Jacques O'Neill 'scared of life' after death threats following Love Island exit

  • Jacques O'Neill speaks to Good Morning Britain

Jacques O'Neill has admitted he was "scared of life" after receiving death threats following his exit from Love Island.

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

Following his exit, Cumbrian O'Neill said appearing on the show was the "worst decision of my life".

And speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain on Thursday, 4 August, the 23-year-old said he wanted to "go into hiding".

"When I first came out it was very different for me. I was very scared. I was scared of life and what was to come next for me," he said.

"When I was in the holding villa after I left the actual villa, I just wanted my mum. All I wanted to do was just be with my mum and literally just go into hiding. I was getting so much hate and me and my mum were getting death threats and everything.

"I was like, 'mum, we just need to stay indoors, I’m going to delete social media and I’m never going to be seen'."

Jacques O'Neill said he 'just wanted to be with my mum' after quitting Love Island. Credit: Jacques O'Neill/Instagram

He also admitted he was "angry" at his mother, Janet Wright, for openly discussing that he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Speaking to Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard, he said: "When I got out, I was so ready to delete that but I was so angry with my mum. I was like, 'why have you put that out? It's looking like an excuse for my behaviour'."

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But things changed when other people praised him for opening up.

"If they’re thinking this, I can’t just turn my back on people who have ADHD. I need to stand up and actually do something," he said.

"I was getting fully grown men messaging me 'love you, you are an inspiration and role model'. I was overwhelmed with it all."

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

O'Neill's exit from Love Island came after viewers witnessed the ups and downs of his relationship with fellow Love Island contestant Paige Thorne.

Matters became tense 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.

But he told Good Morning Britain he had been encouraged by the support of fans since his departured.

He said: "I've been posting a lot saying thank you because if it wasn't for them I'd still be in that dark place when I got out. I still wouldn't want to leave the house."

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 said they have the option of re-signing their former player if he decides to resume his career.