Olivia:

Ex-love Is­land star Olivia Buck­land looks back on her fight with de­pres­sion, and re­veals fi­ancé Alex Bowen has helped her find her­self

Closer (UK) - - Contents - By El­lie Grif­fiths

“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.”

WED­DING PLANS

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!”

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