Who is Love Island 'bombshell' and Gemma Owen's ex-boyfriend Jacques O'Neill?

Last night, the first recoupling ceremony of Love Island 2022 took place, with Gemma Owen coupling up with Luca Bish, leaving their former respective partners, Davide Sanclimenti and Paige Thorne.

However, it wasn’t the biggest shock of the night, as masters student Liam Llewellyn announced he had made the decision to leave the villa… shortly before the new bombshell was revealed.

As narrator Iain Stirling introduced the teaser for Sunday night’s episode, an unknown boy was shown making his entrance, who – while not officially confirmed by Love Island – is believed to be rugby player Jacques O’Neill.

In a moment that made viewers’ jaws drop, international dressage rider Gemma could be heard telling the others that he was her ex-boyfriend. Cue the drama.

While fans await the formal announcement that the bombshell is indeed Jacques, a post shared on his Instagram profile read: ‘It’s official!!! Jacques has hung his boots up for love and is entering the @loveisland villa. #Love #LoveIsland.’

Who’s ex is going on Love Island?

In the teaser for Sunday night’s episode, the new boy was shown making his way into the villa.

As the girls watched his entrance from afar, Gemma could be heard saying: ‘Oh my god. That’s my ex-boyfriend,’ as someone exclaimed: ‘S**t!’ in shock at the big reveal.

It’s currently unclear when Gemma and Jacques dated or for how long… but just like when Jack Fincham’s ex-girlfriend Ellie Jones joined the cast during the 2018 series, we have a feeling the new arrival’s romantic history is going to be a gamechanger.

Plus, numerous fans are speculating that the rugby player’s entrance will finally result in the other islanders learning that Michael Owen is Gemma’s dad.

How old is Jacques and where is he from?

Jacques is 23 years old, born on May 8 1999. He was born in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

Where can you find Jacques on Instagram?

Jacques can be found on Instagram at @jacques9oneill_.

At the time of writing, he boasts around 24,500 followers.

Who does he play for?

Earlier in his career, Jacques played junior rugby league for Askam

O’Neill played junior rugby league for Askam ARLFC before being signed to the Castleford Tigers academy, while he’s also played for the Leigh Centurions and Halifax in the Betfred Championship on loan and dual registration.

Shortly before Jacques confirmed on his Instagram that he was going on Love Island, the Castleford Tigers also shared a statement on social media and in a press release.


While the team didn’t mention Love Island specifically, they said: ‘Castleford Tigers can confirm that the Club has agreed to release Jacques O’Neill from his contract to allow him to pursue another opportunity.

‘The Tigers have the first option to sign O’Neill back next year should he wish to return to rugby league.’

Praising Jacques for his ‘fearless attitude’ on the field, they explained how he is a ‘proud product of the Tigers’ youth system having come through both our Scholarship and Academy programmes before making his Super League debut’.

‘Castleford Tigers would like to wish Jacques well with his new opportunity and thank him for his efforts as a Tiger so far,’ they added.

Love Island returns tomorrow at 9pm on ITV2 and ITV Hub.

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Love Island 2022 latest

Kiss goodbye to your social life – Love Island is back to dominate your evenings, with the new series promising more drama than ever before.

  • Full Love Island 2022 line-up
  • Love Island launch episode review: Cringe-worthy moments but we’re not swiping left yet
  • I went to the new Love Island villa and the reality is not what I expected
  • Which Love Island couples are still together?

For all the latest updates, visit Metro.co.uk‘s Love Island page.

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