Seasons change but there is a chance that summer love may last. The inaugural season of Love Island came to a mushy end on Wednesday as Zac Mirabelli and Elizabeth Weber were crowned the favourite couple in the Fijian villa, winning the $100,000 grand prize and the relationship they had been looking for.
The 22-year-old Chicago-based grocery store cashier and 24-year-old New York-based advertising executive had coupled up on Day One in the villa, and over the course of five weeks, viewers watched their blissful connection blossom as Zac asked her to be his girlfriend on Day 11, only for them to exchange I Love You’s on Day 25.
But while the summer series is over, their real-life relationship has just begun. Now that the lovebirds are heading home with perfect tans and a lump sum in their pockets, former islanders are weighing in on whether they think the couple — as well as the other finalists — have what it takes for their long-distance relationships to last out of the comfort of the televised villa.
“People have really enjoyed what they had going on,” Season One contestant Eric Hall said of the pair. The Burlington-based tattoo shop manager, who failed to find love this season as the only Canadian contestant, joined Love IslandUK stars Adam Collard and Ellie Brown in examining the trials the young couples could potentially face as they head into the real world.
“When you’re outside of the villa, there are a lot of tests,” Collard explained from experience, as he ended his relationship with former co-star Zara McDermott in February.
“Maybe that’s why we think that couples like Elizabeth and Zac could potentially be the strongest couple, but they’ve had no tests from the outside, where Ray [Gantt] and Caro [Viehweg] have had a few people come in and try and get them. That’s more like real life. We are going to have people come in and test the relationship.”
Newcastle’s Ellie moved to London to be with her boyfriend Charlie Blake following their season last summer but later parted ways, with an announcement to their fans on Instagram.
“It’s no good having a Plain Jane relationship in there, because you’re living in a little bubble on an island where there are all good vibes, but that’s not real life. Yes, they’ve been the favourite to win but that’s not a realistic relationship,” she said.
“For Adam and I, both of our partners were down south and we were up north. We ended up living together. It didn’t work out but we still did. We tried.”
The stunning villa in Fiji may have offered the couples a secluded haven to get to know each other and ultimately fall in love, but Eric is adamant that only time will tell if each contestant will put the work in to maintain their bonds as they head back to their hometowns across the country.
“I also feel like even if you have experience being in a long-distance relationship, it’s just a much different scenario when you become a public figure. I think that Ray and Caro will have what it takes to put that effort in and even do appearances with one another. It will be a real test for everyone to see who puts the effort in and who stays loyal,” he said.
Love Island US has been renewed for a second season and the dating series will return with a new batch of islanders next summer.