'Love Island' star Sophie Gradon battled depression, anxiety and felt 'f****ed up' after being on the show
Sophie Gradon opened up about the toll that appearing on the reality TV show 'Love Island' took on her mental health and well-being before her tragic and untimely death on June 20. The former Miss Great Britain who became a contestant on Love Island died at the age of 32. After Sophie left the reality TV show two years ago, she had admitted that the extremely intense experience left her feeling "f***ed up".
As reported by Mirror, Gradon passed away on Wednesday evening under non-suspicious circumstances. About three months ago, the actress revealed that "crippling anxiety" had left her feeling extremely scared and vulnerable to even leave the house.
In the month of April, she tweeted, "Catching up with so many friends and going so many places feels so good! Thinking back to when I became a total recluse, afraid to go out anywhere because of crippling anxiety and how different my life is now!!! Facing up to your fears is sometimes the hardest but most rewarding thing!!!"
In the year 2016, just weeks after Gradon had left the villa, she was asked by a fan if she would ever want to return to the villa. "God, I don't know. It was the most stressed/anxious/f***ed up I've ever been in my life!" was her reply.
Another fan asked her, "Would you recommend applying for 'Love Island'?" to which she responded, "Not if you suffer from anxiety or depression. It's a very testing environment where a lot goes on that you don't see." Sophie also helped a fan and gave the fan some advice and tips on how to cope with anxiety. "Exercise. Take time to be alone and focus on you and things you enjoy," Sophie advised.
It seemed like the TV star had learned how to cope and live with her anxiety when, in March 2017, she tweeted, "Anxiety is real!". She also advised her fans, "Unplug. Go back to basics and appreciate the simple things #slowdown #justbreathe." The cause of Sophie's death is currently unclear.
A spokesperson from Northumbria Police said, "At about 8:27 pm yesterday police attended a property in Medburn, Ponteland, where sadly a 32-year-old woman was found deceased. There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. A report will now be prepared for the coroner."
Sophie is being mourned by her family and her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong who confirmed her death via Sophie's personal Facebook account. Aaron also posted a picture of the two of them and wrote on his Facebook, "I will never forget that smile. I love you so so much, baby. You are my world forever ever and always."
Many of her friends have taken to social media to express their condolences. Olivia Buckland, who was in the villa with Sophie, tweeted, "Awful, awful news this morning. I am gutted. I am so sorry the world failed you. You were such an intricate, creative, intelligent soul. Words fail me."
She further added, "You helped us through so much. Your smile was one in a million. The world failed. I send all my love and my thoughts to you today. To your family and your loved ones. I cannot work out what to say. RIP, you beautiful, beautiful woman. I’m so lucky to have met you. #stayshapey"
Sophie Gradon made history on 'Love Island' in the year 2016 by becoming one half of the show's first same-sex couple after she got together with Katie Salmon.
Katie took to Twitter to share a tribute to her friend and wrote, "Isn't it crazy how someone so stunning, so smiley and appeared so happy can feel no way out. The world we live in behind social media. I urge everyone to be kind to every person they meet and speak with on social media and in person a simple smile a simple nice comment can really make a difference, you really don't know the battle they go through every single day."
"The world has failed you, beautiful. I'm heartbroken for you, Soph, to have felt this pain. I wish there was more help out there. Your smile will be remembered forever. My thoughts are with your family friends and love ones at this horrendous time. To you, I'm sending all my love, I truly am, to everyone who had the pleasure of ever being in her company," Katie continued.
"Such an awful day my heart is broken & goes out to the very one effected," fellow Islander Cara de la Hoyde tweeted.
2018 'Love Island' contestant Hayle Hughes tweeted, "In lost of words right now 😔! RIP @sophiegradon such an amazing and beautiful girl ❤️❤️" Fellow former Miss Newcastle and reality TV star Holly Hagan said, "You were only helping me battle the Twitter trolls yesterday. Rest in peace beautiful."
Rebecca Jane, 'Big Brother' star also tweeted, "I nearly just messaged @sophiegradon to tell her about the fake news going around that she’s passed, but it’s actually true! You beautiful, beautiful young girl! If only you’d told me what you were going through. Devastated. No one ever knows what’s going on behind closed doors 😢". The tweet has led many to believe that Sophie may have taken her own life.
Many of her followers, who assumed she is speaking of Sophie left messages such as, "so sad poor Sophie" and "I’m in shock about poor Sophie gradon RIP I’m crying xxxxx" in response to Holly's touching message.