Inside Love Island's international scandals from a Dutch sexual assault row to Aussie winner's 'secret' girlfriend
LOVE Island is adored for its sun, sex and scandals – and not just in Britain.
The dating show format, which returns to UK screens next week, has racked up some truly shocking dramas overseas – including singletons having secret partners on the outside.
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The Aussie and American versions kept Brit reality fans entertained last year when the 2020 UK series was canned due to the pandemic.
But other countries including Finland, South Africa, and Germany have alsofallen in love with the dating extravaganza.
And plans for new series based in Nigeria and Spain are already in the works this year.
But just like the UK version, existing international versions of the show have been associated with some staggering scandals – including one winning couple who broke up after just THREE days.
Race row and technical howlers
South Africa was treated to its inaugural series this year – but things didn't get off to a great start.
Before the singletons even set foot in the villa, the show was criticised for casting just three black contestants despite around 80 per cent of the country being populated by people of colour.
DStv, which broadcasts Love Island SA, responded to the backlash by saying it prided itself on diversity and inclusion on its shows.
"Viewers can be assured that this will become more apparent in future episodes of Love Island SA," a DStv spokesperson told Metro.
But once the series got underway, audiences were then annoyed by a series of odd technical gaffes in the show's first episode.
Viewers complained about problems with the show's sound and editing, while others shared hilarious clips online of members of the production team clearly in shot.
Broadcaster M-Net publicly apologised on Twitter for the hiccups, writing: "You called us out on the lack of diversity and production quality in our first episode of Love Island SA.
"We’re sorry – we didn’t meet our usual standard on both counts."
The forthcoming series of the UK Love Island has itself placed an emphasis on diversity, casting the show's first disabled islander.
But some critics have slammed the programme's continued lack of plus-sized or LGBT contestants.
Scrapped after sex assault
One Dutch version of Love Island was cancelled after an incident which happened on a different show.
In 2019, broadcaster RTL decided to pull episodes of Love Island and other "seduction-based reality shows" after viewers complained about incidents of on-screen sexual assault.
The controversy centred largely on a scene in The Villa, a Dutch dating show where couples are matched in a Spanish mansion using computer algorithms.
A male contestant was shown pulling at a female contestant's underwear to expose her bum before clambering on top of her.
The same man, along with another male contestant, were also shown continuing sexual advances on women after having already been rejected.
"It is shocking what happened there on location," RTL programme director Peter van der Vorst told RTL Nieuws after the shows were pulled.
"The makers of the programme in particular have crossed their ethical boundaries."
A channel spokesperson also issued an apology, saying "sexually transgressive behaviour is unacceptable and should never be promoted".
In the same year, 700 viewers of the UK version of Love Island complained to Ofcom as Maura Higgins repeatedly tried to kiss Tommy Fury.
The boxer was heard saying "no" and was seen trying to swerve Maura's advances, but the regulator decided not to investigate the show over the incident as it didn't breach "generally accepted standards".
Winners split after THREE days
Romances forged in the villa don't always last forever – even if the couple won the series.
Just ask Amber Gill and Greg O'Shea, who won the 2019 UK series and then split up just five weeks later.
But even that looks like a lifetime next to the winners of the first series of the German version whose romance went kaputt just three days after leaving the villa in Mallorca.
In 2017, Elena Miras and Ninja Warrior Germany contestant Jan Sokolowsky scooped the 50,000 euro (£43,000) prize cash.
But less than a week later the couple called it quits after flying home to Germany.
Instead, 28-year-old Elena shacked up with Mike Heiter, who'd also been an islander on the show.
Elena and Mike went on to have a child together and also hosted the German version of Just Tattoo of Us.
But they too announced they were separating last September.
Jan went on to take part in a naked island-based dating show, Adam Seeks Eve, but has since struggled to get consistent TV work.
'Secret girlfriend' outside villa
One Love Island winner has even been accused of having a secret relationship for the entire time they were in the villa.
Grant Crapp, 25, won the inaugural Australian Love Island series in 2018 with 23-year-old Tayla Damir.
The couple scooped a $50,000 (£27,000) cash prize – but Tayla soon realised she hadn't hit the jackpot with Grant.
Rumours circulated Down Under that he had a secret girlfriend, Lucy Cartwright, and that he'd only gone on the show to promote his clothing line.
He was even confronted with the rumour during a villa challenge but he strongly denied the claims and reassured Tayla.
But just two weeks after the show wrapped, Tayla ditched Grant after discovering texts on his phone proving he was still in touch with Lucy – despite Grant having insisted that he'd ended things.
The plot thickened when, just two weeks after splitting with Tayla, Grant announced he was back with Lucy.
"I finally got the answer that was the truth," Tayla told TheFix.
"He was on there to promote himself and he did have a girlfriend who was running his business while he was inside the villa."
In April this year, Grant and Lucy welcomed their first baby, Charli.
And Tayla recently announced her engagement to Aussie rules football star Nathan Broad.
Porn performer past
Like a lot of TV shows, the second series of Love Island USA was disrupted by the pandemic.
It was forced to trade its beach-front villa in Fiji for the roof of a casino hotel in Las Vegas.
But one of the biggest shocks of the 2020 show came halfway through the series – when it emerged one islander had an X-rated past.
Fans were furious when Noah Purvis was booted off the programme following the discovery that he'd performed in porn films under a different name.
Broadcaster CBS said his unexpected departure was a result of Noah having "provided false information on his application" to the show which "violates his contestant agreement".
Following his departure, Noah wrote on Instagram: "Your past doesn't define who you are.
"You determine who, what, how and where you'll end up. I am truly proud of who I am today and excited for what is next!"
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