Caroline Flack’s mother has hit out at ITV2 and Laura Whitmore over the return of Love Island in the wake of her daughter’s death.
Flack presented the ITV2 dating show from 2015 until 2019, when she announced that she had stepped down from the series following an altercation in her home with boyfriend Lewis Burton. Whitmore was subsequently recruited to present the winter edition of the series, and most recently presented the summer 2021 edition.
Flack took her own life in February 2020, weeks before she had been due to stand trial over allegations she had assaulted Burton. She denied the charges.
In a new interview, Flack’s mother Christine has accused ITV2 of a lack of “respect” in their treatment of her daughter, both during her final months and after she had died.
“Love Island is all about making couples fight, it’s not about bringing them into love,” Christine told The Sun. “It’s making them fight and argue, and they set them up for that. And yet they sacked Carrie straight away [after her row with Burton].”
While Flack claimed that she had left Love Island of her own volition, and that ITV2 had kept the door open for her return to the series, unverified reports in early 2020 claimed that Flack believed she had been effectively sacked from the programme.
Christine also said that she had not watched the series since her daughter’s death.
“I watched Love Island because Carrie was in it,” she said. “Now, it’s horrible when the advert comes up and the girl that’s taken her place is all in almost the same dress, in almost the same pose. I think ITV2 could have done it a little differently. They could have done it out of respect.”
She continued: “It’s all very well putting these films on saying, ‘Oh, we love Carrie blah blah blah’. But you know, just have a little bit of respect.”
Love Island has screened a number of montages featuring tributes to Flack since her death.
The Independent has contacted representatives for ITV and Whitmore for comment.
In the same interview, Flack’s mother said that her daughter was diagnosed with bipolar in the weeks before her death, and was terrified of her mental health struggles being made public.