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If you’ve been watching the new season, you may be wondering: Why did Laura Whitmore leave Love Island UK and why isn’t she the host season 9?

Whitmore, an Irish media personality and model, became the host of Love Island UK in season 6 in 2020 after the series’ original host, Caroline Flack, retired in 2019. Flack was found dead on February 15, 2020, in her home in London, England. She was 40 years old. Her death was ruled a suicide by hanging. “Everybody at Love Island and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news. Caroline was a much loved member of the Love Island team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends,” ITV, the network Love Island UK airs on, said in a statement at the time.

In an interview on the “White Wine Question Time” podcast in 2020, Whitmore, who was close friends with Flack, opened up about the former host’s death. “I’m OK,” Whitmore said at the time. “I just got back from South Africa yesterday. I think it’s really good to talk. [But] part of me just wants to lock myself away and not talk to anyone.” She continued, continued: “I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I am and sometimes I feel guilty. I’m like, ‘I’m fine, I’m here, I’m OK. It’s people who aren’t here, the family of Caroline, and I feel guilty for so many people asking how I am because I’m here. It’s a weird one. I don’t really know how I am. It changes and then sometimes I’ll be watching TV and I’ll laugh at something and you feel guilty for laughing and then you’ll forget and then you’ll remember so kind of all over the place.”

In August 2022, Whitmore announces she was leaving as the host of Love Island UK after three seasons. So…why did Laura Whitmore leave Love Island UK? Read on for what we know about why Laura Whitmore left as Love Island UK‘s host.

Why did Laura Whitmore leave Love Island UK?

Laura Whitmore

Image: Gareth Cattermole/BFC/Getty Images for BFC.

Why did Laura Whitmore leave Love Island UK? Whitmore announced she was leaving as the host of Love Island UK in an Instagram post in August 2022, in which she explained that scheduling and flying back and forth between the United Kingdom and South Africa, where Love Island UK films, had become too much for her. “Some news! I won’t be hosting the next series of Love island. There are certain elements of the show I’ve found very difficult that cannot be changed some due to the format, including the flying back and forth to South Africa along with my new conflicting project,” she captioned a photo of her from her final season on Love Island UK season season 8.  “I wish it was still possible but know you’ll be in safe hands. I was only planning to fill in for Caroline for a series and it turned into 3 series. I hope I did you proud Caroline ❤️” 

ITV, the network Love Island UK airs on, also confirmed Whitmore’s exit in a statement. “Laura has been a fantastic host across the last three series of the show. We are so grateful for everything she has brought to the programme but understand and respect her decision, and we look forward to working with her on upcoming ITV projects,” the statement read. (Whitmore’s husband, Iain Stirling, who is the Love Island UK narrator, continues to narrate the show.)

In an interview with Psychologies magazine in December 2022, Whitmore revealed that part of the reason she quit Love Island UK was because she was prevented from helping contestants. “There was only so much I can do as a host – I couldn’t support them or not support them. I couldn’t say anything,” she said. “So you kind of have to go quiet, and that was hard for me because I like to be able to have those conversations. If I could [have done] things the way I wanted to, I’d probably still be doing it.”

She continued, “When they were in the villa, sometimes I wanted to ask if they were OK and couldn’t. But I wouldn’t have done anything differently.” Whitmore also told Psychologies that she found it “difficult” to not comment on the many controversies that occur each season. “It is hard,” she said. “Your face is the front of the show but I am one tiny person and have no producing role so I couldn’t say if I didn’t think something was OK.”

She continued, “If your child is watching, maybe you should watch it with them and have a conversation. A friend watched with her daughter and told her that it is not OK to say certain things. I question things a lot, even if I don’t do it publicly, people would rather I didn’t. It’s difficult doing that when you work on the show.”

Still, Whitmore told Psychologies that she was “proud” of the work she did on Love Island UK despite her issues with the production. “Love Island is a show that I love to watch, and I always want to work on shows that I enjoy. But there’s nothing more that I can do with it. There are parameters,” she said. “When you work on the show, you can’t really talk about certain things. But I’m really proud of what I did, and proud to leave on what I think has been a brilliant series, with great winners.”

Who replaced Laura Whitmore as the Love Island UK host?

Maya Jama

Image: David M. Benett/Jed Cullen/Dave Benett/Getty Images.

Who replaced Laura Whitmore as the Love Island UK host? ITV announced in October 2022 that television and radio presenter Maya Jama would replace Whitmore as the new Love Island UK host. “I’ve always been such a massive Love Island fan and I’m so excited to be hosting one of the nation’s favourite shows! I can’t wait to get into the Villa to meet all of the Islanders,” Jama said in a statement at the time.

“Finding a new host to follow the wonderful Laura Whitmore was never going to be easy. In Maya Jama though, we have another high-profile fan of the show who’ll be a great addition to the Love Island family. Cool, charming and charismatic, I speak for us all when I say Maya will also bring a unique presenting style to the show, as did Laura and, of course, the very much missed Caroline Flack. We’re very pleased to have her on board,” Paul Mortimer, Director of Reality Programming at ITV2, added in a statement.

Jama is an English television and radio host and DJ, who is best known for hosting BBC One’s Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer in 2020 and BBC Three’s Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star since season 3. Jama also hosted 4Music’s Trending Live! from 2015 to 2017, ITV’s Cannoball in 2017, and MTV’s True Love or True Lies in 2018. She also hosted the first season of Channel 4’s The Circle. As for radio, Jama hosted Rinse FM’s #DriveWithMaya from 2014 to 2017 and BBC Radio 1’s Maya Jama from 2018 to 2020. She also co-hosted the stations Radio 1’s Greatest Hits. 

Whitmore reacted to news Jama was the new host of Love Island UK in a comment on the show’s Instagram post announcing Jama in October 2022. “Yes girl!! So delighted for you! You’re gonna be fab,” Whitmore commented at the time with a a red heart emoji.

In an inteview with The Sunday Times in January 2023, Jama claimed that her young age prevented her from being hired as Love Island UK‘s host sooner. “Once you start doing TV, you meet a lot of producers through different shows, and the heads will be aware of talent. That’s weird to call yourself talent, isn’t it? I talk for a living. It’s not exactly tap dancing everywhere or performing a ballad,” she said. “So I think I’ve always been in their eyeline, but I was super young when the presenter shifts were happening in the past. They knew about me but I was always a bit too young, and obviously, there were previous hosts anyway.”

Love Island UK is available to stream on ITV2 with a VPN. Here’s how to watch it for free.

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