Who is Celebrity Big Brother's Ekin-Su Culculoglu?

The reality star is known for Love Island

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 24: Ekin-Su Culculoglu attends the world premiere of 'Argylle' at the Odeon Luxe cinema in Leicester Square in London, United Kingdom on January 24, 2024. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Ekin-Su Culculoglu is best known for Love Island. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Ekin-Su Culculoglu burst onto the scene as a Love Island bombshell in 2022, but it certainly wasn’t her first taste of fame.

The TV personality – who was born in London to Turkish parents – had already dabbled in beauty pageants and acting when she signed up for the ITV show, so reality star was just another string to her bow. And now she has added another programme to her CV, with a stint in the Celebrity Big Brother house.

We have a look at the rising star’s career so far, what she has been up to since her villa days - and why her time on Big Brother proved so controversial.

Celebrity Big Brother controversy

Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu - Celebrity Big Brother 2024. (ITV)
Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu had a tough exit from Celebrity Big Brother. (ITV)

Celebrity Big Brother viewers might not have noticed there was much of a problem for Culculoglu when she was actually in the house, but things got a little awkward after her exit.

The reality star was evicted after being nominated by Marisha Wallace, something that visibly upset her, and asked why she had taken it so personally on spin-off show Late and Live Culculoglu explained: "You haven't seen everything, they cut stuff out."

But show guest Layton Williams said: "You're not going to blame it on the edit. One thing you're not going to do is blame it on the edit. We see what we see and it's a shame."

Host AJ Odudu added: "It's interesting as you've literally just walked out of the house, you can't have seen what's been shown and what's been said.

"But I can assure you that everything that has been seen and has been shown, has been said by you!"

Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu - Celebrity Big Brother 2024 (ITV)
The star has complained about her Celebrity Big Brother edit. (ITV)

Things got even more complicated when Lorraine Kelly told Good Morning Britain that Culculoglu had pulled out of a post-eviction interview on Lorraine, but the show later backtracked and said it had been a "misunderstanding".

Ahead of the Celebrity Big Brother final, Culculoglu's reps have reportedly told Digital Spy that she will not be attending as her management have deemed her "unfit" to return.

Co-star Levi Roots claimed in a This Morning interview after his eviction that he had to "protect" her in the house: "I thought everyone was being unfair to Ekin-Su. I thought there was a little bit of micro-bullying going on, if you know what I mean."

He added: "I just thought people were picking on her for some reason."

Beauty pageants

Ekin-Su Culculoglu attends the UK premiere of The Beekeeper at Vue Leicester Square in central London. Picture date: Wednesday January 10, 2024. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Ekin-Su Culculoglu used to take part in pageants. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Culculoglu took her first big step into the world of showbiz in beauty pageants when she was in her teens. She was in several competitions, including Miss Asia Pacific World in 2011.

The star previously told Varsity that she did pageants to try and boost her own confidence and “be strong” but that she later came to realise that it just wasn’t for her as “looks fade”. “Beauty is on the inside,” she said.

Turkish TV fame

Culculoglu later caught the acting bug and went on to study performing arts. In 2020 she bagged a role in a Turkish TV series called Kuzey Yıldızı Ilk Ask and she was also in a Turkish soap.

While Love Island and its resulting fame has kept her busy in the last couple of years, the star has said she still fancies acting.

"I would actually love to go back to Turkey at some point and reconnect with some old agencies out there, who I was in a soap with,” she told The Sun last summer. "I speak both English and Turkish so why can't I have a career in both countries?”

Love Island and Davide Sanclimenti romance

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07: Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu and Davide Sanclimenti attend the European Premiere of Paramount Pictures'
Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu and Davide Sanclimenti have now split. (Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

In 2022, Culculoglu was picked to enter Love Island as a bombshell, after apparently applying on a whim. She quickly became a favourite with fans and went on to win the show – bagging a boyfriend in the shape of Davide Sanclimenti in the process.

The pair fell for each other in the villa and their romance went from strength to strength after they won the show. And there were even engagement rumours a few months later when Sanclimenti gave Culculoglu a ring.

However, he played it down, saying on Good Morning Britain at the time that it was a “promise ring”. “I gave her a ring because now we are officially together, we love each other, we live together, and I thought that even if we are still not getting married there should be something on the hands, so I wanted to buy her a ring,” he said.

Sadly the course of true love didn’t run smooth for the reality show pair and in January this year it was reported that they had split.

Culculoglu confirmed the news in a post on Instagram, telling fans: “The last 18-months have been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, just like every relationship. Davide and I both wanted to make this work as we cared deeply for each other.

"Unfortunately I have recently made the decision to end our relationship and to go our separate ways.. Breakups are never easy. For any couple. And we hope that our privacy will be respected. I enjoyed our time together and the memories we made."

Post-villa success and Dancing On Ice

The star took part in Dancing On Ice. (ITV)
The star took part in Dancing On Ice. (ITV)

While her Love Island relationship didn’t work out, being in the villa certainly boosted the star’s career. She has gone on to land deals with the likes of BPerfect Cosmetics and was also a contestant on ITV’s Dancing On Ice.

Culculoglu was paired with pro skater Brendyn Hatfield on the 2023 series of the ice-skating competition and became the third star to be eliminated.

The Traitors

Culculoglu landed yet another massive TV opportunity when she bagged a slot on the US version of The Traitors. The gripping game show has been as big Stateside as it is in the UK thanks to all its drama, twists and turns, with Alan Cumming taking on hosting duties in the US instead of Claudia Winkleman.

While the first series featured unknowns, celebs were selected for round two and Culculoglu was among the cast. Viewers warmed to her, saying she was really “watchable” on the series.

But she met a sticky end when she was offed by being tricked into drinking from a ‘poisoned’ chalice. True to form, Culculoglu refused to go out of the show with a whimper, joking: “When I leave the show and I find out who the Traitor was that betrayed me, I’m going to f*** them up hard!”

Read more: Celebrity Big Brother

Watch: Denise Welch says she had a really rough deal after Celebrity Big Brother