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Jacques O'Neill left Love Island earlier this week (Photo: ITV/Shutterstock)
A top Love Island boss has addressed speculation as to whether there was producer intervention surrounding Jacques O’Neill’s surprise exit from the villa.
Earlier this week, it was announced the rugby star had left the ITV2 reality show.
Viewers later saw him tearfully explain to partner Paige Thorne and their fellow Islanders that he was leaving the show to “get back to himself”.
In the lead up to his departure, Jacques had struggled to deal with the arrival of former contestant Adam Collard, who had expressed an interest in Paige.
However, the speed at which events unfolded prompted some questions from fans that producers had stepped in behind the scenes.
Asked directly about this during an interview with Deadline, Love Island’s executive producer Mike Spencer insisted it was Jacques’ decision to exit the show.
“Jacques is amazing,” he said. “We love Jacques. When you date, your emotions are naturally up and down. Finding love is not a simple thing, that’s why the show is so relatable. Jacques was on his own journey and he had a strong connection with Paige but sometimes you have to think about yourself and that’s what Jacques did.
“We respected his decision to head home but I think he’s excited to be on Aftersun on Sunday to discuss his journey.”
He added: “I think Jacques felt like his time was up and as producers we have to respect his decision. Adam came in and got on with a lot of the girls. Did that impact Jacques’ decision to leave? That would be something Jacques would have to explain.”
Prior to his exit playing out on screen, Jacques’ family urged viewers to be kind to him, explaining that some of his behaviour in the villa could have been caused by his ADHD.
“By no means is this a get out clause for his actions but it is to show that he can fundamentally struggle with his emotions at times,” they said on Instagram.
Upon announcing his departure to his fellow contestants, Jacques said in the Beach Hut: “I’d say in the last week, the only thing keeping me in this place was Paige. That’s the only thing I was staying for. I’ve never felt this way for anyone so I just want to get home, be myself again and carry things on the outside.”
He added: “It’s just not fair on the girl she deserves better than me. It’s not the end of me and Paige because everyone knows what she means to me.”
Love Island continues on Sunday at 9pm on ITV2, with Aftersun following straight after.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.