32. A Brief History of Love Island UK


Tell me more, a deep dive on Love Island UK.

Our Sources:

Why the obsession with Love Island UK over the US and even Australia

  1. Iain Sterling
  2. I think it  might be the accents
  3. The slang

Where it all began

Love Island is a British dating game show. It actually began as a celebrity dating series that aired for two series in 2005 and 2006. The show as we know it today began in 2015 featuring regular UK peeps instead of celebrities but over the years it started to get some low-level celebs like footballers and rugby players, influencers, and “glamour models”.

Similar to Bachelor Nation here in the US, after someone appears on Love Island UK, their followers skyrocket and they get brand deals out of the wazoo. 

 In 2018, Love Island became ITV2’s most-watched show in the network’s history

All 10 seasons of the show have been narrated by comedian Iain Sterling, it was originally hosted by Caroline Flack, was hosted for a few seasons by Laura Whitmore, and is now hosted by Maya Jama. 

For those who are unfamiliar… Love Island airs every night for about 8 weeks each summer (shorter in the early season and the 2020 season), so it’s a big commitment – but worth it.

Contestants, referred to as Islanders, live in isolation from the outside world in a villa in Mallorca (or South Africa in the winter), constantly under video surveillance. 

To survive in the villa the Islanders must be coupled up with another Islander – but even that can’t always keep them safe from a dumping. On the first day, the Islanders couple up, and over the duration of the series they are forced to “re-couple” where they can choose to remain in their current couple or swap partners. 

Any Islander who remains single after the re-coupling can be dumped from the island. Islanders can also be dumped via public vote or vote from fellow islanders.

While in the villa, each Islander has their own phone in which they can receive texts informing them of the latest challenges, dumplings, or recouplings. Islanders and couples play games and challenges designed to test their physical and mental ability, with the winners getting special prizes afterward. Some Islanders are also sent on dates outside the villa, or can win dates by winning challenges.

In the end, the winning couple is decided by public vote and they have the opportunity to win a combined 50k pounds.

Big changes

  • Outdoor gym (season 2)
  • New villa (season 3)
  • No showing sex (season 3)
  • 2 drink a night maximum (I think season 3)
  • Casa Amor (season 3)
  • No smoking (season 4)
  • No immediate dumping after Casa (season 4)
  • Winter season (6 and 9)
  • New host (6, 7, 8  – Laura Whitmore (Iain’s wife) and 9, 10 – Maya Jama)
  • Movie night (season 7 – in other seasons, they would get a postcard or a newspaper with info while Casa was happening)
  • Islanders didn’t choose who to couple up with, the UK public did – seasons 9 and 10
  • No more money split option – season 9 and 10

Couples that are Still Together

Season 1

None – but honestly, season 1 was like a whole different show)

Season 2

  • 1st place – Cara and Nathan (aka Nafe) – married, 2 kids
  • 2nd place – Olivia and Alex – married, 1 kid

Season 3

  • 2nd place – Camilla and Jamie (really reminded me of Leah) – married, 2 kids
  • Dom and Jess (but did not leave as a couple – Jess was eliminated and Dom stayed until after Casa) – married, 2 kids

Season 4

  • No season 4 couples have lasted

Season 5

  • 2nd place – Molly Mae and Tommy, (so young when they won) engaged – 1 kid (Bambie)

Season 6

  • First place – Paige and Finn just confirmed their breakup in June after 3 years together
  • Nas and Eva
  • Callum and Molly

Season 7

  • None, though it’s been rumored this summer that Millie and Liam (the winners) have been seeing each other again. 

Season 8

  • 3rd place – Indyah and Dami
  • 4th place – Tasha and Andrew
  • (1st place – Ekin Su and Davide JUST broke up)

Season 9 (ended March of this year)

  • 1st place – Kai and Sanam
  • 2nd place – Ron and Lana
  • 4th place – Shaq and Tanya
  • Farmer Will and Jessie

Season 10 – just ended a couple of weeks ago

  • The top 4 couples are still together as of August 8, plus Mitch and Ella B. 

Controversies and Tragedies

  • Season 1 – Lauren was THE girl that had been photographed with Zayn Malik and once her fellow islanders found out, they all shunned her. 
  • Season 2 – Islander Zara Holland was stripped of her Miss Great Britain title due to her behavior in the villa. (She was filmed going down on Alex aka, Olivia’s husband – in the hideaway)
  • Season 2 – Sophie Gradon and Katie Salmon become the first (and only) same-sex couple on the show
  • Season 3 – Mike and Jess and Dom – Mike and Jess were voted off the island, even though Jess and Dom were in a seemingly happy couple. (This was one of the votes where the bottom 3 couples voted by the public were put in front of their fellow islanders and the male islanders chose a gal to send home and the gals chose a boy to send home.) It was reported that Jess and Mike hooked up in one of the first few nights after the dumping and Dom had no idea because he was still in the villa. They ended up sending Mike back into the villa and then after the season ended, Mike gave interviews with exact and raunchy details of his and Jess’ night together which lead to a lot of backlash.  
  • Season 3 – Camilla revealed that she’d dated Prince Harry (Ironically, so had host, Caroline)
  • In December of 2019, Caroline Flack announced that she would be standing down as host for the sixth season, set to film January-March of 2020, following allegations of assault towards her boyfriend, Lewis Burton. 

Suicides linked to the show:

  • Sophie Gradon – season 2 -She was Miss Great Britain 2009, hanged herself on June 20, 2018, at the age of 32
  • Mike Thalassitis (aka Muggy Mike) – season 3 – footballer – hanged himself in a public park on March 16, 2019, he was 26
  • Caroline Flack – host, seasons 1-6 – hanged herself on February 15, 2020, she was 40. Love Island canceled two shows following her death and showed a tribute along with advertisements for the charity, Samaritans. 

Largely attributed to harassment and bullying from both the press and fans. It’s said the producers have made efforts to improve mental health screenings and post-show mental health support offering counseling to all contestants in hopes of preventing further suicides.

Interesting Stats/Theories

What season has the most couples still together?

  • Season 2 – 1st and 2nd place couples are both married with children
  • Season 6 – (which wrapped just before Covid) – had 3 couples still together (until a month ago), winners Paige and Finn, and 2 OG boys who couples up with casa girls and then didn’t even make it to the final.
  • Season 9 – 3 couples still together but I don’t really count it until we hit a year (this season wrapped in March)

What finish has the most couples still together?

  • Statistically, more second-place couples are still together
    • Season 2 – Oliva and Alex – married with 1 child
    • Season 3 – Camilla and Jamie – married with 2 kids
    • Season 5 – Tommy and Molly Mae – engaged with one child
    • Season 9 – Ron and Lana – still dating

Do couples who already have some fame stay together longer?

  • This is a personal theory of mine and I think it’s true. Some of the members of couples who are still together had a higher level of fame prior to coming on the show
    • Molly Mae and Tommy
    • Paige Turley

I think if they already have a decent following, they’re less affected by the DMs and sudden fame when they leave the villa and more likely to stay in their relationship/not cheat. An exception to this would be Adam Collard on season 8 (originally on season 4).

Has a couple with no OG islanders ever won?

  • Yes! Millie and Liam from season 6
  • Ekin Su and Davide from season 8 – though Davide was the day 1 bombshell and Ekin came in on day 3

Has a Casa girl or guy ever won?

  • Yes! Sanam from season 9 won with Kai 

Most difficult accents to understand?

  • Birmingham

What’s next for Love Island UK?

It’s rumored that in 2024, there will NOT be a winter season, which honestly is a relief. However… there is an All-Star show in the works that will feature past contestants from UK, AU, and US.

To listen to the full deep dive on Love Island UK, check out our episode of Tell Me More: A deep dive on… on Apple or Spotify. Don’t forget to subscribe so you know exactly when each episode is released!


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