ITV Love Island fans stunned as TOWIE star Joey Essex enters the villa as a bombshell

Fans of the ITV2 dating series Love Island have been sent into a frenzy by Joey Essex's surprise appearance on the show.

The 33 year old former TOWIE star was unveiled as the first Bombshell of the new summer series during the premiere episode, marking a first for the long-standing reality TV programme. While previous Islanders like Adam Collard and Kady McDermott have returned to the villa for another shot at finding love on national television, Joey is the first well-known celebrity to join the show as a contestant.

This unexpected addition to Love Island is no stranger to our screens, having featured on numerous reality TV shows worldwide since his debut on The Only Way is Essex in 2011. Over the years, besides coining his catchphrase 'reem' on TOWIE from 2011 until 2013, Joey has had a stint in the jungle for the 13th series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! In 2013, he won the Channel 4 series The Jump, tried his luck twice on Celebs Go Dating, appeared on Celebrity Ex on the Beach, been pushed to his limits on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, cooked up a storm on Celebrity MasterChef and made a splash in the first series of Splash!

READ MORE: Five changes to Love Island 2024's villa - including moat around fire pit

joey in the villa  with new buzzut hairdo and white shirt
Joey was sporting a new buzzcut hairdo as he walked into the villa -Credit:ITV

More recently, Joey - who was once engaged to fellow TOWIE star Sam Faiers - ventured Down Under for the 8th series of the Australian version of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, finishing in sixth place. In 2023, he was the runner-up of the 15th series of Dancing on Ice. And now Joey can add Love Island to his impressive reality TV CV, with his surprise entrance into the villa being teased at the end of tonight's first episode of the new summer series. Viewers were left gobsmacked as Joey made an appearance, showcasing a fresh buzzcut.

"Joey essex coming in as a bombshell in love island was not on my 2024 bingo card #loveIsland," joked a fan as Joey graced their screens. The official Love Island Twitter account posted Joey's promotional image, announcing: "The only way is... Essex. The #LoveIsland Villa just got a bit more 'reem' as Joey Essex has arrived to find his future wife."

Joey Essex has walked into the Love Island villa -Credit:ITV

"I DONT KNOW WHATS MORE WEIRD, JOEY ESSEX BEING ON LOVE ISLAND OR HIM BEING 33," commented a bewildered Twitter user in response to the news, while another expressed annoyance: "Why would they bring Joey Essex? Just ruining the dynamic every year by bringing a 'celeb'." However, some fans were thrilled by the unexpected addition, with one exclaiming: "okay joey essex walking in was a GAG and a half #loveisland."

Earlier in the year, Joey turned heads when he debuted his new look on social media, hinting at a potential move abroad. The 33 year old, related to Chloe Sims, is often found in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), fuelling speculation that he may have a residence in Dubai. Rumours swirled around April last year that reality TV personality Joey was eyeing up Dubai as his new permanent base. The buzz was that he was looking to snap up a pad in the opulent city, allowing him the luxury of jetting back and forth at his leisure, potentially splitting his time between the UK and UAE.

Joey's social media posts hinted that he had started to think of Dubai as "home", with numerous photos showing him soaking up the lifestyle in the sun-drenched metropolis. Yet, this April saw Joey return to British shores, amidst a flurry of international travel over recent months, including a stint in the US where his cousins Chloe Sims, Charlie Sims, Demi Sims, and Frankie Sims were shooting their reality show.

On his Californian escapade earlier in the year, Joey debuted a bold new look a neatly shorn buzz cut that quickly became a hit among his Instagram fans. He frequently shared images of his new style, even captioning a February selfie with: "My dreams reach to a world that doesn't exist, but I'll see you soon anyway."

The transformation drew heaps of praise from his followers, with one gushing: "Best I've ever seen you look." The compliments continued to roll in, with another fan commenting: "Looking smooth dude." The positive reactions kept coming, with remarks like "Love the buzz cut," and another adding, "It suits [you]."

Lateysha Grace, a friend of Joey's, also praised the new look, commenting: "Joey the short hair suits you loads! " The positive responses kept coming in, with many more fans expressing their love for Joey's new haircut.