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10/03/2020 10:53 GMT | Updated 10/03/2020 13:48 GMT

Laura Whitmore Says She Initially 'Ignored' Caroline Flack's Death As She Believed It Was Fake News

"There are so many things that would be said about Caroline that you wouldn’t take everything as truth," the Love Island presenter said.

Laura Whitmore has said she initially “ignored” news of Caroline Flack’s death because she didn’t believe it was true. 

The presenter, who replaced Caroline as the host of Love Island earlier this year, has opened up about the loss of her friend, who took her own life last month.

Speaking on Kate Thornton’s White Wine Question Time podcast, Laura said she had found about about Caroline’s death in “a way I wish I didn’t”.

“It was something on Twitter that someone had tweeted initially that I disregarded because there’s always so much stuff,” she explained.

“There are so many things that would be said about Caroline that you wouldn’t take everything as truth, so I kind of ignored it.”

David M. Benett via Getty Images
Laura Whitmore and Caroline Flack

Laura later received a phone call from a friend who was “being weird” and told her to come home immediately.

Becoming emotional, she continued: “Then I did that thing, which I wish I didn’t. I went on Twitter and you see different things and different people posting things.

“I can’t really remember what happened after that. We live in a world where we find out our news on social media and we don’t know what is right and what is wrong – there is fake news.

“It wasn’t the way that you think you would find out a friend had passed away, so I just got home as quick as I could and that’s when I came in to my friend and she said it was true.”

David M. Benett via Getty Images
Laura replaced Caroline as the host of this year's Love Island

Laura said her first thought had been for her boyfriend, Love Island narrator Iain Stirling, who had been enjoying a day off while working on the series in South Africa.

She added: “He was having a few drinks with people in the pub so I just wanted to ring him. 

“I just wanted him to get to a safe space, if that makes sense? Not to be exposed because everyone wants to see what your reaction is.”

David M. Benett via Getty Images
Laura with boyfriend, Love Island narrator Iain Stirling

Laura also said she often feels “guilty” whenever she laughs or is asked about how she is coping with Caroline’s death. 

She said: “I think it’s good to talk, part of me want to lock myself away. Sometimes I feel guilty for people asking me how I am, as I’m here. I don’t know how I am really, I’m kind of all over the place, it changes. 

“Sometimes I feel guilty about laughing when I watch TV, then I forget. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.”

The morning after Caroline’s death, Laura paid an emotional tribute to her “vivacious and loving” friend on her Radio 5 Live show.

Speaking about her decision to carry on presenting the series, Laura told Kate Thornton: “I just felt I had so much I wanted to say, maybe because how I found out and the fact that my immediate reaction was that, that’s not true. 

“I didn’t make a decision until the morning of, and I wrote how I felt on Saturday night. Again, I didn’t know what the right thing to do was. It had to be my whole truth.”

Laura’s full interview appears on the White Wine Question Time podcast, available to stream now.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • 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.)
  • 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 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.