Sophie Gradon: Friend says ‘Love Island needs to offer more aftercare’

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    Sophie GradonImage copyright PA

    Reality TV stars need to receive more care after leaving shows like Love Island, a former contestant has said.

    Malin Andersson featured on Love Island in 2016 alongside Sophie Gradon, who was found dead on Wednesday night. Police are not treating her death as suspicious.

    She described her friend as having an infectious smile and said she was “always so upbeat and so happy”.

    But Malin says there’s a “downside to reality TV” that people don’t see.

    “There just needs to be more done about it and a lot more aftercare provided by certain reality TV shows,” she told Newsbeat.

    Malin and Sophie formed a close bond during series two of Love Island and stayed in touch afterwards.

    “She did talk to me a lot about personal situations quite close to when the show had finished.

    “It was a shock for both of us when we came out of the villa, and I completely understood where she was coming from because I felt the same.”

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Malin says reality TV is a “weird industry to be in”

    Malin says she last heard from her friend a few days ago and news of her death came as as a shock.

    “I didn’t believe it. A close friend of mine rang me and told me.

    I thought it was a joke or something. It still hasn’t sunk in to be honest and I don’t think it will for a while.”

    Malin says reality TV is a “weird industry” to be involved in and she hinted she has had her own struggles.

    “It’s like you’re constantly reaching for some kind of high and when work dies down and things go quiet you’re constantly trying to chase it – and that’s where depression can kick in.

    “A lot of fellow friends that have been on shows have said the same, and it’s something that’s not looked into as much.

    “It’s really serious. I’ve been there myself and it’s horrible.”

    Newsbeat has contacted Love Island for a comment.

    For advice and information on mental health visit the BBC Advice pages.

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    Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here.

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