Love Island star Joe Garratt has defended himself against ‘gaslighting’ accusations, claiming he “didn’t manipulate or abuse” fellow contestant Lucie Donlan and that he has “nothing to be sorry for.”
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, the 22-year-old - who was dumped from the villa in Tuesday night’s episode - clapped back against the criticism, saying he’s “gutted that it has been perceived in that way, because it wasn’t like that at all.”
Garratt’s behaviour on the ITV2 reality show came under scrutiny last week, when he told her to stop spending so much time with the other male contestants - in particular Tyson Fury’s brother, Tommy.
His “possessive” attitude reportedly saw over 300 complaints filed to TV watchdog Ofcom. When Women’s Aid issued a public statement condemning his treatment of Donlan, several viewers took to social media to urge show bosses to intervene.
Garratt’s comments left Donlan, 21, in tears. And her misery didn’t stop there either, as other contestants started pressuring her to hang out with the girls more from then on.
“I always had Lucie’s best interests at heart and I promise you I would do everything and anything to help her because she had a hard time in there and didn’t get on with the girls,” Garratt told the publication.
“I was trying to help her and make her experience as amazing as possible. I thought I did right. I am not going to say sorry.”
The 22-year-old blamed his age and “inexperience” with relationships, as well as the round-the-clock filming of the show.
“I may have worded things wrong and the cameras are on you 24/7. I may have slipped up a bit but I am only human.
“Maybe some things have come out differently to what they are. I just hope people can see me for who I genuinely am and what I genuinely am. I am not that person.”
He went on to discuss how different it is when you start dating someone in the real world compared to beginning a relationship inside the villa.
“I think the intense nature of it all and when fellow Islanders said stuff to me – it would never bother me normally - but because you are in there and you get told things constantly you are like ‘am I OK with these things?’
“I generally was but you feel that heightened pressure and you have these conversations and you have to address things.”
Referencing former contestant Sherif Lanre’s removal, Garratt added that “if it was how people said it was, [he] would have been removed.
“They do take precautions in there.”
Love Island continues on ITV2 at 9pm. Tonight’s episode will see the arrival of a new Islander, 28-year-old model Arabella Chi.