LOVE Island star Marcel Somerville today told MPs the “worst period of my life” was after he left the villa and was thrust into the spotlight.
Marcel and Yewande Biala are currently giving evidence at a realty TV probe launched following the deaths of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon.
The committee is discussing issues such as representation of race and gender and the role of producers in the hit ITV2 show.
Yewande featured on Love Island this year while Somerville took part in a previous series.
Speaking to MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Marcel said he “jumped at” the chance to join Love Island after his career with Blazin’ Squad dwindled.
But he admitted exiting the island villa was more difficult to deal with than filming.
He said: “You are in the spotlight. No matter what you do, anything that happens there is going to be a story about it.
“Public break-ups – everything that happens. You are like, ‘this is the worst period of my life’.
“That was the worst period of doing Love Island.”
‘STORYLINE CREATED BY YOU’
The rapper also suggested more help was needed by contestants after the show had aired when the islanders are “fully dealing with the fame”.
Marcel also claimed he had little contact with producers afterwards and was “left to his own devices”.
He added: “They definitely changed it now with what happened to Mike and Sophie.”
Yewande told MPs that the drama seen on the show doesn’t actually happen as often as it is presented.
She added: “I would say the storyline is created by you. I feel you have to create your own storyline. Every week is different.
“I thought is was going to be really intense.
“Most of the time you are just hanging out. All you do is sit down and gossip really.”
The pair also spoke about diversity on the show with different body types being portrayed – with Marcel admitting it would “add something”.
Yewande said she didn’t feel pressure to look good but wanted to feel positive about herself, adding: “If you knew you were going to be in a bikini for eight weeks, you would want to look your best.”
LOVE ISLAND DEATHS
Love Island has come under increased scrutiny over the aftercare it offers following the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.
Ex-semi-pro footballer Mike was discovered dead in a park in Edmonton, North London, on March 16 with suicide notes next to his body after a cocaine and booze binge.
His death came after 32-year-old Sophie was discovered dead in June last year by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, 25, who took his own life 20 days later.
She had also taken a lethal combination of cocaine and alcohol, with a coroner at her inquest citing US research suggesting the mix made someone 16 times more likely to kill themselves.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Today’s probe will see MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee discuss the role of producers “in influencing the behaviour of participants.
It will also explore “the mental health support provided to participants and whether recent reforms have gone far enough”.
The inquiry is also due to look at The Jeremy Kyle Show, which was axed in May following the death of guest Steve Dymond.
Steve, 63, died in May this year – around a week after reportedly failing a love-cheat lie detector test on the daytime show.
The committee has been investigating the use of lie detector and DNA tests on the former show.
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Former guests Dwayne Davison and Robert Gregory will chat to MPs in the future about appearing on the show.
MPs said both “have said publicly that the aftercare given to them was not robust and has had a serious negative impact on their lives”.
Kyle, who is piloting a new show for ITV, has been asked to appear before MPs but has so far refused to do so.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on (free) 116123