Inside Laura Whitmores friendship with late Love Island host Caroline Flack

As Love Island viewers reel from the recent announcement that host Laura Whitmore will not be returning for the next series, many fans have been left curious about her friendship with the late Caroline Flack, as she paid tribute to the former host in her exit announcement.

Sharing the news on Monday evening that her time as the show’s host had come to an end, Laura wrote: "Some news! I won’t be hosting the next series of Love Island.

"There are certain elements of the show I’ve found very difficult that cannot be changed some due to the format, including the flying back and forth to South Africa along with my new conflicting projects.”

She then paid tribute to her late friend and former Love Island host Caroline Flack, who passed away in February 2020.

"I wish it was still possible but know you’ll be in safe hands. I was only planning to fill in for Caroline for a series and it turned into 3 series.

"I hope I did you proud Caroline," Laura concluded her statement alongside a red heart emoji.

So how did Caroline and Laura get to know each other?

At the time of her death in February 2020, Caroline and Laura had been friends for well over a decade, having first met at V festival, before frequently being involved in several of the same presenting circles over the years.

Laura first kicked off her career in 2008, when she landed a highly coveted presenting gig at MTV, meanwhile Caroline herself had slowly been climbing the presenting ladder, rising up the ranks from playing Bubbles in Bo!Selecta back in 2002, before scoring a presenting role on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Now! In 2009.

Their paths began to intersect in 2011, when Caroline left the show in order to host The Xtra Factor, with Irish native Laura filling her shoes on the jungle bound programme.

While this could easily have pit the two as rivals, it actually helped to cement their friendship, with the pair seen hugging out any differences in 2013 as they both took part in presenting gigs on the BAFTA red carpet.

Things did however get a little dicey in 2014, when Laura was touted to replace her friend Caroline on the singing show, as part of a major shake-up that saw co-host Olly Murs quit the show entirely, before being temporarily replaced by Matt Richardson.

According to a source at the time, producers had hoped to replace Matt and Caroline with Laura and Rylan Clark, the Mirror reports.

“It’s a pretty stressful time, because Laura and Rylan have been screen tested but obviously, that makes it look like Caroline and Matt could be for the chop,” explained an Insider.

“The final decision isn’t made until the last minute – Olly Murs only found out he had the job just days before he started filming. So it’s quite tense, as it’s a big deal.

“Caroline and Matt could still come back, but as the first round of open auditions are already underway, everybody knows a decision is imminent and it’s pretty nerve-wracking.”

In a twist of fate, the job actually went to Laura’s friend Sarah Jane Crawford, with Caroline soon moving on to a winning stint on Strictly Come Dancing, a show Laura herself would take part in just two years later.

Following their time on Strictly, Caroline went on to become the iconic presenter of ITV2 dating show Love Island, however in 2020 this soon changed, as Caroline stepped down from her role amid an ongoing court case where she was to stand trial accused of assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

Taking over from Caroline, Laura admitted herself that she had her friend’s blessing, as she received a text that said: "I really hope you get to do this series,” ahead of any public announcement.

A similar sentiment followed soon after, with Caroline publicly congratulating Laura on her new role on social media.

"I’m glad it’s Laura," Caroline said. "She loves the show as much as I do…

"It’s a really tough time… But I‘m doing all I can to keep my head above water and sort this all out.”

Alongside a healthy professional rivalry and an ongoing battle for the same jobs, Caroline and Laura maintained a strong and solid friendship, with the pair frequently spotted out at public events together.

Their friendship was especially apparent in the poignant tribute paid by Laura to her friend, following Caroline’s death by suicide.

In a heartbroken tribute to her fallen friend, Laura told her Radio 5 listeners: "Yesterday we lost someone before their time.

"We're going to talk about her and give her the respect that she deserves and that she didn't always get."

Laura then continued: ”Anyone who knew Caroline knew she was vivacious, loving, and had a passion for life, which is why none of this makes sense.

"Caroline loved dancing. Angels by Robbie Williams always reminds me of her because she danced so beautifully to it on Strictly, and I'm going to play that song after I've said what I want to say."

She said that her friend had "loved music, she loved to dance, we shared many a dancefloor at gigs, festivals" as she recalled their friendship beginning 10 years ago at V Festival.

"She was bubbly, and for such a small stature commanded a room," explained Laura as her voice cracked with raw emotion. "She loved to laugh and had the most infectious chuckle."

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