Viewers and the TV world are in shock after the death of Caroline Flack, who rose from children’s TV to become one of Britain’s most successful presenters.
Love Island, Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! – Flack starred on some of Britain’s biggest shows of the past decade.
However, at the time of her death her career was under a cloud after she was replaced for the winter series of ITV’s Love Island after being charged with assaulting her boyfriend.
Many fans first got to know her bubbly, likeable personality when she joined Sam and Mark to front the zany Saturday morning children’s show TMi in 2007.
From there, she joined Ian Wright when Sky One revived game show Gladiators, and became one of the hosts of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here Now! in 2009.
She went on to host another ITV spin-off, The Xtra Factor, two years later, before being chosen to front a series of the main talent show itself with Olly Murs in 2015.
She confirmed her popular appeal when she won Strictly with dance partner Pasha Kovalev, fending off competition from Frankie Bridge and Simon Webbe.
But she talked about the difficulties she faced after lifting the glitterball trophy, saying: “I couldn’t get up and just couldn’t pick myself up at all that next year.”
When Love Island was relaunched in 2015, she was the natural choice to host, and she helped make it one of the biggest shows on British TV.
The first few series performed well, but the show really became a TV phenomenon from 2018, particularly among younger viewers.
When the show won the Bafta for best reality show that year, she picked up the award.
Flack made her West End stage debut as Roxie Hart in Chicago in 2018, starred in a touring version of Crazy For You, and appeared on the celebrity version of The Great British Bake Off.
With the success came close scrutiny of her personal life and relationships, which made her a regular in the tabloids. Notably, she dated One Direction star Harry Styles when he was 17, and stories about a brief romance with Prince Harry made headlines in 2009.
In her 2015 autobiography Storm In A C Cup, she said she and the prince had “spent the evening chatting and laughing”, but “once the story got out, that was it. We had to stop seeing each other.”
When she was arrested and subsequently charged with assaulting her boyfriend in December, it was completely at odds with her public persona.
Police found former tennis professional Lewis Burton covered in blood when he called them to her Islington home.
She pleaded not guilty and was in tears in court just before Christmas. She stepped down as host of the winter series of Love Island.
The court heard that Burton did not support the prosecution, but she was due to stand trial early next month.
Two days before her death, she posted photos of herself with her dogs, with no message except a simple love heart. Before that, her last message was on Christmas Eve – the day after her court hearing.
“This kind of scrutiny and speculation is a lot to take on for one person to take on their own…” she wrote.
“I’m a human being at the end of the day and I’m not going to be silenced when I have a story to tell and a life to keep going with.
“I’m taking some time out to get feeling better and learn some lessons from situations I’ve got myself into to.
“I have nothing but love to give and best wishes for everyone.”
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