As unlucky-in-love Sophie Monk films her first week on new reality dating show Love Island – in what has been touted as her biggest television role ever – friends fear the bubbly presenter is headed for even more heartbreak.
Noticeably frail and seemingly losing weight, her concerned entourage say the former pop star is under immense pressure to pull in the ratings for the debut season.
They are understandably worried she may crack being surrounded by all those couples falling in love.
‘Sophie’s long history of failed relationships are no secret,’ the friend tells New Idea.
‘But she took the most recent break-up with Stu even harder than any of the others because she blames herself and feels like such a failure. She honestly believes she let the fans down and she feels awful.’
And with her new role starting just one year after she fell in love with Stu during hit show The Bachelorette, Sophie, 38, is preparing to welcome a string of sexy singles on screen in what is shaping up as the raunchiest reality dating show Australia has ever seen.
Having to support other hopefuls as they put their hearts on the line in a very similar situation to her own, Sophie is struggling to deal with her emotions and feels isolated while filming the high pressure show in Europe.
‘It is opening old wounds. Ones she has tried so hard to heal and put behind her,’ says the friend.
‘Of course, she is plastering on a bright smile for the cameras and is always professional, but behind closed doors we can see how much she’s hurting.’
Initially hoping the show, filmed in Spain, would help her forget her heartbreaking past – especially after new Bachelorette Ali Oetjen was introduced, fuelling public interest on previous contestants – she was only too pleased to escape the attention.
But finding herself on the other side of the world, surrounded by gorgeous singles hooking up and new relationships blossoming, Sophie’s plan seems to have backfired completely.
‘The whole show is about couples and romantic dates, and connections,’ says the friend.
‘It was a career decision to take the position of host, it was like a dream come true to front such a big show, but she never really considered the fact that it came as a constant reminder that she is still alone and not even a reality show could help her find love.’
While she is doing her best to put on a brave face, just last week the actress admitted she was struggling watching her own Bachelorette reject, second runner-up Jarrod Woodgate, in the throes of planning his future with fellow reality star Keira Maguire, after the pair met on Bachelor In Paradise.
‘I’m not loved-up and he is,’ she said in a radio interview, adding that she was pleased for the vineyard manager, but that everyone knew The Bachelorette ‘didn’t work out’ for her.
She announced her split from millionaire publican Stu in January, after just six months of dating.
And while she was spotted out with sports star Shane Warne last week, the blonde beauty is still single and seriously considering her options.
Desperate to start a family of her own, Sophie has openly spoken of her deep desire to have children.
Having always considered adoption, IVF and surrogacy, the star is only too aware that, as her 40th birthday approaches, she needs to start the process before it’s too late.
‘Her age is a factor in most of her options now and Sophie knows she can’t wait around for Prince Charming to sweep her off her feet,’ her friend admits.
‘There is so much going on, it’s adding massive stress to the new job and dating in general because she is so confused.’
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