Love Island shock as TOWIE legend Joey Essex walks into villa as a bombshell to mixed fan reaction

Fans of ITV2's Love Island were thrilled by the unexpected arrival of Joey Essex 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, a first for the long-running reality TV programme. While previous Islanders like Adam Collard and Kady McDermott have returned to the villa for another chance at finding love on national television, Joey is the first well-known celebrity to join the show as a contestant.

This surprise 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!

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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!

More recently, Joey - who was once engaged to fellow TOWIE star Sam Faiers - took on the Australian jungle in the 8th series of "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! " down under, securing a respectable sixth place. Fast forward to 2023, and he skated his way to becoming the runner-up in the 15th series of " Dancing on Ice."

Joey is set to spice up the Love Island villa with his bombshell entrance, as revealed in the cliffhanger of tonight's series premiere. The reality TV star made a striking impression with his buzzcut, leaving viewers gobsmacked.


Twitter immediately lit up with reactions, one viewer humorously tweeted: "Joey essex coming in as a bombshell in love island was not on my 2024 bingo card #loveIsland," following his unexpected appearance. The official Love Island account added to the frenzy by sharing Joey's image with the caption: "The only way is... Essex. The #LoveIsland Villa just got a bit more 'reem' as Joey Essex has arrived to find his future wife."

The Twitterverse continued to buzz, with one user commenting on the oddity: "I DONT KNOW WHATS MORE WEIRD, JOEY ESSEX BEING ON LOVE ISLAND OR HIM BEING 33," and another expressing discontent: "Why would they bring Joey Essex? Just ruining the dynamic every year by bringing a 'celeb'."

However, some fans were thrilled by the surprise, with a tweet reading: "okay joey essex walking in was a GAG and a half #loveisland."

Earlier this year, Joey Essex certainly turned heads when he revealed his new look on Instagram, hinting at a possible move abroad. The 33 year old, who is a cousin to TOWIE's Chloe Sims, has been frequently seen in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), fuelling speculation that he might be considering Dubai as a permanent base.

Rumours about Joey contemplating a move to Dubai began swirling around last April, with suggestions that he was looking to snap up a luxury apartment in the opulent metropolis to facilitate easy travel between the UK and UAE.

His Instagram posts often suggested that Dubai was becoming more than just a holiday destination; it seemed to be becoming a second "home" for him, as evidenced by numerous photos of his time spent there. Yet, this past April saw Joey return to the UK after an extensive period of travelling, which included a stint in the US where his cousins Chloe, Charlie, Demi, and Frankie Sims were shooting their reality show.

On a previous trip to California, Joey debuted a bold new look a sharp buzz cut which quickly garnered praise from his Instagram followers. He regularly shared pictures showcasing his revamped appearance, and in February, he accompanied a selfie with a cryptic message: "My dreams reach to a world that doesn't exist, but I'll see you soon anyway."

Joey's new appearance was showered with compliments from his fans. One used high praise: "Best I've ever seen you look." Another joined in, stating: "Looking smooth dude." The majority of the comments aimed towards Joey were positive, with phrases like "Love the buzz cut," and a fan adding, "It suits [you]."

Lateysha Grace, a friend of Joey's, expressed her approval for the new haircut, exclaiming: "Joey the short hair suits you loads! " It was apparent that his followers greatly appreciated the new hairstyle.