Jacques O'Neill Brands Love Island 'Worst Decision Of My Life' As He Breaks Silence On Exit

The former Islander said the show "broke" him and left him feeling "so mentally drained".
Jacques O'Neill
Jacques O'Neill

Jacques O’Neill has branded appearing on Love Island “the worst decision of my life” as he broke his silence on his exit.

The rugby star said the ITV2 reality show “broke” him and he “couldn’t cope” in the villa.

On Tuesday, it was announced Jacques had left the villa, with fans later seeing him tearfully explaining to partner Paige Thorne and their fellow Islanders that he was leaving the show to “get back to himself”.

In the lead up to his departure, Jacques had struggled to deal with the arrival of former contestant Adam Collard, who had expressed an interest in Paige.

In an interview with The Sun, Jacques also admitted he feared things “could go horribly wrong and I could get physical” with Adam.

“Doing Love Island was the worst decision of my life,” he said. “I was feeling so mentally drained, I just wanted to go home and get myself right.

“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 with Paige Thorne in the villa
Jacques with Paige Thorne in the villa

Jacques also opened up about his ADHD – which he said he told show bosses about before entering the villa – and the way it impacted him.

“Any little thing in the villa, in the end, started bothering me and I was just getting in so much of a rut,” he said.

“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.”

Prior to his exit, Jacques claimed that he told one of the show’s bosses he wanted to leave, but they “calmed him down a bit” and said they didn’t want to see him go.

He then had a welfare chat with producers in the Beach Hut.

“In the end I couldn’t deal with it, I wanted to get out of the place,” he added.

A Love Island spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on any individual’s medical records.

“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.

“Jacques made the decision to leave and we respected that decision. We would never put pressure on someone to stay in the villa.”

Help and support:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
  • CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.

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