It’s no secret that Love Island doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to long-lasting relationships, but what it does have a good reputation for is consistently serving up brilliant reality TV characters.
In the six series that have aired so far, more than 180 contestants have crossed the the threshold of the villa, creating hours of memorable moments as they’ve grafted their way into the hearts of each other – and indeed, the nation.
But who is the ultimate Islander? It’s time to find out...
20. Alex Bowen (series 2)
Alex sent the girls into a spin when he made a late entrance back in series two, immediately catching the eye of both Zara Holland and Olivia Buckland.
While he slept with Zara in the Hideaway within hours of arriving, (setting an as-yet-unbeaten record for the Islander who had sex the quickest after entering the villa), we later watched true romance blossom between him and Olivia.
The pair have since become Love Island’s most enduring couple, remaining together solidly since leaving the villa in 2016, and tying the knot two years later.
19. Nathan Massey (series 2)
Former carpenter Nathan really had the gift of the gab, and it wasn’t long before he’d charmed Cara De La Hoyde, who he coupled up with on their very first day in the villa.
Nathan was one of those rare Islanders that got on with almost everybody that came through the doors, while also having a handle on his relationship with Cara (most of the time) and serving up the laughs, so it was no surprise that he went on to win the series.
While they’ve had their up and downs since leaving the villa, Nathan and Cara are now married and also have a son together.
18. Chris Taylor (series 5)
Chris only had a short stint on Love Island, but in our opinion it was all too brief – as anyone who follows his 10/10 content on Instagram will attest.
True, he wasn’t exactly the luckiest in love, getting into friendship couples with Maura Higgins and Francesca Allen before a rocky romance with Harley Brash, but Chris was responsible for two of the most iconic things from the 2019 series – his hair-towel-kimono combo, and The Salmon pool dive, both of which we’ll admit to having tried out (albeit with limited success).
He also had a genuinely touching moment with the other lads when he became emotional at the fact they’d accepted him into their group, admitting he’d “never felt like he fits in”. Sob.
17. Olivia Buckland (series 2)
Olivia was one of the core characters in series two, winning fans over with her relatable personality and close friendships with the other female Islanders.
But she was also known for one of the biggest scandals to ever rock the show, secretly sleeping with Rykard Jenkins (quite an achievement given they were in the communal bedroom) while he was pursing a romance with Rachel Fenton.
The indiscretion all came out in the wash once Rachel was voted off the show, and she later staged a return to confront him.
Olivia bounced back from it all by cracking on with now-husband Alex, creating one of the show’s most popular couples ever.
16. Malin Andersson (series 2)
Even if you didn’t watch series two, you’ve still probably heard about Malin’s jaw-dropping return to the show after she’d been voted off.
She’d been in a relationship with Terry Walsh (who we always thought she was too good for), but after being voted off the Island, she watched from home as he cracked on with new girl Emma-Jane just hours after her departure.
This led to her making a surprise reappearance at a bar Terry was drinking at with Scott, for an almighty showdown that we vividly remember to this day.
Since her series, Malin has publicly come through some difficult times, but has established herself as a figure in the body-positive movement and often speaks about the importance of mental health awareness.
15. Montana Brown (series 3)
Lots of Islanders talk about “keeping it real” in the villa, but no one did that more than Montana, who refused to compromise on what she was looking for just for the sake of coupling up.
Even when she did find her man in the form of hunky Alex Beattie, she kept her head on her shoulders and refused to say “I love you” back to him.
As well as being a shoulder to cry on for series three’s strong girl squad, Montana was also the best lurker the villa has ever seen, and could always be seen spying on the unfolding drama (usually while munching a bowl or cereal or a biscuit, which sparked a thousand memes).
This provided her with plenty of material for her often hilarious commentary on her fellow Islanders, which led to her Beach Hut entries becoming some of our favourites ever.
14. Laura Anderson (series 4)
While Laura wasn’t always popular among viewers, we thought she was given a bit of a rough ride on social media during her time in the villa.
As a result, we felt her pain when she ended in tears after Megan Barton Hanson pinched Wes Nelson from her, and again when Jack Fowler chose to couple up with Laura Crane over her.
But Laura also proved that she was not one to be messed with, holding her own against Megan and Georgia Steel when they moved in on her men.
Her struggles in the villa were worth it, though, as it was delicious to see her ending the series with arguably the hottest boy, Paul Knopps – even if things didn’t last on the outside.
13. Jess Hayes (series 1)
Talking of girls who had a tough time with boys on the show, it certainly was not plain sailing for Jess.
After a case of he-said-she-said over what happened on a date with one of the Alberti twins in the first week of the series, Jess seemed to (unfairly) lose the trust of many of her fellow Islanders and never really got it back.
But Jess was a fighter and rebounded from whatever the villa – and her fellow contestants, particularly Josh Ritchie – threw at her, eventually coupling up with hunky cricketer Max Morley.
Jess had the last laugh too, when she and Max beat favourites Hannah Elizabeth and Jon Clark in the final to snatch the £50k prize.
12. Kady McDermott (series 2)
Kady is so synonymous with the second series of Love Island that it’s hard to believe she wasn’t actually on the starting line-up, entering the villa as the first bombshell.
And it’s fair to say Kady took the title of “bombshell” and quite literally ran with it, causing some of the most explosive scenes in the villa ever.
From the constant up and downs in her relationship with Scott Thomas, to her infamously screaming “c**t” at Tina Stinnes over the garden wall when she took Scott out on a date, there was never a dull moment when Kady was around.
11. Camilla Thurlow (series 3)
When Camilla first entered the villa, we’ll admit we had doubts about how she’d get on. As a shy, bomb disposal expert who openly said she was inexperienced when it came to boys, she wasn’t exactly the typical Love Island contestant.
And while she was never the loudest person in the room, she defied expectations and broke the mould as she navigated a tricky romance with Johnny Mitchell – as well as earning an army of fans when she schooled him on feminism.
She later walked away from the show with something arguably even better than the £50K prize money – actual Calvin Klein underwear model, Jamie Jewitt. And nearly three years on and the pair are still together.
10. Kem Cetinay (series 3)
Every series of Love Island needs an excitable little brother-type character, and Kem fitted this role perfectly back in 2017.
Although the loveable Essex barber ended up as one half of the winning couple, alongside Amber Davies, it was his bromance with Chris Hughes that we all really took from the series, thanks in part to their frequent displays of musical (in)ability and a particular scene involving some pubic topiary.
Of course, Kem was also responsible for the first Casa Amor upset, cracking on with Chyna Ellis while Amber was back in the main villa – and without his antics, who knows if the twist we all now love so much would have ever returned in subsequent series?
9. Chris Hughes (series 3)
Unlike Kem, Chris didn’t exactly get off to the best of starts in the villa, as quite frankly his treatment of Chloe Crowhurst (who he coupled up with first) sucked.
However, Chris went on to redeem himself as he pursued Olivia Attwood, trying to knock down the walls she’d built around her. And he succeeded, as they formed one of the most memorable – and indeed tempestuous – couples the show has ever seen.
We also loved Chris for his bromance with Kem, as well as his obsession with polar bears, his emotional connection to fake baby, Cash Hughes, and his offers to spit bars at often the most inappropriate of moments.
8. Shaughna Phillips (series 6)
Shaughna had already became a favourite in the opening weeks of the first ever winter series, but earned legendary status when she uttered two words: “Congrats, hun.”
That was how she responded when Callum Jones brutally brought Molly Smith back to the villa after Casa Amor, which topped off a whole list of classic other utterings.
Her sharp wit and emotional vulnerability made her stand out above her fellow Islanders, who failed to make as much of a mark as previous years. In fact, we’ll go out on a limb to say that she probably rescued series six, and for that, we are truly thankful.
7. Jack Fincham (series 4)
Of all the lads to ever enter the villa, Jack is the one you’d most likely meet down your local and be happy to have a pint with.
With his normal physique and job as a pen salesman, he represented the everyman, and showed that you don’t have to be an influencer or have the body of a Greek god to find love on the Island.
His relationship with Dani Dyer was charming to watch, and he showed her a level of respect rarely seen on the show. And the fact he won also proved that sometimes, nice guys do finish first.
6. Amber Gill (series 5)
Amber’s Love Island journey wasn’t exactly the smoothest, and while her heart broke after Michael Griffiths dumped her for Joanna Chimonides after Casa Amor, it turned out to be the making of her.
Aided by BFF Anna Vakili, straight-talking Amber pulled no punches with Michael, and showed there was no keeping a strong woman down, as she embarked on a relationship with rugby hunk Greg O’Shea.
Until that point, it had always been long-standing couples who had triumphed in the final, but such was the public’s love for Amber that she bucked the trend and won the whole series with someone she’d only been with for two weeks.
Following the pair’s subsequent break-up, Amber recently declared herself the “first ever solo winner of Love Island” in a cheeky Instagram Story... but quite honestly, was she lying?
5. Megan Barton Hanson (series 4)
We don’t think there has ever been a bombshell like Megan – either before, or since – as her entrance caused an absolute frenzy among the male Islanders.
After pretty much all of them made a play for her, she eventually settled for Eyal Booker, but no sooner had they had taken their relationship to the next level in the Hideaway, than she she got the “ick” and set her sights on Wes Nelson, who until that point was happily coupled up with Laura Anderson.
Proving she wasn’t afraid to (firmly) tread on toes, she memorably made a move on Wes on the balcony and told him to dump Laura.
However, she then coupled with Alex Miller after Casa Amor, leaving a trail of devastation in her wake.
A true Love Island great.
4. Dani Dyer (series 4)
Being the offspring of Danny Dyer was always going to help Dani’s popularity, but during her stay on the Island, she became a star in her own right thanks to her down-to-earth nature, sense of humour and her weird eyelash blow-drying.
Unlike many other Love Island couplings, it was also clear to see Dani had fallen for Jack in a big way, and we felt like we were witnessing true love blossom between them. That’s probably why we felt her pain when she believed Jack had gotten with his ex-girlfriend in Casa Amor thanks to a deceiving video message producers had sent her.
Having also been a loyal friend to all of the female Islanders, we couldn’t have been less surprised (in a good way) when she and Jack were crowned winners of the fourth series.
3. Ovie Soko (series 5)
We’ve previously listed 16 reasons why Ovie was the Islander we didn’t deserve, but if you’re in need of a refresher, allow us to remind you.
Not only was he a style icon with a hat collection only out-sized by Boy George, he was a best mate to Amber Gill, an avoider of drama (albeit a brilliant spectator), a true gentleman and all-round sex bomb, all of which earned him his place as a god-tier Islander.
Now, if only more of the Love Island lads – or indeed all lads – could be more like Ovie.
2. Maura Higgins (series 5)
From the minute she strutted into the villa and proclaimed that Tommy Fury had given her “fanny flutters”, we knew Maura was going to be trouble – and we were not wrong.
The sex-positive contestant was unapologetic, feisty and hilarious – and we couldn’t get enough of her.
Maura had many highlights it’s almost impossible to count, but her admission that her vagina was “trobbin’” after kissing Curtis Pritchard, her seductive consumption of an ice lolly, and her various facial expressions during the recouplings were notable stand outs.
And that’s without even mentioning the time she absolutely tore Tom a new one one after she overheard him bragging to the other boys about how he’d discover whether she was “all mouth” in the Hideaway.
What a woman.
1. Olivia Attwood (series 3)
If ever there was someone who delivered on every single count as an Islander, it was Olivia.
Feisty but vulnerable? Check. Instantly quotable? Check. Unafraid to tell it like it is? Check. In a couple we actually rooted for? Check. A rock to all of the girls? Check. Constant deliverer of drama? Check.
We really could go on, as it was like Olivia was created in the mind of a reality TV producer (which could also explain why she is now a regular on TOWIE, despite not even living in Essex).
If we could go back in time, we’d have her win the third series of Love Island all by herself – if not just for much-memed pool dive or declaring herself as “the fuckboy whisperer” – but for now, we’ll just have to make do with hailing her as our ultimate Queen of Love Island.
Love Island airs from Sunday to Friday at 9pm on ITV2.