Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide that some readers may find upsetting.
Love Island star Katie Salmon has responded to claims made by fellow season 2 star Tom Powell.
According to The Mirror, in an Instagram Live Powell suggested that show producers "manipulated" a same-sex kiss between Salmon and the late Sophie Gradon.
Speaking to PinkNews, Salmon shared her perspective and said that "this information is false" and added that her relationship with Gradon was "completely natural".
Salmon explained: "I haven’t ever spoken to Tom off the show or on the show apart from a bust up that happened on television.
"The relationship that happened between me and Sophie was completely natural and real, and I don’t think he should be making comments regarding a relationship/connection that he wasn’t a part of, or speak on behalf of us for that matter."
Salmon, Powell and Gradon appeared together on the ITV reality show in 2016. During their time on the programme, Powell and Salmon were both coupled up with Gradon.
Gradon was first in a pair with Powell and later in the series went out on a date with Salmon. The relationship between Gradon and Salmon is the first and only same-sex couple on the show to date.
In 2018, Gradon died by suicide at the age of 32. At the time, Salmon posted a sweet tribute on social media to her ex-partner.
"Isn't it crazy how someone so stunning, so smiley and appeared so happy can feel no way out," Salmon said in the statement.
She added: "The world has failed you beautiful. I'm heartbroken for you Soph to have to feel this pain. I wish there was more help out there.
"Your smile will be remembered forever. My thoughts are with your family, friends and loved ones at this horrendous times. Too young, too sweet, too kind."
Love Island will continue on ITV2, and is available via catch up on ITV Hub.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
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