Love Island’s Zara Holland reflected on Sophie Gradon’s death in 2018 (Picture: ITV)
Former Love Island star Zara Holland has revealed that she struggles to watch the programme following the death of Sophie Gradon.
Zara, 25, said that she can no longer sit through the series due to the painful memories associated with the reality series.
Sophie died by suicide in 2018 after making appearances on the second series of Love Island.
‘Nothing against the show, but I was extremely close with Sophie Gradon. She was a big part of my time in the villa,’ Zara told The Mirror.
‘I just wouldn’t watch it, even if I had loads of spare time on my hands.’
Zara said that her mental health was negatively impacted following her time in the villa. After being prescribed antidepressants and having therapy, she now says she is the happiest she has ever been – thanks in part to her reduction in social media use.
Sophie and Zoe became friends inside the villa (Picture: ITV)
‘I actually never came off totally,’ she said. ‘I stopped searching my name, because I used to search my name 30 times a day. I feel like everyone needs to remember that social media isn’t real life.’
Concerns have been raised in recent years over the mental wellbeing of the islanders, who are frequently subject to trolling and criticism after leaving the programme.
Sophie and Mike Thalassitis, from season three, both took their lives after making appearances on the programme. Then, in February 2020, host Caroline Flack died by suicide aged 40.
There were calls for increased support for the cast, and earlier this year ITV confirmed that they would be offering ‘comprehensive psychological support, training for all Islanders on the impacts of social media and handling potential negativity, training for all Islanders on financial management, detailed conversations with Islanders regarding the impact of participation on the show, a proactive aftercare package which extends support to all islanders following their participation on the show, and guidance and advice on taking on management after the show’.
It comes after the mums of the late Love Island stars Sophie and Mike urged the 2021 contestants to pull out earlier this year.
Love Island continues tonight at 9pm on ITV2.