While they didn't seem to be each other's type on paper in the villa, rumors have been swirling of a blossoming romance between Love Island's Jacques O'Neill and Antigoni Buxton since leaving the show. The former pro rugby player, 23, and singer, 26, have been pictured hanging out together on a number of occasions since touching down back in the UK.
On one occasion, they enjoyed lunch with both their mums—with Jacques sharing the sweet moment on Instagram (opens in new tab)with the caption: "Made a real one for life". Then the pair were spotted smiling while on a night out in Manchester. More recently, Antigoni commented "so proud of you" on an Instagram (opens in new tab) post shared by the ex-sportsman about his shock villa departure.
As such, many fans have suggested that Jacques and Antigoni could have their sights set on one another—after both met with heartbreak upon exiting Love Island 2022. Antigoni was voted out by the public before Casa Amor, while Jacques—who is the real-life ex-boyfriend of islander Gemma Owen—was famously still coupled up with Paige Thorne when he decided to leave the villa for mental health reasons.
So have they gotten together now?
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Are Love Island's Jacques and Antigoni dating?
Sadly for anyone shipping the pair, while the singletons are clearly close, it seems they are simply just great BFFs. Speaking to The Sun (opens in new tab) at the show's wrap party, Antigoni insisted: "Me and Jacques are definitely not a thing. People can’t believe that a boy and girl can just be friends."
The star also gave her thoughts on whether Jacques and Paige might reunite, even though the latter has now moved on with Adam Collard. "I saw Paige last night, and [her and Jacques] have not spoken, no," she revealed, of their communication since the grand final. "I am really happy for Paige though and I do want the best for her. She's amazing and she was one of my really good friends in there so whatever makes her happy is good for me."
Additionally, fellow contestant Charlie—who was voted out at the same time as Antigoni—also put to bed the speculation. "Antigoni and Jacques are definitely not dating, they’re just good friends," he replied on TikTok when questioned by a fan. "Everyone keeps on asking this at the moment. Similar to myself and Antigoni, we’re securely in the friend zone." Well, I guess it is what it is!
Why wasn't Jacques at the Love Island reunion?
As you'll likely know, the Love Island reunion took place just days after the Love Island live final. Viewers watched as islanders, including winners Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu and Davide Sanclimenti, were quizzed by Laura Whitmore about their time on Love Island UK season eight.
However, while Antigoni attended, Jacques was noticeably absent. According to Metro.co.uk (opens in new tab), the latter contestant decided to miss the bonus episode to avoid an awkward run-in with former flame Paige. They reported that while all islanders from the series are invited to attend the filming, there is no obligation to do so.
This means we'll have to wait and see what Jacques' true thoughts on 'Padam' really are. Although, during an Instagram live chat with friend Luca Bish that was shared on TikTok (opens in new tab), he said: "They seem like they get on really, really well. They seem very happy together." However, there was plenty of nervous giggling going on...
Missed the reunion episode and want to catch up on the drama? You can stream it after the show airs on the ITV hub (opens in new tab) at a time convenient to you. If you're not in the UK, you'll just need to use a VPN (opens in new tab)—once you've got that downloaded, you can catch up on the show as normal.
@loveisland.room (opens in new tab) ♬ L$d - Luclover (opens in new tab)
Lauren is a freelance writer and editor with more than six years of digital and magazine experience. Most recently, she has been the Acting Commissioning Editor of Women's Health—where she co-produced the Going For Goal podcast—and has previously also written news and features for titles including The Telegraph, Grazia, Stylist, Dazed, The Sun's Fabulous, Yahoo Style UK and Get The Gloss. She covers all aspects of lifestyle, specializing in health, beauty, and travel. Can't live without: oat milk lattes, new podcast episodes, long walks, and great skincare.
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