Laura Whitmore has revealed that Caroline Flack texted her to say she was her first choice to step in as replacement Love Island host.
The former MTV host is fronting the winter series of the ITV2 dating show, after regular presenter Flack stepped down following an assault charge.
Speaking to ITV’s This Morning during her debut broadcast from the Love Island villa in Cape Town, South Africa, the Irish presenter said Flack had got in contact after announcing she was stepping down.
Whitmore said: “It was a little bit of a whirlwind. When Caroline stepped down she actually sent me a text message saying: ‘I really hope that you get to do this series.’
“But then there’s the speculation in the papers and I don’t really know anything, I know as much as everyone else knows.
“It was just before Christmas and I was flying back to Ireland because it was my mum’s birthday, and I was at the airport and I got a phone call from my agent saying: ‘The producers from ITV would like to see me with you in a few hours’.”
Whitmore, who is dating Love Island narrator Iain Stirling, said she had postponed flying home to Ireland for her mother’s birthday to meet with show bosses at the last minute.
She told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby: “I thought, oh, I’m at the airport and it’s my mum’s birthday so I can’t make that meeting.
“Then I thought, hold on a second, I will ring up mammy Whitmore, which I did.
“I said: ‘How would you feel if I came tomorrow instead of today?’ And she said that was okay, thankfully, and that is why I am here now.
“I had to get a cab back from the airport, back to my house, then go to the meeting. I was quite quick.
“It had only really been two or three weeks then it was Christmas so it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind.
“But I am a massive fan of the show. When I came to the villa yesterday, I have been running around in the bedrooms and all the little hideaways.
“I just need to remember that I have to host and not be a fan.”
— Love Island (@LoveIsland) January 9, 2020
It comes as images of the newly renovated winter Love Island villa were unveiled for the first time.
The property was used to film an episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror called Rachel, Jack And Ashley Too, which saw Miley Cyrus, playing burnt-out pop star Ashley O, held against her will inside the house.
Whitmore also rubbished rumours that she and Stirling could host spin-off Love Island: Aftersun together.
As Stirling is needed in Cape Town to record the voice-over every day, he will be unable to help present the show which is filmed in the UK.
She quipped: “I said I will take one for the team and host Aftersun.”
Flack has denied assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton in an incident that allegedly left them both covered in blood in scenes likened to a “horror movie”.
She is alleged to have hit Burton over the head with a lamp, causing a head injury.
After entering a not guilty plea to the assault charge at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, Flack was released on bail with conditions that stop her having any contact with Burton ahead of a trial on March 4.
Love Island starts Sunday at 9pm on ITV2.