After winning last year’s season of Love Island Australia and walking away with a $50,000 prize, Tina Provis and Mitch Hibberd are set to make history as the first couple to return to the dating show.
Channel Nine announced on Friday that the pair, who continued dating after filming wrapped but called it quits earlier this year, will enter the Villa as Bombs next week for a second chance at love.
Ahead of their return to the show, the former couple opened up to Yahoo Lifestyle about why they decided to come back and what fans can expect.
“People think you’re crazy doing it once, but doing it twice you’re probably even more crazy,” Mitch laughs. “But crazy is right up my alley, so why not?”
“The first time around I thought I was going to be on Love Island for a week, like I ran out of clothes in the first week,” Tina adds. “So to have won it and then get the chance to go back again, I don't know if they're crazy for sending me back or I'm crazy for saying yes.”
Speaking about the moment she received the call from producers asking her to return, Tina admits she said ‘yes’ without a moment’s hesitation.
“I don't think I even thought about it, there was just no way that I could possibly turn something like that down,” she says. “And I feel like the call came at such a good point in my life too. After the breakup earlier in the year, I just stepped back from dating and I wanted to put time into myself and my work, my friends and my family.
“My life had been turned upside down after my whole Love Island journey, so it took me some time to get into a good place. And when I got that call I was in the best place I've ever been and really knew that I was ready to open myself back up to finding love.”
Meanwhile, Mitch says he was in shock when he was first contacted, adding: “I was actually at the gym working out, so when I got that call up I bloody started training a little bit harder!
“Having had such a good time last year, I just thought why not? It was a wild ride last year, lots of ups and downs, but ultimately it was such a fantastic time.”
‘I was not told at all’
The big twist in their return, however, is that neither of them was aware the other would also be re-entering the villa.
“I was like, this is going to be the biggest ‘f**k you’ to go back on Love Island and have your ex sitting at home watching it,” Tina recalls. “I was kind of living my own main character moment, I didn't think that he was going to be in there.”
“I was not told at all,” Mitch says. “I was obviously shocked to see her go back as well. I mean, it's pretty hard getting on a plane to Spain thinking I’m signing up for my hot boy summer and I’ll get in the villa and crack on with all these good-looking girls, and all of a sudden your ex is there watching you!”
Although the couple broke up in February and cut off all communication in May, they assert that there was no bad blood between them prior to their on-screen reunion.
“We had a good couple months of not talking at all, we weren't really in each other's lives at all, and I think that was when I kind of had time to move on and deal with the breakup properly,” Tina explains.
“We will always be friendly. Even though we had no contact, I would say we were still friendly with each other, so at least that was good,” she continues, while Mitch adds, “There was no hate towards each other and we were amicable.”
‘My stomach literally dropped out of my body’
While viewers will have to tune in next week to see what exactly happens when the exes reunite for the first time, Tina shares an insight into how she felt upon seeing Mitch.
“When I first got in there my stomach literally just dropped out of my body, but I just kind of held it together,” she details.
“Obviously I acknowledged Mitch, but I put time into everybody else first and I think by the end of that first night, I was like, ‘Hey, this is happening, but we're going to be cool. You can crack on with who you want, and I'm going to do my own thing’.
“I think it wasn't until I was in bed by myself I had a little cry like, ‘Oh my god, I'm going to have to see him get with other people, in bed with another girl’. Because we live in different states, I’ve never been out at a club and seen it in the flesh, so I think dealing with the reality of the situation I was reeling a bit. It’s one thing to bump into your ex when you're on a date, and it's another to live with them.”
The pair both admit that their biggest worry going into the villa was that people would judge them based on their previous stint on TV and would struggle to get to know their real personalities.
“The first few days there were a lot of conversations around the breakup and a lot of conversations about last season and things like that,” Mitch says. “Obviously in a way, a lot of people that have gone on the show now are fans in some aspect, they’ve watched the show.
“What made it a little bit challenging was when people do have preconceived ideas or they’ve judged you based on watching you or things they’ve heard or seen. That was the biggest challenge.”
Tina adds: “I was nervous about what people would think of me given they've had an opportunity to already form an opinion if they did watch last season. But I think when you're in the moment, I didn't really feel any different from anybody else.
“I kind of felt like I was stepping into the villa for the first time. It’s a whole new villa, you’re in Spain, and it’s a whole new group of people. I didn't feel any different and everybody was honestly so welcoming.”
Reflecting on the new season, both Tina and Mitch say they’re “feeling good” about how it turned out and they’re excited to watch everything back on TV.
“Right now I’m in a really good place,” Mitch says. “I’m really happy with how everything was and I have no regrets or anything like that.”
“The whole thing was an amazing experience and even though I've done it once, it doesn't take the magic away from it,” Tina remarks. “It definitely wasn't the Love Island journey I expected, but that’s why I didn’t go in with any expectations when I walked through those villa doors.
“I can honestly say it was a positive journey and all of the people in that villa have such an amazing vibe, they’re all such great people and I know I've made friends that I’ll have for life.”
New episodes of Love Island Australia drop Monday to Thursday at 6pm AEDT on 9Now.
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