Love Island may be over for another year, but the journey is far from finished for this year’s Islanders, as they face an agonising wait to be reunited with their friends and family, even back on home soil.
While many fans at home could be forgiven for thinking that once they leave the villa that it’s straight back to normal, the reality is actually quite different, with this year’s finalists staying in a London hotel after arriving in the UK for several days before being able to reunite with their nearest and dearest.
It’s not total isolation for the Islanders however, with any remaining couples still enjoying a loved up time together as they continue to get cozy in the hotel rooms following their departure from the villa.
The move itself is mostly for convenience, as following the show’s conclusion there are plenty of press commitments to attend in the capital, however this does mean that any reunions with friends and family are pushed further down the to-do-list.
Opening up about her own experience of returning to the UK season 2 star Olivia Bowen, told HuffPost UK that her own reunion was actually short-lived and took place at Stanstead airport shortly after landing.
“It was sort of… quick,” she admits. “We saw them for an hour and then we were rushed off and did some more filming.”
The entire reunion was recorded and later broadcast on ITV2, however this didn’t pose too much comfort for Olivia, as she went on to reveal it was almost three days later before she was able to properly catch up with her loved ones.
“Until about three days after I got back, I didn’t see my family properly.You needed your parents there but we had filming to do, there was press. That was the first time we got put into this kind of ‘world’.”
Alongside helping to make the press and publicity work easier for the Islanders by being in the same place, staying together in a hotel also allowed the production team to provide continuing pastoral support to Islanders leaving the villa, as they access ongoing psychological support.
Following a number of concerns regarding the support offered to contestants post-villa, ITV updated it’s duty of care protocols in 2021, to make sure every Islander has access to a psychologist who can help them readjust to life outside the villa, and to the shoulder the ensuing demands of being thrust into the public eye.
While Olivia had been told she could contact ITV with any concerns at any time, the star opted to speak to her family instead, as she felt most comfortable talking to the people that knew her best.
“I never would have needed to speak to someone at ITV about that because they didn’t understand me as a person,” she explained.
“For my mental health, I went to my family and friends, they were the ones who were there for me.”
Yet being separated from family is in itself the problem sometimes, with Jacques O’Neill addressing this problem during an interview with The Sun after making the brave decision to leave the villa for the sake of his mental health.
He told the publication: ”Doing Love Island was the worst decision of my life.
“I was ready to break down. I was feeling so mentally drained, I just wanted to go home and get myself right.”
After being reunited with his mum and friends, Jacques later admitted he was feeling more like himself again.
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