LOVE Island's Mike Thalassitis was in what his friend Montana Brown called an "unhealthy relationship" with a "toxic person".
The Love Island star tragically took his own life in March 2019 at the age of 26.
His friend and co-star Montana opened up about her pal saying there was "so much to the story that people did not know".
Speaking on Mouthing Off with Olivia Caridi, Montana said: "For me this was a really tricky time, not just because of his death but because I was focused around his death press wise.
"There was so much to the story that people didn't know. If there is a story that comes out about someone close to you and it's fake and it's lies and it's not true.
"If the truth involves somebody else and throwing somebody else under the bus even though it's the truth you can't say it. And this is something that I really struggled with."
The Love Island beauty explained that her friend was in an "unhealthy relationship" which she believed impacted on his mental health significantly.
She explained: "Mike was in a relationship, a very unhealthy relationship before he passed away and that had massive massive massive implications on his mental health and I think nobody really knew that.
"I knew he was struggling because of the situation because he was in a very toxic relationship with a very toxic person and this never came to light and I knew that was a contribution to what happened to him.
"Not saying it was all on that because we all have toxic relationships that get us in a very dark place but I know that was a big contributing factor."
Montana also opened up about her mental health struggles since she appeared on the dating show in 2017.
She said: "It can affect you long-term, I had never suffered with anxiety before I went on that show and I don't no anybody from the entertainment industry from the show that doesn't suffer with anxiety.
"It's really hard because I feel like so many people say 'you're so lucky, what do you have to feel anxious about?'"
Speaking about her pal Mike, Montana said: "I think they see people as disposable. With Mike specifically the way he came across on TV was not how he was.
"It's just the saddest thing because I wish people had more of a chance to see him for who he truly was and he was such a beautiful person and I honestly loved him to bits, he was such a good friend to me.
"The stress and the pressure of having to keep up the appearance of havinga certain lifestyle, that is where the pressure comes for people who come off reality TV shows,because people are afraid to admit defeat."
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
An inquest heard how Mike killed himself after a cocaine and booze binge and left suicide notes next to his body.
Mike was believed to have been grieving the death of his 94-year-old gran and faced mounting debts before his death.
Montana previously revealed that he'd been in a "dark place" in the months before, having shot to fame on Love Island in 2017.
She broke down in tears on This Morning shortly after the news broke as she revealed that Mike had texted her before his suicide and she hadn't replied.
She wept at the time: "I spoke to him two days before. But I'm kicking myself because he text me but I didn't actually reply. I'm really bad on my phone. I wish I had replied."
Love Island bosses overhauled their duty of care following the star's death, saying that all would be able to access therapy sessions, social media and financial training, and a minimum of 14 months of 'proactive' contact after appearing on the show.
The Sun also revealed last month that producers had ramped up psychological testing ahead of the new series following Mike, Sophie Gradon, and Caroline Flack's tragic deaths.
Sophie shot to fame in the 2016 series of the show and took her own life in June 2018, with her heartbroken boyfriend Aaron Armstrong doing the same just 20 days later.
And in February 2020, host Caroline was found dead at her London home aged 40, having also taken her own life.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.
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