Love Island Scot Laura Anderson on post-villa mental toll after death of Mike Thalassitis

Laura Anderson today opens her heart about the mental pressures of life as a Love Islander following the tragic death of Mike Thalassitis.

The 29-year-old reality star has admitted she has gone through a rollercoaster of mixed emotions since starring in the show last summer.

She spoke out amid warnings that the ITV show is gripped by a mental health crisis following Mike’s suicide.

The tragedy came just six months after another contestant, Sophie Gradon, took her own life.

A third, Alex Miller, has since admitted that he struggled with dark thoughts after leaving the show.

Beauty expert Laura said: “It can be difficult to tell who your real friends are but you can tell how people are.

“If they weren’t your friend before, why do they want to be now? I tend to trust people more who are in the limelight. I enter new
friendships with caution.

“The non-stop lifestyle is hard as you are having to do a hundred things at once and I can feel my concentration going.

“I think we all develop a touch of ADHD because you feel you need to be on your game and be entertaining all of the time.

“You don’t have down time – you are your own brand and you have to work hard to maintain the momentum. It’s a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job so the pressure is always on and you have to be one step away.

Mike Thalassitis was found dead in a north London park eight days ago


“You want to continue to succeed. You have highs and lows. You’ve come off a massive show and you’ve done really well but what’s next? It’s almost like a drug and that’s where I think people have to be careful.

“You shouldn’t look at it as attention from people you don’t know but rather see it as a job and try to keep your personal life separate.”

In an exclusive Sunday Mail interview, Laura was at pains to insist that she did not blame the makers of the show, who she said supported all the contestants.

But she added: “My lowest point was when Max and I broke up due to the pressure of me being in the spotlight – you worry that you look stupid. You cry over the real stuff and then the media tip you over the edge by sharing your distress with everyone.”

She added: “I can sometimes feel down and lonely and it’sdifficult to cope with the massive ups and downs that come with fame.

Love Island star Sophie Gradon took her own life six months before Mike

“In this industry, you can work from home so you are by yourself quite a lot and not going into a workplace to be sociable.

“The highs and lows are huge. It’s a rollercoaster and you have to be prepared.”

Mike, 26, a contestant from Love Island 2017, was found dead in a north London park eight days ago.

Sophie, from the 2016 show, died last year aged 32.

ITV have said the show’s medical support is under review after concerns were expressed about the welfare of both contestants.

Laura said: “It’s devastating that two people from a successful show have taken their own lives but hopefully we can take a positive away from something so horrible by getting younger guys to open up about their feelings before it’s too late.

Former contestant Alex Miller spoke about having suicidal thoughts after leaving Love Island

“I didn’t know Mike that well. I had met him a few times but was more devastated for the folk who knew him well. He was
the first person I knew that has committed suicide.

“It just shows that because he was a good-looking guy, not a millionaire but successful and making more than your average bloke, you never know what is going on in people’s lives.”

She added: “There is a suicide epidemic among young men because they just don’t talk.

“We’ve all been brought up in a macho world where boys don’t cry and some families just don’t talk. When girls go on a night out, we all cry in the bathroom about our problems.

“It’s good that things are changing. Men are being encouraged to talk about everything, including their sexuality, and I’m so proud
Scotland is to become the first country in the world to have lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex
inclusive education.”

Laura has gone out of her way to comfort her telly pal Montana Brown, who is heartbroken after not replying to the final message from best pal Mike.

She said: “Montana is in bits. She was kicking herself and blaming herself for not replying to Mike’s last text. She told me he’d had a period when he was down and he was tired but she thought he was coming out of that dark place.

Montana Brown breaks down on This Morning over Mike’s death


“I went round to Montana’s for a whole day to try to make her feel better. We looked through old messages and talked about the time she had spent with him.

“She needs time to grieve for him. She was supposed to be launching a new swimsuit range next week but she has postponed that and has been cancelling nights out.

“It’s a shame when shows like Love Island get blamed because, obviously, Mike had been on other shows, had other past employers, had just lost his gran, so it was a combination of things.

“I don’t think people take their own lives for one single reason. Love Island is getting blamed because it is one organisation and it is easier and ITV are a huge corporation.”

Laura is also sceptical about the blame being placed on the pressures brought by social media on young people.

She said: “Instragram should not get blamed for suicide. No one realises what the root of the problem is.

“It’s people saying horrible things on there to make people like Mike feel they are not good enough. The trolling is the problem. We don’t need to be cancelling shows and blaming social media.

“Social media can be difficult in the sense that people want to get likes but I see it as a business and not personal. I want to get likes on my Instagram as I want to make money. The amount of money you make depends on your number of followers and
the likes you get.

“I don’t care who likes my pictures as it’s not personal. I don’t mind being trolled. I only get upset when people are rude about how skinny I am or criticise me for the way I am caring for my wee dog Buddy.”

Laura added: “Montana said one of the problems Mike had was his tax bill and it is stressful. You think you are making all this money and then you forget that 40 per cent of that money isn’t yours and belongs to the taxman.

“Luckily, I’m very wary of what I spend. But someone at 20 is not going to know this and will go crazy buying handbags or get ripped off by an accountant.”

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