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Who Is Caroline Flack? 'Love Island' Host Dies By Suicide After Awaiting Trial For Allegedly Assaulting Boyfriend Lewis Burton

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Who Is Caroline Flack? 'Love Island' Host Dies By Suicide After Awaiting Trial For Allegedly Assaulting Boyfriend Lewis Burton

British reality show Love Island definitely won’t be the same anymore — because its host, Caroline Flack, had officially stepped down last December. And then, just recently, in February 2020 came the shocking news that Flack had committed suicide.

Before her death, the former host had been facing legal troubles. On Thursday, December 12, 2019, Flack was arrested for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton, a 27-year-old professional tennis player. Her arrest led to her giving up her presenting gig, and, subsequently, she started making headlines for it. 

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But who is Caroline Flack, and what’s the deal with these charges? Here’s everything you need to know about the late host, her death, and her legal troubles.

1. Who is Caroline Flack? She was a well-known British TV presenter.

Flack had a long history of working in TV, and it’s what she was known best for. Before she was the host of Love Island, Flack hosted shows like I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here NOW, and The X-Factor.

In 2014, she won Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC version of Dancing With The Stars.

2. Flack had notoriously dated two famous Harrys: Prince Harry and Harry Styles.

In Flack’s autobiography, Storm in a C Cup, she revealed that she and Prince Harry briefly dated in 2009, but once the press caught wind of their relationship, it was all over. She also took the opportunity to own up to her relationship with singer Harry Styles — and since, at the time, she was 32 and he was 17, it was pretty controversial. 

3. Flack was arrested in December 2019 for allegedly assaulting Lewis Burton.

A source who claimed to be close to Flack and Burton chalks the fight up to a “drunken row” that happened after Flack reportedly saw messages on Burton’s phone from a 60-year-old woman and thought that he was cheating when she was actually one of his tennis clients. 

“During the row a mobile phone hit Lewis and there was some glass which got broken over the floor. Both of them ended up with minor injuries, which were cuts,” the source said. "In the panic over the injuries to her, Lewis called 999 for an ambulance. But when cops arrived along with the ambulance crews both of them were mortified.” 

But Flack was still arrested since police were called to the scene. "Caroline Flack — 40 (09.11.79) of Islington was charged on Friday, 13 December with assault by beating. She will appear on bail at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on Monday, 23 December," said a statement from London’s Metropolitan Police. "This follows an incident at approximately 05:25hrs on Thursday, 12 December after reports of a man assaulted.” 

At the time, police also confirmed that Burton (the man in question) was not seriously injured. However, it was later reported that during the incident, he had received a head injury. 

4. Burton did not press charges against Flack after the alleged assault.

In fact, an inside source said that Burton was “upset and embarrassed” at the way their fight had become public.

“It was a tiff between a couple that love each other and should never have ended up in the public domain,” the source said. “He has not and is not pressing charges. He loves Caroline and wants things to be back to normal as soon as possible.” 

After the arrest, Flack had appeared on Burton’s Instagram Story. 

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5. Flack was still charged with assault and was awaiting her trial before she died.

Even though Burton did not press charges against Flack, the Crown Prosecution Service, also known as the CPS, still went ahead and charged Flack and pursued a trial against her. Flack's trial was due to begin in March. However, Flack had reportedly entered a not guilty plea and was released on bail, but wasn't supposed to have any further contact with Burton.

After her death, Flack's team released a statement regarding her trial: 

"In recent months Caroline had been under huge pressure because of an ongoing case and potential trial which has been well reported. The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events. The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest. And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline."

A spokesperson for the CPS responded, saying, "Our deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of Caroline Flack. Given the tragic circumstances, we will not comment on the specifics of this case at this stage."

CPS recently revealed that a case is not stopped, even if a complaint has been withdrawn, and that there are many other factors to take into consideration before dropping a case. 

6. Flack’s ex-boyfriend wasn’t surprised by her arrest.

As Flack's ex, Andrew Brady, tweeted, it sounded like Flack’s reported behavior was something he’d seen for himself in the past. “Sad that I’m not more surprised by the news,” he tweeted.

Later, Brady took to Instagram to share an NDA he claims he had to sign while dating Flack, using the hashtag #abusehasnogender. 

7. In December 2019, Flack stepped down from hosting Love Island

Although the post has since disappeared, on December 17, 2019, Flack shared a statement on her Instagram story announcing the news, writing, "In order to not detract attention from the upcoming series I feel the best thing I can do is stand down for Series 6." Flack was eventually replaced by Laura Whitmore.

8. Flack was found dead by suicide on February 15th, 2020.

This past weekend, the British reality world was shocked when Flack's family announced her death. In a statement, they said, "We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February. We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time." The Flack family's lawyer confirmed that the former host was found dead in her home and had taken her own life. 

A spokeswoman for ITV, the company that broadcasted Love Island, also released a statement: "Everybody at Love Island and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news. Caroline was a much loved member of the Love Island team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends."

Before her passing, Flack had kept her social media followers updated on what was going on with her life. In December 2019, she wrote on Instagram, "Been advised not to go on social media... but I wanted to say happy Christmas to everyone who has been so incredibly kind to me this year... This kind of scrutiny and speculation is a lot for one person to take on their own, 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."

After that post, Flack took a lengthy break from her social media, to which she eventually returned to on February 14th with a few photos of her and her dog. Both posts have the comments turned off. 

9. Flack was allegedly suicidal months before her death.

In December 2019, during a court appearance, the prosecuter revealed that Flack had said that "she will kill herself." In court, it was also revealed that when the police had arrived to the scene of the assault, both Flack and Burton were "covered in blood." One of the officers even "likened the scene to a horror movie."

10. Burton took to social media to express his heartbreak.

On Sunday, February 16th, Burton revealed his heartbreak over Flack's passing.

He wrote on Instagram, “My heart is broken we had something so special. I am so lost for words I am in so much pain I miss you so much I know you felt safe with me you always said I don’t think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking. I will be your voice baby I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud everyday. I love you with all my heart.”

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.