Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis’ mothers warn contestants to ‘walk away now before it’s too late’

The mothers of the late Love Island stars Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis have warned the new cast to ‘walk away now before it’s too late’.  

It comes after Sophie’s mum Deborah, 62, called for disciplinary action against ITV and demanded that the seventh series of the show – scheduled to air on June 28 – to be cancelled. 

She said to The Sunday Mirror on Saturday: ‘It’s a disgrace that they should be allowed to bring it back after three adored, precious people with connections to the show have taken their own lives.’ 

The mothers of the late Love Island stars Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis have warned the new cast to 'walk away now before it's too late' after they met for the first time this week (pictured Deborah Gradon)

The mothers of the late Love Island stars Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis have warned the new cast to 'walk away now before it's too late' after they met for the first time this week (pictured Deborah Gradon)

Mike's mother Shirley Thalassitis sat down with Deborah for the first time at The Mayfair Hotel in London on for an emotional meeting

Mike's mother Shirley Thalassitis sat down with Deborah for the first time at The Mayfair Hotel in London on for an emotional meeting

The mothers of the late Love Island stars Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis have warned the new cast to ‘walk away now before it’s too late’ after they met for the first time this week 

Sophie, 32, died by suicide in 2018 and Mike, 26, in March a year later after both taking part in Love Island.

MailOnline have contacted Love Island representatives for comment. 

Deborah and Mike’s mum Shirley met for the first time this week at The Mayfair Hotel in London.  

In emotional scenes, both women broke down in tears as they consoled one another for the loss of their children.  

Deborah tearfully told Shirley: ‘I’ve wanted you to know I’ve been thinking of you for so long.’ 

Tragic: Shirley's son Mike, 26, died by suicide in March 2019 after taking part in Love Island in 2017

Tragic: Shirley's son Mike, 26, died by suicide in March 2019 after taking part in Love Island in 2017

Tragic: Shirley’s son Mike, 26, died by suicide in March 2019 after taking part in Love Island in 2017

The mothers also revealed that neither of them can stand to watch the show, with Deborah admitting even the theme tune makes her feel sick.  

She also slammed the way she thinks ITV select contestants through social media and cause drama for ratings. 

Deborah claimed her much-loved daughter Sophie was never the same again after taking part in the reality series. 

She warned the upcoming contestants of this year’s series: ‘They don’t understand just how much the overnight fame and the trolling can affect them. They should walk away before it’s too late,’ she added. 

Heartbreaking: Deborah's daughter Sophie died by suicide in 2018 after being a contestant on the show in 2016

Heartbreaking: Deborah's daughter Sophie died by suicide in 2018 after being a contestant on the show in 2016

Heartbreaking: Deborah’s daughter Sophie died by suicide in 2018 after being a contestant on the show in 2016 

Together, Deborah and Shirley combed ITV’s plan for a new Love Island safeguarding package that they’re introducing this year.   

Contestants will now receive in-depth press training and professional advice on how to deal with comments from trolls.

Additionally, they’ll receive financial guidance so they don’t spend all of their prize money or later earnings.   

The channel will also offer Islanders a 14-month-long ‘proactive aftercare package’, which will include at least eight sessions with a therapist.   

'It’s a disgrace that they should be allowed to bring it back after three adored, precious people with connections to the show have taken their own lives.' (pictured: Mike with Shirley)

'It’s a disgrace that they should be allowed to bring it back after three adored, precious people with connections to the show have taken their own lives.' (pictured: Mike with Shirley)

‘It’s a disgrace that they should be allowed to bring it back after three adored, precious people with connections to the show have taken their own lives.’ (pictured: Mike with Shirley) 

As a further precaution, ITV has hired the clinical psychologist Dr Matthew Gould and physician Dr Paul Litchfield. 

However, Deborah has dismissed the new measures and expressed her concern that execs can’t predict how taking part in the show can affect contestants.   

She also added she wouldn’t be happy until the show was taken off television completely. 

At the meeting, Deborah and Shirley combed ITV's plan for a new Love Island safeguarding package that they're introducing this year (pictured: Montana Brown hugging Shirley at the inquest into Mike's death in 2019)

At the meeting, Deborah and Shirley combed ITV's plan for a new Love Island safeguarding package that they're introducing this year (pictured: Montana Brown hugging Shirley at the inquest into Mike's death in 2019)

At the meeting, Deborah and Shirley combed ITV’s plan for a new Love Island safeguarding package that they’re introducing this year (pictured: Montana Brown hugging Shirley at the inquest into Mike’s death in 2019)

It comes after Deborah revealed earlier this year that she’d been diagnosed with a brain tumour that had been linked to her daughter’s death. 

Deborah spoke about her health issues and admitted that every day since her daughter died has been ‘agony’ in a candid interview with The Mirror

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.

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.’

Family: Sophie's mum Deborah previously revealed she's got a brain tumour, saying it could have been caused by the 'stress' of her daughter's tragic death (pictured together)

Family: Sophie's mum Deborah previously revealed she's got a brain tumour, saying it could have been caused by the 'stress' of her daughter's tragic death (pictured together)

Family: Sophie’s mum Deborah previously revealed she’s got a brain tumour, saying it could have been caused by the ‘stress’ of her daughter’s tragic death (pictured together)

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. 

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. 

Emotional: Reflecting on the loss of her daughter (pictured in 2016), Deborah said 'every day is agony'

Emotional: Reflecting on the loss of her daughter (pictured in 2016), Deborah said 'every day is agony'

Emotional: Reflecting on the loss of her daughter (pictured in 2016), Deborah said ‘every day is agony’ 

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. 

Struggle: Deborah said that Sophie (pictured in 2009)  revealed to her she needed counselling when on Love Island but was told she could have just 10 minutes on a Skype call

Struggle: Deborah said that Sophie (pictured in 2009)  revealed to her she needed counselling when on Love Island but was told she could have just 10 minutes on a Skype call

Struggle: Deborah said that Sophie (pictured in 2009)  revealed to her she needed counselling when on Love Island but was told she could have just 10 minutes on a Skype call 

‘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.’ 

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.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or see samaritans.org for details 

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