating life has been a shambles.
‘This is an opportunity for me to find ‘the one’ and have a great summer at the same time.
‘I’m definitely ready for a relationship. I’m 23 now so I’m ready to get to know someone and travel with them.’
Name: Gemma Owen
Occupation: International Dressage Rider and Business Owner
Who is their type on paper? ‘I am open to finding love, I’m wanting to have a really fun summer.
‘I would say I’m fun, flirty and fiery. I think I’m good at giving advice, I’m a good person to talk to, I’m very honest.
‘If I want the same guy, I’d do it but in a nice respectful way.
Andrew Le Page
Name: Andrew Le Page
Occupation: Real Estate Agent
Who is their type on paper? ‘When I’m with someone I’m very loyal.
‘I’m a good boyfriend as when I’m with someone I’m all for them.
‘I’m actually single for once, so I thought why not? This is the best time to give it a go.’
Name: Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu
Who is their type on paper? ‘I’m quite picky and I’m not just looking for looks, I’m looking for brains!
‘I’m looking for someone with intelligence, someone who can have good chats. Nothing like cockiness!’
Name: Deji Adeniyi
Occupation: Accounts Manager
Why Love Island and why now? ‘The reason why is that my sex life is amazing but my love life is awful. I am the master of failed talking stages. My love life isn’t going the right way so one night I decided to apply for Love Island and now I’m here!’
Josh Samuel Le Grove
Name: Josh Samuel Le Grove
Why Love Island and why now? ‘I’ve always been single. If you’re going to find someone, it’ll be in a place where everyone is single and looking for the same thing.’
Name: Adam Collard
Occupation: Personal trainer
Why Love Island and why now? ‘I’m going to ruffle a few feathers when I go in.’
Name: Dami Hope
Occupation: Senior Microbiologist
Who is their type on paper? ‘I will be talking to different girls, it might not go well with some.
‘When I’m actually in a relationship, I think it’s a star sign thing.
‘I’m an Aries but I’m very passionate – I always used to put that person first. I’m really good at being in a team’.
Name: Davide Sanclimenti
Location: Rome (lives in Manchester)
Occupation: Business owner
Who is their type on paper? ‘A lot of English girls actually love me.
‘They love to be around me and I love to be around them. I want to find my soulmate.
‘Find my person so I can actually build something in the future, grow with them, be a family. ‘
Name: Luca Bish
Who is their type on paper? ‘I prefer to meet girls out and about. I think when you go looking for it, it’s not as easy though, it’s like you’re too desperate for it.
‘If I think you’re the one or I like you, I’ll take you out on a date but other than that, if we talk and I don’t like where it’s going – then I won’t be throwing out dates.’
Name: Jacques O’Neill
Occupation: Rugby League Player
Who is their type on paper? ‘I think it needs to be the right person, at the right time.
‘I was saying to my mum the other day that I want a girl. And I’m now ready to settle down.’
Name: Danica Taylor
Who is their type on paper? ‘I am the type of girlfriend that I want to do so much with you – deep conversations, silly activities.
‘If you say let’s go canoeing all day even though I am quite a glam girl, I am down for it.’
Name: Summer Botwe
Occupation: Events decor business co-owner
What are you looking forward to in the Villa? I think that I’m just genuinely good vibes – very goofy, very silly. Everyone will be fun around me. I don’t really take things too seriously. I feel like I might end up bringing some drama because I do want to go full force with Dami…
Name: Coco Lodge
Occupation: Graphic designer/ ring girl/ shot girl
How would your friends/ family describe you? They’d probably describe me as a predator. I’m super flirty! I give off big energy and boys gravitate towards me and I’m always flirty.
Name: Billy Brown
Occupation: Roofing company director
Why Love Island and why now? ‘I’ve had two girlfriends before, I was obviously going to try and find the lucky third one!’
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