Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill hugs his mother Janet as he gives a welfare update

‘I’m in such a better place mentally’: Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill hugs his mother Janet as he gives a welfare update… after he was ‘pressured to appear on spin-off’ show Aftersun

  • Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill was in good spirits as he took his mother Janet out for dinner on Saturday, telling fans on social media his mental and emotional health has improved since leaving the show
  • The former rugby player, 23, was distraught when Adam Collard was drafted in to the current series by ITV producers, and Adam quickly began flirting with Jacques’ girlfriend Paige Thorne
  • Jacques removed himself from the villa as he struggled to cope, later admitting taking part in Love Island was ‘the worst decision of my life’
  • As it emerged on Saturday that Jacques felt he had little choice but to agree to be interviewed by Love Island host Laura Whitmore on Aftersun, Jacques took to social media to offer an update for fans, thanking them for their support 

Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill was in good spirits as he took his mother Janet out for dinner on Saturday after it emerged he was ‘pressured to appear on spin-off’ Aftersun following his surprise exit from the villa.

The former rugby player, 23, was left distraught when former contestant Adam Collard, who has a reputation as a womaniser, was drafted in to the current series by ITV producers earlier this month, when Adam quickly began flirting with Jacques’ girlfriend Paige Thorne.

As it emerged on Saturday that Jacques felt he had little choice but to agree to be interviewed by Love Island host Laura Whitmore on Aftersun, Jacques took to social media to offer an update for fans, thanking them for their support.

Back to normality: Love Island's Jacques O'Neill was in good spirits as he took his mother Janet out for dinner on Saturday after it emerged he was ‘pressured to appear on spin-off’ Aftersun

Back to normality: Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill was in good spirits as he took his mother Janet out for dinner on Saturday after it emerged he was ‘pressured to appear on spin-off’ Aftersun

Grateful: Jacques took to social media to offer an update for fans, thanking them for their support

Grateful: Jacques took to social media to offer an update for fans, thanking them for their support

Sharing a picture of himself with his arm around his mother on his Instagram page, he wrote: ‘Back to the standard Saturday taking R jan (sic) out for tea.’

He dressed in casual attire as he stood alongside his parent, with the sportsman posting another picture after their meal outside the restaurant.

Jacques also took to Twitter to let fans know how he is now doing after previously admitting taking part in Love Island was ‘the worst decision of my life’.

Controversy: ITV was embroiled in a war of words last night amid claims that Jacques felt under duress to appear on its spin-off programme to talk about his ordeal on the show

Controversy: ITV was embroiled in a war of words last night amid claims that Jacques felt under duress to appear on its spin-off programme to talk about his ordeal on the show

He wrote: ‘I just want you all to know that I’m in such a better place mentally.

‘A huge reason for that is because of all the love and support I have received!

‘I’d be in a much darker place if it wasn’t for all of your kinds words, so thank you again I appreciate it so much.’  

Difficulties: Jacques previously said he had 'no more tears left to cry' following his dramatic exit from Love Island after watching footage with his mother (pictured)

Difficulties: Jacques previously said he had ‘no more tears left to cry’ following his dramatic exit from Love Island after watching footage with his mother (pictured)

ITV was embroiled in a war of words last night amid claims that Jacques felt under duress to appear on its spin-off programme to talk about his ordeal on the show.

Sources claimed that the former contestant felt he had little choice but to agree to be interviewed by host Laura Whitmore on its Aftersun show because it was stipulated in his contract.

But friends believe his reluctance should have been clear to producers given his obvious distress at the circumstances in which he decided to leave the show.

Heightened emotions: Jacques O'Neil, 23, was visibly distressed about his relationship with Paige Thorne (right) before he left the Love Island villa

Heightened emotions: Jacques O’Neil, 23, was visibly distressed about his relationship with Paige Thorne (right) before he left the Love Island villa

One informed source confirmed to the Mail on Sunday that the rugby league player was unhappy about appearing on Aftersun after being left distraught when former contestant Adam Collard, who has a reputation as a womaniser, was drafted in to the current series by ITV producers. Adam quickly began flirting with Jacques’ girlfriend Paige Thorne.  

In a newspaper interview after leaving the show’s villa, Jacques described taking part in Love Island as ‘the worst decision’ of his life.

Rounding on ITV, which has been forced to fend off claims that it does too little to support the mental health of Love Island contestants, the source said: ‘Jacques kept saying he wasn’t mentally well enough. It was quite obvious that was the case, especially when you read what he said after he came out of the villa.’

But ITV last night flatly rejected claims that it pressured Jacques into appearing on Aftersun.

They insisted that it is ‘genuinely committed to making sure the Islanders have a positive experience on the show’ and that producers would ‘respect an Islander’s decision if they didn’t want to participate and we would never force someone to take part in the programme’.

ITV declined to comment on the contestants’ contractual obligations, but a spokesman said: ‘Aftersun is usually part of the itinerary for any Islander after they have left the villa.’

Mixing things up: Jacques was rattled by the arrival of former contestant Adam, who set his sights on the rugby player's partner Paige Thorne, 24

Mixing things up: Jacques was rattled by the arrival of former contestant Adam, who set his sights on the rugby player’s partner Paige Thorne, 24

Unimpressed: Jacques said he'd reached breaking point after Adam's arrival, telling The Sun : 'I thought if I don’t get myself out things could go horribly wrong and I could get physical' (Adam pictured on date with Paige after Jacques' departure)

Unimpressed: Jacques said he’d reached breaking point after Adam’s arrival, telling The Sun : ‘I thought if I don’t get myself out things could go horribly wrong and I could get physical’ (Adam pictured on date with Paige after Jacques’ departure)

Jacques previously said he had ‘no more tears left to cry’ following his dramatic exit from Love Island.

He admitted he became tearful when he watched his departure alongside his mum Janet.

He shared: ‘The first thing I did when I got home was watch the episode with my mum – that last episode. I said to my mum, “Listen I’ve got no more tears left”. I’d been so emotional.

‘I literally stuck it on and put a brave face on for my mum and looked at her and we were just like “offt”.’

Jacques also admitted to being overwhelmed by the situation in the Love Island villa.

Love Island duty of care protocols in full   

Pre-filming and filming

  • Registered mental health professional engaged throughout the whole series – from pre-filming to aftercare. 
  • Thorough pre-filming psychological and medical assessments including assessments by an independent doctor, psychological consultant and reports from each Islander’s own GP to check medical history. 
  • Potential Islanders are required to fully disclose any medical history that would be relevant to their inclusion in the villa and the production’s ability to provide a suitable environment for them.  
  • Managing cast expectations: detailed explanations both verbally and in writing of the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series are given to potential cast members throughout the casting process and reinforced within the contract so it is clear. 
  • Cast are told they should consider all the potential implications of taking part in the show and work through this decision-making process in consultation with their family and those closest to them, to ensure they feel it is right for them. 
  • Senior Team on the ground have received training in Mental Health First Aid. 
  • A welfare team solely dedicated to the Islanders both during the show and after.

Aftercare 

  • Bespoke training on dealing with social media and advice on finance and adjusting to life back home. 
  • A minimum of eight therapy sessions will be offered to each Islander when they return home. 
  • Proactive contact with Islanders for a period of 14 months after the series in which they have appeared has ended, with additional help provided where applicable. 
  • We encourage Islanders to secure management to represent them after the show and manage them should they choose to take part in other TV shows, advertising campaigns or other public appearance opportunities.

 

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During his appearance on Aftersun, he confessed: ‘It just got too much for me in there. I needed to see the boys and my mum.’

Jacques – who has been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) – previously admitted to hitting rock bottom during his time in the villa.

He shared: ‘I was ready to break down.

‘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 even feared the situation would become ‘physical’ with Adam.

He said: ‘At home you can remove yourself from situations, but in there you had to deal with every situation, and in that moment I took my microphone off, and walked straight through the front doors because I just wanted to get out of that place.

‘Producers tried coming to me, they were like, “Jacques, are you OK?” I was saying, “I don’t want to speak to you or anyone. I want to be left to myself.” It was too much.’

TV appearance: Sources say Jacques felt pressured into appearing on Aftersun with host Laura Whitmore after arriving back in the UK because it was in his contract

TV appearance: Sources say Jacques felt pressured into appearing on Aftersun with host Laura Whitmore after arriving back in the UK because it was in his contract

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