Jesy Nelson and I had plenty of good times but life turned into a s**tstorm after split, says Chris Hughes

Jesy Nelson and I had plenty of good times but life turned into a s**tstorm after split, says Chris Hughes

April 10, 2021

LOVE Island favourite Chris Hughes has told how his life became “a s**tstorm” in the wake of his split from Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson.

He revealed that the end of their 16-month relationship was not only “difficult”, it left him struggling with his mental health and unable to think of anything else.

In an exclusive interview, Chris insisted he and Jesy — who quit Little Mix in December due to the “constant pressure” of being in a girlband — are still good friends and there are no hard feelings.

A year on from their break-up, Chris — who was in the third series of the hit ITV2 dating show in 2017 — told The Sun on Sunday: “It was a tough period in a lot of people’s personal lives and it was for me too, as break-ups are never easy.

“It was difficult. Sometimes you just grow apart.

“There have definitely been days when I wake up and things haven’t felt great. The period 12 months ago was really tough.

“There were days where I was waking up and our split was the first thing I was thinking about.

“I was thinking, ‘I hope I feel good today. I hope mentally I feel all right’. I had to try my hardest mentally to break the cycle.”

He added: “Life was a s**tstorm.”

Chris, 28, is still single having shunned online dating during lockdown because he would prefer to meet women “face to face” when restrictions allow.

And after months stuck indoors, he reckons contestants on this year’s summer Love Island could make it the raunchiest yet.

Chris, who has played football for ­Hellenic League side Bourton Rovers, shot to fame on the series after coupling up with feisty Olivia Attwood and finishing third. But they split after seven months.

He and Jesy, 29, started dating in late 2018 after they immediately hit it off, enjoying what they described as “a very normal relationship”.

But cracks appeared after Chris flew into a rage with photographers at the National Television Awards in January 2020, with Jesy looking none too pleased.

When the nation went into lockdown two months later, the pair were forced to isolate separately in their own homes.

They decided to call time on their relationship in April last year.

Twelve months on, Chris insists they are still close.

He said: “We’re very good friends and we enjoyed all that time together.

“I look back and I don’t look at ­anything with regret.

“We still support each other and it was just a period in life where you move on.

“But it’s nice to look back on the good memories of my relationships with Jesy and there were plenty of good times. There’s no reason to not like each other.”

The keen sportsman — who posed in a bath of nuts to promote Testicular Cancer Awareness month this month ­following his brother Ben’s successful battle with the ­disease — says lockdown and not being able to go to the gym worsened his ­mental health after the break-up.

He quit Twitter in May to clear his head but found he had lost 500,000 followers on his return to social media.

He tweeted: “I closed my Twitter for a week because my life was a s**tstorm and now I’ve lost 500,000 followers.”

Recalling how he got out of his slump, Chris said: “I broke the cycle by changing a few lifestyle factors. For me, it was just getting out in the fresh air and getting a bit of sun on my back and face.

“Just the serotonin levels that the sun creates works wonders. Golf has also worked wonders for me.

"There are days where things are ­difficult for me, days where I wake up and I don’t feel great.

“Golf gives me that sense of freedom for a few hours and it’s something I need in my life.”

Jesy stunned the pop world in December last year with her announcement that she had quit Little Mix, the 2011 winners of X Factor.

She told fans that being in the band and “living up to expectations” had taken a toll on her well-being. The singer is now launching a solo career.

Chris said: “It’s not for me to ­comment on whether Jesy leaving Little Mix has been the right ­decision for her mental health. But she’s a very strong girl, she knows what’s right for her.

“Individuals can work so hard trying to please other people and doing the right things to make everything plain sailing for everyone else.

"But it’s so important to just look after number one. You’ve got to look after yourself.

“I hope, for her sake, she feels like she’s made the right decision, I hope she’s happy in that respect.”

While Jesy was in a relationship with Our Girl actor Sean Sagar until last month, Chris has not been in a rush to move on romantically.

He said: “I’m very much single at the moment. I’ve been using an online dating app called Happn but because of the restrictions at the moment I haven’t been able to meet anyone.

"Hopefully when we come out of lockdown I’ll be able to go on some actual old-fashioned face-to-face dates like we used to do.

“I prefer to meet people in person to get my personality across, as you can meet someone online then meet them in person and they are not what you expected.

“I’d love to tell you my inbox is full of invitations but the truth is it’s nothing to write home about.

"I don’t really have a type. I love people with quite an exciting personality and people very driven within work. That’s a very attractive trait.”

It was announced last month that Love Island will return this summer after it had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

And Chris has predicted it will be the raciest series yet.

He said: “Going in Love Island, I mean, they’re probably going to see more females and males than they’ve seen in the past year.

"Some could go crazy.

“I guess the contestants will be Covid tested and be able to let their hair down and enjoy some normality. I’ll definitely be watching.”

Chris grew up on a farm in Gloucestershire with his parents Paul and Valerie and brother Ben.

It was after the Love Islander volunteered for a testicular examination live on ITV’s This Morning in 2018 that Ben was inspired to check himself and found a lump.

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer and underwent surgery. Ben is now cancer-free and credits his brother for saving his life.

On the TV clip, which has now been watched more than 40million times, Chris said: “It was a bit overwhelming but as long as it’s going to educate people then it’s worth doing.”

He has now linked up with KP Nuts and the Movember campaign to promote ­testicular health.

He said: “I check my nuts every week and it’s just an automatic thing that I do now. I’m not embarrassed to say that.”

While Chris dreams of one day breaking Hollywood, he first wants to make up for lost time with friends.

He said: “Hopefully we’re seeing the end of this Covid pandemic and, fingers crossed, one day I might find love again."

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