Friday 18 October 2019

Love Island’s Amy Hart reveals ITV intervened when she tried to ‘control’ food

The reality TV star said her anxiety issues had previously ‘manifested within food’.

Love Island’s Amy Hart reveals ITV intervened when she tried to ‘control’ food (Yui Mok/PA)
Love Island’s Amy Hart reveals ITV intervened when she tried to ‘control’ food (Yui Mok/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Love Island star Amy Hart has said ITV producers stepped in to make her eat when she started to cut down on food in the villa.

The reality TV star and former air stewardess said she had mental health issues in the past and has previously heavily managed her food intake as a way of maintaining control.

Hart said she was monitored by a psychologist during her time in the ITV2 show, and that they spotted that she lost her appetite after being dumped by Curtis Pritchard.

When Curtis finished with me I wasn’t hungry and wanted to control my (diet) again, but ITV stepped in and made me eat as the psych was watching me all the time

Ahead of World Mental Health Day (October 10), Hart told Heat magazine: “I have had mental health issues in the past but I was reluctant to accept it. I didn’t admit that I had anxiety until a couple of years after I first started my job flying at British Airways.

“My previous anxiety issues manifested within food. I would order the biggest dinner you’ve ever seen and take one bite and start shaking, crying and saying I can’t eat this anymore.

“I felt like I wasn’t in control of the rest of my life – I was convinced I was going to get sacked, so food was my control thing.”

Of her time in Love Island, she said: “I lost a stone in my first six months in BA, and when Curtis finished with me I wasn’t hungry and wanted to control my (diet) again, but ITV stepped in and made me eat as the psych was watching me all the time.”

Hart, who opted to leave the Love Island villa following her split from Pritchard as he moved on with Maura Higgins, said she had mental health issues before taking part in the programme, but that she thought being in the show would “solve all of my problems”.

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Amy Hart (Adam Davy/PA)

She said she received support throughout her time in the programme, and that ITV is giving her a minimum of 18 months of therapy sessions.

Hart said: “The welfare girl came in every single lunchtime apart from one day a week to check how much water we were having, how much we’d eaten and how we were.

“And when it all went tits up for me and I was lying in bed crying at lunchtime, she would get into bed with me and just stroke my head and talk to me, and now I speak to her on the phone twice a week to check how I am.”

Of the aftercare, she said: “We’ve been given 18 months of sessions as mandatory from ITV and then we can have more if we want them afterwards.

“I’m very unorganised and busy at the moment so I let my psych sessions go and (my welfare representative) ended up phoning my manager and saying ‘We need to get a date in Amy’s diary when she’s free’ so they are really on it.”

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Curtis Pritchard and Maura Higgins (David Parry/PA)

The issue of aftercare has been in the spotlight following the deaths of Jeremy Kyle participant Steve Dymond and former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

ITV has since shared with producers its best practice guidelines on supporting the physical and mental health of participants, and the broadcaster’s director of television, Kevin Lygo, has said the health and safety of its programme participants is the company’s “highest priority”.

Hart spoke to Heat for its Where’s Your Head At? campaign, which calls for mental and physical health to be given parity of treatment in workplaces and colleges.

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