Adam Collard, who has appeared on seasons four and 10 of ITV2 dating show Love Island, has said that his lothario persona is a “defence mechanism” that he adopted after being “made fun of” as a teenager.
The 27-year-old was 22 when he appeared as an original islander in 2018’s season. In it, he paired up with Kendall Knight, Rosie Williams, then Zara McDermott, before his head was turned in Casa Amor and he dumped Zara for Darylle Sargeant.
At the time, he was widely condemned for the way he treated Rosie. In response, Women’s Aid, a domestic abuse charity, issued a warning about spotting signs of abuse.
Women’s Aid said there were “clear warning signs in Adam’s behaviour” indicative of “emotional abuse”.
ITV faced backlash earlier this year when Collard was brought back as a contestant in series 10, with some viewers saying that the producers of the show only “pretend to care about mental health”.
In the latest episode of Celebs Go Dating, Collard reflected on his past and was asked to dig deep into his childhood in order to find reasons for his behaviour.
“Why is it, that people think you’re this guy,” began Celebs Go Dating relationships expert Paul Brunson, referring to Collard’s image on screen. “But, what we see is this smart, ambitious, teddy bear? Why do we have that divide?”
Collard replied: “I think it’s, my dating life has been on TV. My relationship life, my proper relationship life, has not been on TV.
“But maybe, by default, I go back to that one. It’s my safety net of when I’m going on dates, when I’m going on TV.”
The show’s new relationship expert, Dr Tara, then encouraged him to look “back further” to his teenage years.
“I was a little bit overweight in school. Really quiet,” he replied. “I didn’t really have that much confidence in the way I looked, I didn’t like it.”
Collard added that he had developed a “defence mechanism” to cope with this past trauma of being “made fun of” as a teenager.
“I feel like it’s something that’s definitely affected me. I feel like my defence mechanism is this kind of, confidence, charisma, the kind of f*** boy image, to be honest.”
Collard, who is now a personal fitness trainer, said that he underwent a “massive body transformation” during sixth form and university that improved his confidence levels.
“And since then, I would say that I just went crazy,” he said.
While appearing on Celebs Go Dating, Collard and OnlyFans model – Kate Moss’s younger half-sister – Lottie Moss struck up a connection, with Moss later revealing in a podcast that she had caught “the feels” for him.
During an appearance on the podcast Chloe vs World, hosted by former Love Island contestant Chloe Burrows, Moss said: “When I first saw Adam I was like, ‘Nah, he’s not my type. Literally not my type at all’ and then bam.”
“He’s very charming, he’s very handsome. We just had a very very good connection,” she said.
Moss and Burrows both agreed that they had presumed that Collard would be “really misogynistic” due to his on-screen persona.
Moss added: “You know what, he is actually quite soppy when it is one-on-one, he’s just cute. We’ll have a cuddle and he’ll be lying on me and likes being stroked like a puppy.
“I think it’s just when you meet somebody and you feel that way, I’ve never been like that with guys. Like I’d say, ‘Get the f*** off me now’, but when you feel like that about someone and it is so rare that it is mutual.”
She continued: “So when you find that, it’s so nice. I just didn’t think it would be Adam from Love Island, that took me by storm.”
The Independent’s Vix Meldrew wrote an opinion piece in 2018 condemning Collard’s behaviour.