New Love Island host Laura Whitmore breaks down in emotional tribute to Caroline Flack

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Caroline Flack (L) and Laura Whitmore attend the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2018. Photo: Getty

New Love Island host Laura Whitmore has broken down in an emotional tribute after the death of British reality television presenter Caroline Flack at the age of 40.

Laura, who took over as host of the reality dating show this year when Caroline stepped down after being charged with assault, shared her thoughts on the tragic news on BBC Radio 5 Live saying she wanted to give Caroline the “respect she deserves” that she “didn’t always get”.

“She loved to laugh and had the most infectious chuckle. She also had many struggles,” she said.

“Caroline loved love, that’s all she wanted, which is why the show Love Island was so important to her.”

Laura goes on to say the show “wasn’t the problem” and working on it they were “safe and protected”.

“The problem is that the outside world is not,” she said.

“Anyone who has ever compared one woman against another on Twitter, knocked someone because of their appearance, invaded someone else’s privacy, who have made mean unnecessary comments on an online forum, need to look at themselves.”

She goes on to ask listeners to ‘be kind’ adding she wants to use her platform to call people out.

Caroline Flack found dead at 40

Caroline’s family shared the tragic news at the weekend, their lawyer confirming the TV presenter had taken her own life.

"We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today, the 15th of February," her family said in a statement that also requested privacy.

Television network ITV paid tribute to the host, whose presenting roles included Love Island, Gladiators, I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, The X Factor and The Xtra Factor.

"Everybody at Love Island and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news," an ITV spokeswoman said.

"Caroline was a much loved member of the Love Island team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends."

Caroline Flack took her own life. Photo: Getty

Caroline is the third person linked to the reality program to have died, prompting viewers to demand Love Island be axed.

Former star Sophie Gradon took her own life at her parents home in 2018, having opened up about the devastating impact of being trolled online after starring on Love Island UK just months before.

“There would be so many negative comments,” she told Radio Aire. “They are commenting on the way you look, the way you talk. They would come up with an opinion of you on a TV show where they’ve watched you for 45 minutes.”

Her body was discovered by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong who took his own life 20 days later.

Then in March 2019, UK Love Island star Mike Thalassitis died aged 26.

At the time Caroline shared a tribute writing: “Mike… you were a total gentleman… I won’t forget that… it’s so so sad… you will be missed. RIP.”

Caroline’s partner shares tribute

Caroline’s boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27 has also shared a picture of the couple on holiday together on Instagram saying his 'heart is broken'.

“I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don't think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking,” he wrote.

“I will be your voice baby I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud everyday. I love you with all my heart.”

If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.