Gladiators Jet star reflects on the downsides of fame on reality TV shows

Gladiators star Diane Youdale has reflected on the downsides of reality TV fame following the tragic deaths of former Love Island stars.

Over the years, the hugely popular ITV2 dating show has come under fire for mental health guidance for the contestants who join the show each year looking to find love.

Since the show first launched back in 2015, former contestants Sophie Gardon and Mike Thalassitis have taken their own lives, followed most recently by former TV host Caroline Flack.

READ MORE: Love Island Movie Night promises more Luca drama as fans fume at 'cruel' cliffhanger

Now, the former reality star, 52, has revealed how she has worked directly with those who have struggled with the effects of fame on their mental health following their time on reality shows.

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It comes as the athlete promotes British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy’s (BACP) latest campaign, Therapy talks, which aims to educate the public on the benefits of therapy and looking after your mental health.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Star, Diane – who was known as Jet on the popular 90s entertainment show – shared her heartbreak for those who have sadly died following their time on reality shows.

She confessed: “I find it so painful. I do know people who directly know one of the first contestants who didn’t survive her mental health battle outside of the show of Love Island.

“It was one of the character’s very early on who tragically took her life. Fame isn’t for everybody.”

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The athlete went on to touch on Love Island’s latest exit from the current series on the airwaves, after fans watched Jacques O’Neill give his emotional exit speech around the fire pit on Tuesday (July 12).

During the explosive episode, the professional sportsman could be seen arguing with his partner Paige Thorne following Love Island alumni Adam Collard’s return to the villa.

Diane explained: “There was a chap who left last night who was visibly showing signs of mental health strain and it not being for him.”

Previously, the former Islander’s sister confirmed that Jacques has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) which can impact the way he behaves in social settings.

A spokesperson for ITV said following his exit: "Welfare and duty of care towards out contributors is our primary concern.

"We have dedicated welfare producers and psychological support on hand at all times who monitor and regularly speak to all of the islanders in private and off camera."

The 90s star went on to admit that sometimes people “just can’t cope with fame” despite what they might think going into the show.

Following her time working as a therapist on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side, she explained how often no one knows how individuals will cope in these environments until they are on the show.

She went on: "The producers do the best to support them behind the scenes but no one knows [how they will react] until you’re in front of the camera.

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“[It’s not until] you’re doing the journey with the dynamic of the other people in the house like Love Island [that you find out] what that does to their heart or their emotional wellbeing and mental wellbeing.

“No one can tell who’s going to thrive and who’s going to fail on it and there’ll always be some people who are going to suffer when they’re coming out but they’ll get a lot of love and support.”

To check out the latest therapy options on offer with BACP, visit their website.

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.


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