‘My body shut down’: Olivia reveals she was ‘bed bound’ with illness after Love Island stress
She spoke to The Tab about the villa’s ‘very intense environment’
Being in the Love Island villa is far from an all inclusive holiday. There’s arguing, betrayal, accusations and fights. Plus, the realisation that the whole world has been judging your every move the moment you leave the villa. And 2023’s most controversial cast member Olivia Hawkins has said the stress of taking part in the series has taken a physical toll on her health.
“I’ve been so ill. So run down. I was honestly bed bound” Olivia tells The Tab from her house in Hove, with her signature ponytail in perfect position, three weeks after leaving the show. “With the stress and everything, my body just went into shutdown,” she continued. “[Love Island] is a very intense environment and only we understand what we went through being in there.”
Olivia admits her hardest days in the villa were the ones she spent fighting with Zara over Tom in a blazing row that ended with Zara famously shouting: “You think I flew 11 hours from England to piss you off?”. Speculation mounted whether the drama was “fake” as Olivia and Zara had reportedly known each other before entering the villa.
“I wouldn’t say we were friends,” Olivia says of Zara. “We worked together a few times. But yeah, we’re fine now. I just think, that week [of fighting with Zara], I know she said it was hard for her, but it was really hard for me. I really went through it with that situation with her. And there was a lot that wasn’t shown…It was really difficult.”
Olivia’s second biggest controversy in the villa came after the Casa Amor re-coupling. Everyone called her a hypocrite after she’d returned to the main villa with Maxwell and Kai had returned with Sanam – but she still had a problem with the way Kai behaved despite doing the same thing. Since returning back to the UK, he refuses to even follow her on Instagram.
“If he doesn’t want to follow me, that’s really fine,” Olivia says of the snub. “We’re absolutely fine. He’s actually really good friends with Maxwell. I get along with Sanam. Everything that happened in the villa feels like such a long time ago now. It’s all water under the bridge. So, I’m happy about that.”
Unlike with other groups of cast members, Olivia reveals no Whatsapp group chat has been made for the 2023 group to keep in touch— as far as she’s aware. “I’ll keep looking at what they’re up to over Instagram,” she says of staying up to date with everyone’s lives. “But I definitely know who my close friends are.”
Returning to life after Love Island wasn’t the easiest transition for Olivia. In every season of the show, one cast member emerges as the villain. And mid-way through the 2023 series, after fights with Zara, Tanyel, and Kai, Olivia became the public’s punching bag on Twitter.
People repeatedly called Olivia a “bitch”, “ugly on the inside”, and commented endless abuse on her Instagram photos or sent it directly to her DMs. And with the show’s new no social media rule, her family and friend’s couldn’t delete the worst of the trolling before she came home. So, she read most of the nasty comments in the back of a taxi from the airport after the flight home.
“No one was able to filter out the hate for me,” she says of ITV’s policy. “That was hard. It shocked me because I had very close relationships with the girls and I don’t think any of that was shown. But it’s a TV programme and everyone has their characters. Unfortunately, mine was the villain…Now I just don’t look. That’s the best way to move forwards.”
But public opinion could already be swaying on Olivia Hawkins. “I always get people coming up to me and saying ‘oh, you’re so nice, you’re nothing like you are on television,'” she says. “And I go, ‘well, yeah because you only see the dramatic moments of me. You don’t see my soft side.’ It’s quite nice to have that power back.
“People are open to their opinions. Of course they are,” Olivia continues. “But think twice before you send messages to people because we see everything and it is hard. If I said it wasn’t, I’d be lying. You come out [of the show] and you see thousands and thousands of messages and you forget they’re about you because they’re so far from the person you are.
“But I’m just going to keep going. I’m such a strong person. I was before I went into Love Island and I still am now.”