Will Celebrity Siblings Be Better Equipped To Deal With The Side Effects Of Love Island?

According to reports, AJ Pritchard’s younger brother, Curtis, is the first contestant joining the villa on June 3

curtis pritchard

by Bonnie McLaren |
Updated on

You might have heard of the first confirmed contestant for this year’s Love Island - or, at least, you’ve probably heard of his older brother. As reported by The Sun, Strictlyprofessional AJ Pritchard’s younger brother, Curtis, is the first confirmed name to be jetting off to Majorca. In fairness to him, in Ireland, Curtis is famous in his own right - because just like his brother - Curtis starred as a professional dancer on two series of Dancing With The Stars. (In fact, he was in a relationship with fellow Dancing with the Stars dancer Emily Barker for two years.) But those in the UK probably recognise him from when he appeared on the news, following an unprovoked attack while he was on a night out with his brother at the end of last year.

But Curtis isn’t the only famous-by-association name being tipped for the next series. The Daily Startoday reported that Tyson Fury’s 19-year-old younger brother and fellow boxer, Tommy, could also be joining Casa Amor. Earlier in the year, it was reported that presenter and former Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes’ ‘lookalike sister’ Soph was also being eyed up for the line up. And while EastEnders hardman Danny Dyer’s daughter, Dani, was crowned the queen of last year’s series - on the reserve bench, it was reported that Leigh-Anne Pinnock’s little sister, Sairah, was ready and waiting to take a slot on the show. (In the end, she didn’t.)

Whether all three of these names will end up on our TV screens from June 3 is uncertain, but undoubtedly researchers and producers are looking to recruit from the bloodlines of current small screen stars. But why? Well, TV psychologist Jo Hemmings tells Grazia there could be two reasons. The first being the chance of higher rating figures, and the second being that - following the criticism Love Island has received following the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis - people who are already kind of, sort of in the public eye might be better equipped to deal with the pressures of reality fame.

‘I think that maybe they’re hedging their bets a bit, and that they think by getting in celebrity siblings that it will have an impact on the ratings,’ she tells Grazia. ‘Because people who are fans of those celebrities will tune in to see their siblings and how they perform. But if you have a celebrity sibling, you will have seen what they’ve been through - and [their sibling] will be able to advise.So I think they are trying to minimise the risk, both in terms of viewing figures and in terms of how these people might cope and what back-up they might have.’

Similarly, Jo also believes that the current 23-year-old queen, Dani, handled herself so well - on the show, and in the midst of her breakup with fellow winner Jack Fincham - because she was able to turn to her media-savvy dad. ‘I’m sure that’s due to having the support of family, whether that’s mother, father, brother, sister who are in that world. I think they have definitely chosen that route to minimise the risk, as well as up the viewing figures.’

The behavioural psychologist also thinks that in order to help contestants, producers need to do more thorough mental health checks before selection - and that, crucially, producers need to be honest with wannabe contestants, taking the time to dispel the myth that their time on the show will transpire to instant, infinite fame. Jo believes it’s when this illusion shatters - after their promo deals and club tours inevitably dry up - that former contestants begin to really struggle. ‘Everybody wants to be the next Rylan,’ she says, referencing the Radio 2 presenter who somehow managed to carve a lucrative broadcast career out of being a joke contestant on X Factor in 2012. ‘They’ve seen one person do it, but many, many haven’t. Love Island isn’t necessarily the start of a journey to something like life lasting fame, riches, success. If you can look at Love Island as a self-contained incredible experience, as opposed to the start of something, then I think people might better adjust - because that’s the way it is for 99% of people.’

However, the psychologist advises that being a brother or a sister of a C-list celebrity might not always be a beneficial relationship - and that, actually, it could end up being an unforeseen problem for producers. ‘The only thing it is that might it might work against them if they saw it as their opportunity - if perhaps they had a resentment that they weren’t as successful as their brother or sister - to become as big, if not bigger, than their sibling,’ she explains. ‘It might pose an issue - because they will probably put more pressure on themselves than Joe Public.’

Love Island will soon be returning to screens, and with it, each move by ITV is likely to be scrutinised like never before. It’s yet to be seen whether or not more celebrity relatives will be joining Curtis this summer, but regardless, hopefully the changes the broadcaster have promised to put in place - including therapy and more stringent testing before the show - mean that contestants picked will be in the best possible place to deal with the very modern pressures of instant - and very quickly dwindling - fame.

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