Ex-love Island star Olivia Buckland looks back on her fight with depression, and reveals fiancé Alex Bowen has helped her find herself
“I’ve been cheated on and abused – it’s made me who I am”
‘I didn’t think much of myself before’
She found fame on Love Island S in 2016, becoming a TV presenter for This Morning, the face of a make-up brand, and landing her own TV show. On top of that, she’s set to wed the man of her dreams this month.
But before her success and happiness, Olivia Buckland – who has been dating her Love Island co-star Alex Bowen, 26, for two years – has revealed she suffered crippling anxiety, self-confidence issues and was on antidepressants.
IN A BAD PLACE
And looking back, Olivia, 24, says she’s proud to have come out the other side. She reveals, “I was in a bad place when I was 18 and 19. I was lost, partying a lot, and I didn’t think much of myself as a human being. I didn’t understand where I was going. But I never would have guessed where my life would end up – I’m proud of the fact that I managed to come off antidepressants. I still have bad days where I don’t feel great about myself. But it’s important to remember that’s normal and that’s OK.” Olivia is known now as the beautiful
blonde with a quirky fashion sense and cheeky smile, and she is rarely pictured without fiancé Alex. But just five years ago it was a different picture, with the teenager Olivia poleaxed by depression and anxiety. She previously revealed her “confidence was in tatters”, and that she would go on boozy nights out to mask her insecurities.
She took antidepressants to help her deal with her inner turmoil, and she also suffered weight issues, revealing that, after a traumatic break-up in 2011, she lost a dramatic 2st in just ten weeks.
But Olivia – who has recently teamed up with Skin Republic to launch her own Prep + Glow sheet mask – says that she’s grateful for the struggles she’s faced, because they have built her up to be a stronger person.
“I don’t think that, if I could, I’d do anything differently,” she admits. “I’ve had relationships where I was cheated on and emotionally abused – but I’m a big believer in the butterfly effect. Everything I’ve done has led me to where I am today. It all had to happen for me to be happy today.”
And Olivia credits Alex for playing a big part in helping her overcome her troubles, and making her more confident than ever.
She reveals, “More than anything, I’m different confidence-wise. With guys in the past, I just didn’t really think much of myself and didn’t really think I was good company – so how could I expect other people to? Now, I’m confident and happy, and that’s the big difference. It sounds silly, but when Alex does things like posts nice things about me on Instagram and stuff, it makes me feel special, and it’s lovely.”
Olivia and Alex moved in together shortly after appearing on Love Island, and became engaged last year on a romantic trip to New York. The pair will get married in just a few weeks, with TV show Alex And Olivia Said Yes detailing the preparations leading up to their big bash, with some of their wedding ceremony airing later this month.
But while she can’t wait to become Mrs Bowen, Olivia says the last-minute wedding prep is sending her stress levels into overdrive. “I’m getting a bit stressed!” she admits. “My mum has been amazing – in another life she could have been a wedding planner. Alex is laid-back, but loves the whole idea. I’ve got six bridesmaids, and Alex has 11 ushers. He’s had to sort out all their suits and everything. I’ve picked up my dress so that’s sorted, too. You’ll see it all on the show and will be able to see how stressed I am!”