The newest season of Love Island has officially hit TV screens, with new host Maya Jama making her debut as host after Irish model and presenter Laura Whitmore announced that she would be stepping down as the face of the ITV2 dating show.
Whitmore had taken over the role in 2020 from Caroline Flack and made the decision last year to pass the torch on to someone else.
What did she say about leaving Love Island?
In August 2022, Whitmore confirmed that she would not be hosting the next series of Love Island via a statement posted on her Instagram account.
Alongside a screengrab of herself on the ITV2 show, Whitmore wrote: “Some news! I won’t be hosting the next series of Love Island.
“There are certain elements of the show I’ve found very difficult that cannot be changed some due to the format, including flying back and forth to South Africa along with my new conflicting projects.
“I wish it was still possible but know you’ll be in safe hands. I was only planning to fill in for Caroline for a series and it turned into 3 series.
“I hope I did you proud Caroline [heart emoji]”
A number of former Love Island contestants commented on the post, including Tasha Ghouri, who made it to the final of the most recent season with boyfriend Andrew Le Page, who wrote: “You smashed it!!”
Faye Winter, from season seven, also commented: “[Flack] really would be proud! You done incredibly”
“Gutted to hear this. You were amazing,” Paige Turley, winner of the winter series of Love Island in 2020, added.
What did ITV say?
Regarding Whitmore’s departure, an ITV spokesperson said: "Laura has been a fantastic host across the last three series of the show.
“We are so grateful for everything she has brought to the programme but understand and respect her decision, and we look forward to working with her on upcoming ITV projects."
Why did she leave?
Following the announcement that she would be leaving the show, Whitmore spoke about the toll that hosting the show takes on her in an interview with the Distraction Pieces podcast with Scroobius Pip.
She said: “With stuff with Love Island, it’s just a bit exhausting sometimes because some of the stuff is just mental. As a host, this takes up not a huge amount of time compared to my other work. It’s over eight weeks.
“The host only comes on three or four times, it’s always been the way, but it gets the most attention. It’s a bit exhausting and it’s tough.”
In an interview with The Times, Whitmore discussed the controversy surrounding the show in regards to concerns about things like the mental health of contestants, misogyny and allegations of bullying.
She said: “It is hard. Your face is the front of the show but I am one tiny person and have no producing role so I couldn’t say if I didn’t think something was OK. If your child is watching, maybe you should watch it with them and have a conversation. A friend watched with her daughter and told her that it is not OK to say certain things. I question things a lot, even if I don’t do it publicly — people would rather I didn’t. It’s difficult doing that when you work on the show. I can do better things from not being on it.”
She added that she wasn’t really allowed to interact with the contestants outside of the live final.
Whitmore said: “When they were in the villa, sometimes I wanted to ask if they were OK and couldn’t. But I wouldn’t have done anything differently.”
Since her departure, Whitmore has taken part in a variety of projects, including starring in London’s West End in 2:22 A Ghost Story, and developing her own documentary series called Laura Whitmore Investigates which is set to air this year.