Love Island star Sophie Gradon’s mum Deborah says daughter’s death has left her with a brain tumour
Sophie Gradon’s mother has revealed she’s got a brain tumour, saying it could have been caused by the ‘stress’ of her daughter’s tragic death.
Deborah, 62, spoke about her health issues and admitted that every day since her daughter died has been ‘agony’ in a candid interview with The Mirror.
The Love Island star, 32, appeared on the 2016 series of the ITV show and took her own life in June 2018.
Deborah explained that in the years following Sophie’s death she started suffering from blurred vision and a loss of balance so went to see a specialist.
Family: Sophie Gradon’s mother Deborah has revealed she’s got a brain tumour, saying it could have been caused by the ‘stress’ of her daughter’s tragic death (pictured together)
She said: ‘I was told I had an endocrine tumour in my pituitary gland in my brain. He said it could well have been due to the stress of everything.’
Although not cancerous, Deborah said the tumour’s position makes it dangerous and she often suffers from chronic fatigue.
The grieving mother also candidly spoke about life without Sophie, saying that each day is a struggle but she keeps going as she wants to tackle trolls and see new measures brought in to stop them after her own daughter was targeted.
Tragic: The Love Island star, 32, appeared on the 2016 series of the ITV show and took her own life in June 2018 after being intensely trolled online (pictured on the show)
Reflecting on the awful loss, Deborah told the publication: ‘Every day is agony. The pain is visceral. You almost lose your mind and don’t know who you are any more.
‘I don’t want Sophie’s death to be in vain… the Government needs to do more. If a beautiful, clever girl can be destroyed by public humiliation, then anyone can.’
She added that she thinks trolls should be named and shamed after sending cruel messages and put on a trolls register.
Deborah revealed that she experienced a taste of how horrible trolling can be while managing Sophie’s Twitter during her Love Island stint. She said that messages ranged from criticising her daughter’s eyelashes to saying ‘I hope you get cancer’.
Struggle: Deborah, 62, spoke about her health issues and admitted that every day since her daughter died has been ‘agony’ (Sophie is pictured in a promo shot for Love Island in 2016)
Deborah also said that she agrees with Katie Price’s campaign that an ID should be required to set up a social media account, meaning firms can trace trolls easier.
Turning her attentions to future series of Love Island, Deborah said that she would tell anyone thinking about going on not to do it, claiming that contestants are not cared about and instead ‘exploited’.
Deborah claimed that Sophie revealed to her she needed counselling when on Love Island but was told she could have just 10 minutes on a Skype call.
She claimed that the guidelines on the show as just ‘smoke and mirrors’, adding that Sophie was on sertraline for bipolar depression and ‘vulnerable’.
A Love Island spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Welfare and duty of care towards our contributors is always our primary concern, and we have extensive measures in place to support the islanders before, during and after their participation on the show.
Awful: After Sophie’s tragic death in June 2018, the body of Mike Thalassitis, 26, (right) was found near his home in 2019
Devastating: Former Love Island host Caroline Flack also took her own life on February 15 2020
‘We have continued to evolve our process with each series, as the level of social media and media attention around the islanders has increased, which includes enhanced psychological support, more detailed conversations with potential Islanders regarding the impact of participation on the show, bespoke training for all Islanders on social media and a proactive aftercare package.’
The show also has a number of measures in place to help contestants which include pre-filming psychological and medical assessments including ones by an independent doctor.
Any potential islanders are also required to disclose any relevant medical history and there is a senior team on the ground who have received training in Mental Health First Aid.
Provisions are also in place for once contestants leave the villa, with a minimum of eight therapy sessions being provided to each Islander when they return home.
Action: Deborah has also called for tougher action on trolls, saying: ‘If a beautiful, clever girl can be destroyed by public humiliation, then anyone can’ (Sophie is pictured)
There is also training on dealing with social media and finance advice as they adjust to life post-villa and ITV will stay in contact with the contestant for 14 months after their series has ended.
Deborah previously slammed the Parliamentary inquiry into reality TV after Caroline Flack became the third person involved in Love Island to take their own life.
After Sophie’s death, fellow Love Island alum Mike Thalassitis, 26, was found near his home in 2019. Host of the show Caroline Flack, 40, was then found dead in 2020.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport had previously set up its own inquiry into the deaths of Sophie and Mike as well as that of Jeremy Kyle guest Steve Dymond.
But the probe ended when Parliament was dissolved for the General Election in 2019.
Claims: Deborah previously accused the government of sweeping its reality TV inquiry probing her daughter’s suicide ‘under the carpet’
In February 2020, Deborah claimed the issue has been ‘swept under the carpet’ after the dissolution of Parliament for the General Election ended the probe.
She wrote: ‘Inquiry into ITVS duty of care to participants The DCMS Committee’s decision to launch the inquiry into reality TV comes after the death of a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show and the deaths of two former contestants in the reality dating show LoveIsland. NOW CONCLUDED #CarolinesLaw.
‘re previous: The Inquiry has not been concluded but swept under the carpet.
‘Not so much a lump but a Landmine. Truth, Respect & Honesty are not alot to ask for when precious lives are at risk. It’s our RIGHT. #CarolinesLaw #SophieGradon #MikeThalassitis.’
Love Island has not aired since February 2020 after both the summer 2020 and winter 2021 editions were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new series is rumoured to be the ‘biggest in history’, as ITV bosses gear up for the highly anticipated comeback later this year.
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or see samaritans.org for details
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