Love Island's Jacques O'Neill 'in a better place' after quitting show

Jacques O'Neill with mum Janet
Jacques O'Neill, pictured with mum Janet. Credit: Jacques O'Neill/Instagram

Jacques O'Neill has told fans that he is in "such a better place mentally" since leaving Love Island.

The rugby player, who was released by Castleford Tigers to join the ITV2 show, prematurely quit the series earlier this month, telling fellow contestants he wanted to "get home and be myself again" after struggling with his mental health.

He has since described the experience as a "rollercoaster of emotions" and admitted that he "wasn’t mentally prepared" and "underestimated it massively".

But, writing on social media, the 23-year-old, from Cumbria, said he was on the mend after returning home – and thanked fans for their support.

He said: "I just want you all to know that I’m in such a better place mentally.

"A huge reason for that is because of all the love and support I have received! I’d be in a much darker place if it wasn’t for all of your kind words, so thank you again I appreciate it so much."

Jacques O'Neill left Castleford Tigers to join Love Island last month.

O'Neill was involved in a turbulent relationship with fellow Love Island contestant Paige Thorne.

Matters came to a head after the arrival of Adam Collard in the villa, following suggestions that Collard had commented on O'Neill's maturity.

The final episode featuring O'Neill showed him clearly struggling emotionally and in tears at points in the show.

O'Neill was in a relationship with Paige Thorne on the show. Credit: ITV2/Love Island

He told Paige: "I feel like I could be hurt here. In life I would rather get away from things than get hurt."

O'Neill later said he had watched back episodes that he "got the most hate for" and said: "I understand why I did. I’ve got a lot of work to do for myself to become a better person. I know my family come out and said about my ADHD while I was in the villa but that is no excuse for me.

"Yes, I might find certain things a lot more difficult than others but at the end of the day I need to take responsibility for my own actions and I’ll hold my hands up."

Since returning to the UK, O'Neill has been seen back at Castleford Tigers, but his long-term future has yet to be decided.

The club, which said its welfare officer would continue to support O'Neill, previously said it had the first option of re-signing him if he decided to resume his playing career.

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