Just months after actress and television personality Caroline Flack took a step back from her position as the host of the British dating show “Love Island,” the 40y-year-old was found unresponsive in her East London flat. On Feb. 15, her family announced that Flack committed suicide.
Before her death, Flack was the face of British reality TV and played a significant role in the major successes of Love Island from its very beginning in 2015.
However, after she was arrested and charged with assault back in December, she felt it necessary to step down from her beloved host position. She did this in order for the show to maintain its popularity and positive reputation, previously stating in her Instagram story, “‘Love Island’ has been my world for the last five years, it’s the best show on telly. In order to not detract attention from the upcoming series, I feel the best thing I can do is to stand down for Series 6. I want to wish the incredible team working on the show a fantastic series in Cape Town.”
The incident that led to Flack’s arrest, and ultimately her resignation from the hit TV show, involved a physical altercation between herself and her boyfriend Lewis Burton, a British tennis star.
Flack was arrested for allegedly hitting Burton with a lamp during an argument. Although Burton didn’t press charges against Flack, England’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) did, resulting in Flack and Burton not being able to communicate until after the trial, which was set for March 4, less than a month after Flack’s death.
Although no one can be absolutely sure about what caused Flack to end her life, many have speculated that the ongoing stress and pressure of being in the spotlight were exacerbated when the CPS pressed charges against her. This negative attention led to months of Flack being harassed and bullied by the tabloids which used her personal issues as a form of entertainment and profit.
The Sun referred to the star as “Caroline Whack” when covering stories about her alleged assault on Burton. The same news outlet also published, and quickly removed an article covering a valentines day card that mocked Flack and her ongoing legal case.
Previous Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis also ended their own lives in recent years, which has further sparked a conversation about the true effect that reality TV, as well as the media, have on those in the public eye.
Because of this, over 850,000 people have signed a petition titled “Carolines Law”, which according to BBC News, would make bullying and harassment by the media a criminal, and punishable offense. The petition was sent to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport earlier this month.
No matter what the results are of this petition, and despite the controversy surrounding Flack before her death, it is clear that she was loved by everyone around her. Numerous stars, including Burton, who was unable to contact her before her death, took to social media to grieve the loss of their friend and idol after Flack’s passing. The CPS also announced that the case against Flack was closed due to her passing.