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Curtis Pritchard reached the series five finale of Love Island with Maura Higgins but it wasn't a smooth ride for the professional dancer who had to break up with "half-girlfriend" Amy Hart after realising he didn't see a future.
His mum Debi Pritchard, 48, from Stoke-On-Trent felt for both the youngsters as she watched the scenes play out at home.
Therefore she would have empathy for the family of Aaron Francis who called time on his relationship with Sharon Gaffka.
Curtis received "terrifying messages" after the breakup, like current Love Island contestant Chloe Burrows, who's family were forced to ask viewers to be kinder to Chloe.
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They wrote on her Instagram account, “We all have thick skin but the amount of trolling Chloe has been receiving is absolutely disgusting. This morning we woke up to yet another DM encouraging Chloe to kill herself.”
Like Rosie Williams' mum Sharon, Debbie had a unique experience of the popular ITV show…
"Curtis spent a lot of his life competing in dance so when his brother AJ suggested he apply for Love Island I was all for it, thinking the break could do him good. I didn’t quite realise how everyone would have an opinion on my son.
Initially, Curtis coupled up with Amy and he was getting so much love, but my mother’s instinct told me it wasn’t going to work out. It took a turn when he decided to break up with her. I got lots of terrifying messages telling me I should die, and Curtis should die. It took me by surprise – as a mum, it was hard to deal with and it made me cry.
It would have been easy for Curtis to stick with Amy and maintain his popularity, but he wasn’t compromising himself for the sake of a television show and I was proud of him for doing the right thing.
I cried for Amy, too. I was heartbroken for her and I knew Curtis would feel terrible. If I could have phoned him at that point, I would have told him to feel the pain, but move forward.
During their break-up, he told Amy, “I also want to be the person that gets up and makes everyone a coffee so everyone’s ready for the morning,” when she asked why he didn’t want to cuddle.
I knew he was trying to say he wants to make everyone happy – that’s just what he’s like – but that line was taken out of context and made into a meme. We can see the funny side, though.
I didn’t miss a single episode, even when I went to New York. I remember AJ taking me to a red carpet event and we still rushed back home to watch it. I’d feel a nervous energy before 9pm, then when the show was on I would feel everything he was feeling.
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There were some great moments that made me feel like the world was seeing the Curtis I know and love – like the time he put on pink hot pants that were three sizes too small.
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He got some wonderful opportunities from it, and he’s getting to work on exciting projects with AJ. I still can’t get used to people knowing his name. I tend to run off when fans stop him, but I’ve told him he’s always got to stop, because they are the reason he’s where he is.
If I could give this year’s mums any advice it would be to stay off social media if you can’t deal with criticism of your children. And just support them – their lives are going to change beyond recognition, so they’ll need their mums!"
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