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Love Island’s Charlie Brake says heavy drinking sparked ‘spiral into oblivion’

Love Island star Charlie Brake has admitted the alcohol and drug-fuelled events after leaving the show sent him 'spiralling into oblivion'.

Chelsea socialite turned entrepreneur Charlie, 26, appeared on series four of the reality show back in 2018 – and, as a millionaire, was soon dubbed the richest contestant ever to appear on Love Island.

Left "at a loose end" after finishing his degree in Sports and Events Management at a Switzerland university, Charlie was initially approached by ITV researchers to take part in Survival of the Fittest, a show which pitted girls against boys in a battle of the sexes.

"It wasn’t for me," Charlie told The Daily Star. "Then they said 'oh, we’ve got Love Island coming up, would you be interested?' so I said yeah, go on."

Charlie had watched the previous series and said it had him "hooked".

"I went in for the experience really, because how many people get the opportunity to do that?"

But reality TV wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for the Brakes catering heir, as after his Love Island tenure came to an end and he was ejected from the villa on Day 43, he found himself "spiralling into oblivion."

"Coming out of a show like that is pretty crazy. It was totally new to me – totally new to everyone – and that’s why I feel like I sort of let myself go," he explained. "I was always out and about drinking, and I started to become very lazy and unmotivated.

"I started to put on loads of weight and I didn’t really wanna do anything, and I definitely felt like I was spiralling into oblivion. I just wasn’t in a good place."

Charlie admitted the drug and alcohol-fuelled events that came as part of a package deal with reality TV didn’t help.

"Going on a show like that, you’ve got to go to all these events, with drinking and drugs – not that I take drugs, but drugs are obviously always going to be around. I think you start to see people for who they really are then," he said.

He isn't embarrassed to admit that he needed a couple of drinks to brave the initial audition, which he said was "quite tough".

"I hadn’t done any TV before that, so I had a few drinks to calm the nerves a bit for a bit of Dutch courage. I’d recommend that to anyone if they’re feeling slightly nervous – have a couple of drinks!"

It was only after the show ended that Charlie began to face up to the anxiety he was feeling.

"Is it directly from Love Island? Maybe, maybe not, it’s hard to say. But that’s where the anxiety started to manifest – in me not feeling good about myself. I’d hear people say ‘oh, he looks f***ing awful now’, and I guess it stemmed from that."

Charlie underwent an intensive fitness regime to shed the pounds he’d put on after the show wrapped.

In 2020, he revealed an impressive set of abs in a before-and-after photoset showcasing his weight loss.

Being constantly in front of the cameras also took its toll, with Charlie commenting: "Once you go into the villa, you know the cameras are there. I’d spoken to a few people before I went in, and they said you actually forget the cameras are even there, and I thought 'right, okay'. But I for one could not forget the cameras were on me at all times, it’s a weird one.

The Chelsea socialite said that aftercare is there "if you want it", and admitted MTV’s duty of care was "very good" – but said post-show therapy "definitely needs to be there".

"Some people are made for being in front of the camera, others aren’t. Would I say I’m made for it? Probably not, if I’m being perfectly honest."

That was made even more clear during his stint on Ex on the Beach alongside ex-girlfriend and Love Island co-star Ellie Brown.

The pair had an explosive row at the Love Island Christmas reunion, as Ellie accused Charlie of being a cheat.

"I never cheated on you," Charlie insisted at the time.

"I was devastated and I loved you to bits," a teary Ellie continued, leaving Charlie to snap back at that she was "spinning this so hard."

Ellie was frustrated because Charlie had publicly announced their break-up on his Instagram story – something she claims she wasn’t aware he would do.

But appearing on Celebrity Ex on the Beach alongside his ex was to be the "final nail in the coffin" of Charlie’s reality TV career.

"With Ellie, it was pretty nerve-wracking – we left it on fairly bad terms," he allowed. "The last time I had seen her was at the Love Island Christmas special, where there were fireworks, but I apologised and said what I needed to say, which was why I wanted to go in there in the first place," he explained.

Ellie admitted later on the Celebrity Ex on the Beach podcast that she wound up "confused" about his apology.

"I thought he was winding me up," she said at the time.

"I absolutely hated [EOTB], to be fair," Charlie told The Daily Star. "I was glad I was only in there for three days. I just didn’t gel with the people in there, and I couldn’t wait to get out.

"In that sense it was quite good, because I realised this is just not for me anymore and I wanted to move away from that.

"Ex on the Beach was really the final nail in the coffin for me in terms of the reality TV side of things," the star confessed.

But Charlie is looking to the future, turning from reality TV star into a seltzer connoisseur.

"I’ve always said never regret things you’ve done in the past, because at the right time it was the right thing for me. So I wouldn’t say I regret going on Love Island.

"But one thing is, when you’re out and about, when I started going back to the pub, people say 'oh, there’s that Charlie from Love Island', and that’s not really how I want to be known or thought of.

"That’s why I want to go down the entrepreneurial route, to really try and move away from reality TV and make a name for myself that way."

The millionaire has just launched his brand new vegan, low-calorie premium alcoholic seltzer, dubbed Naughty Water.

"Me and my business partner launched Naughty Water in lockdown, because there wasn’t much else to do," Charlie laughed. "My go-to drink was always a Skinny B*tch – vodka, soda and fresh lime – because I’m quite conscious when it comes to my calorie intake, and I like to go to the gym and stay in shape, so keeping tabs on that is important to me.

"Naughty Water is a male and female drink, although the majority of my followers are women. We wanted to branch out and make something that was really fun and eye-catching with the branding – like a piece of art you wouldn’t want to throw away," he said.

"It has a real premium, San Tropez kind of feel."

As for his love life, Charlie is currently single, but is "very much looking forward to getting back on the dating scene".

"But right now it’s very, very quiet on the Western front," he chuckled.

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And asked what advice he’d give to future Love Islanders, Charlie urged: "If you really want to go the whole hog, have a game plan. When I went into the villa everyone used to say 'just be yourself', but I’d say leave no stone unturned and really go for it. Definitely have a game plan."

But is it possible to forge a true romantic connection in the villa?

"In my personal experience, I’d say no. But you look at other couples and they’re still together, some are married with children, so it must be possible for them," Charlie said.

Naughty Water is available to purchase here

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