Megan Barton Hanson has reflected on the recent death of fellow Love Island star Mike Thalassitis.
The reality star, 25, said that, like Mike, she felt she had been cast in the role of a ‘pantomime villain’ on the ITV2 series and ‘always understood’ there was a high price to pay for fame.
Although she did not know Mike personally, Megan admitted she broke down in tears when she learned of his death.
Speaking out: Megan Barton Hanson has reflected on the recent death of fellow Love Island star Mike Thalassitis
Writing in The Sun, Megan said that even if a reality star embraces the larger than life persona they develop, like she thinks Mike did, it is still not a true reflection of who they are.
She said: ‘When I came out of the villa ITV sat down with me and went through everything that had happened to make sure I was prepared but really – how can you be?
‘At the end of the day I was just an ordinary girl who had been cast as a pantomime villain because we hooked up when he was still with Laura – but my boyfriend Wes [Nelson] was the golden boy.
‘I’m one of the lucky ones in a way: I always understood that there was going to be a price to pay for the celebrity that followed Love Island, but even I couldn’t envisage how high it would be.’
Honest: Megan said that even if a reality star embraces the larger than life persona they develop, it is still not a true reflection of who they are (Mike pictured in 2018)
Metropolitan Police confirmed that Mike, 26, was found hanged in a park in Edmonton, North London on Saturday morning.
Mike’s manager confirmed the shock news of his passing later that evening.
Megan also opened up about the vitriol she regularly receives from online trolls.
She said that while many reality stars look like they are living the high life based on their social media feeds, they can still sometimes come home from swanky parties feeling alone and isolated.
Megan added that she feels there is an attitude that people must put themselves out there and if they can’t deal with the consequences, it’s their fault.
She said: ‘When I came out of the villa ITV went through everything that had happened to make sure I was prepared but really – how can you be?’ (pictured in February 2019)
She also referenced her break-up from Wes Nelson, saying she was ‘ridiculed’ for being in the audience of Dancing On Ice while he was taking part.
Many reality stars have spoken out recently to demand better aftercare for participants after their time on their respective shows comes to an end.
However, Megan noted that she has the Love Island psychologist in her phone and calls her whenever she needs to.
She added: ‘I always understood that there was going to be a price to pay for the celebrity that followed Love Island’ (pictured in February 2019)
It was reported that Mike had been dealing with huge debts in the months leading up to his tragic death after overextending himself with a party lifestyle.
A source told The Mirror: ‘His party lifestyle came at a price and he wasn’t earning a lot of cash after Love Island, especially as he became his nan’s carer.’
Mike had also been due to open a restaurant in Essex called The Skillet with former professional footballer Scott Neilson, according to filings at Companies House.
The reality TV star had been overseeing construction work to open his new business in a former bakery in the wealthy Essex town of Loughton.
Passing: It was reported that Mike had been dealing with huge debts in the months leading up to his tragic death (pictured in 2017)
Former Love Island contestant Montana Brown paid tribute to Thalassitis on Instagram saying she wished she had done more, and revealing he had turned to self-help books in recent months.
She said: ‘Now I know you were in a dark place a few months back and I thought you were past it and that you were on the up.
‘I got you to buy (self-help book) The Magic, you wrote down your gratitudes, you had the pictures of your family in your car to remind you to be grateful for them.
‘I just don’t know how I didn’t notice… I am absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t help you’.
The former League One footballer, who comes from a Cypriot family, enjoyed a successful playing career before becoming a beloved reality TV star.
Relationship: Mike previously dated Megan McKenna for seven months on and off before they confirmed their separation seven months ago (pictured in 2018)
Tribute: Megan, 26, relea