Caroline Flack: TV star who found fame as X Factor and Love Island host
The TV star, who mixed with royalty and starred in the West End, has been found dead aged 40.
She was the schoolgirl from rural Norfolk who found fame in London and went on to become one of the UK’s biggest television stars.
Caroline Flack was synonymous with the hit ITV2 reality series Love Island, which she hosted for five seasons following its launch in 2015.
But an incident in December last year changed the course of her career, when she was accused of assaulting her partner, former professional tennis player Lewis Burton.
She was due to stand trial on March 4, after denying hitting the 27-year-old over the head with a lamp.
Flack grew up near the town of Thetford in Norfolk, attending Great Hockham Primary School and then Wayland High School in Watton, before moving to the capital.
It was there that she secured presenting jobs on E4 Music and on the CBBC channel, as well as being co-host of action game show Gladiators with Ian Wright on Sky One.
Then, in 2009, she became the presenter of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! NOW! alongside Joe Swash and Russell Kane.
It was around this time that Flack met Prince Harry on a night out in 2009 through Natalie Pinkham, after she had split with a boyfriend.
She said in her 2015 autobiography, called Storm In A C Cup, that they “spent the evening chatting and laughing”, but “once the story got out, that was it. We had to stop seeing each other.
“I was no longer Caroline Flack, TV presenter, I was Caroline Flack, Prince Harry’s bit of rough.”
Flack left the I’m A Celebrity companion show in 2011 to host another spin-off programme, The Xtra Factor for The X Factor, along with former contestant Olly Murs.
That same year she was romantically linked to One Direction star Harry Styles, who had been on The X Factor the previous year, when he was 17 and she was 31.
Her career continued on an upwards trajectory after leaving The Xtra Factor in 2014, when she was promoted to host the main ITV show with Murs, replacing Dermot O’Leary.
However, the role was short-lived with the pair leaving after one year having been widely panned by critics and viewers.
The following year Flack said she had learnt to ignore her detractors, telling The Sun: “Not everyone is going to like you so you have to filter it.”
Aside from her presenting jobs, Flack has appeared on the small screen in Strictly Come Dancing and on the celebrity version of The Great British Bake Off.
She won Strictly in 2014 while partnered with Pasha Kovalev, fending off competition from Frankie Bridge and Simon Webbe.
Four years later, she talked about the difficulties she faced after lifting the glitterball trophy, telling The Sun that she felt as though her body was “covered” in “clingfilm” the morning after her dance floor triumph, adding that she felt “ridiculous” feeling so low.
She added: “I couldn’t get up and just couldn’t pick myself up at all that next year.”
Flack made her West End stage debut playing Roxie Hart in Chicago in 2018, having previously appeared on stage in a touring version of Crazy For You.
That same year she was present as Love Island won its first TV Bafta for best reality and constructed factual show.
In March 2019, she took part in an episode of Channel 4’s charity show The Great Celebrity Bake Off for Stand Up To Cancer, alongside other celebrities including journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy, actor Greg Wise and boxer Nicola Adams.
Flack became engaged to former Apprentice and Celebrity Big Brother star Andrew Brady in April 2018, but they split a few months later.
Most recently, she had been in a relationship with former tennis player and model Burton.
Following the assault allegation, which led to Flack stepping down as host of the winter series of Love Island, Burton said he did not support the prosecution in the case and insisted he was not a victim.
He spoke out in defence of Flack, saying she has become the subject of a “witch hunt” following her arrest.
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