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Love Island winners Paige Turley and Finley Tapp have urged this year’s couples to make sure they have a strong support network so they don’t get caught up in fame.
The couple, still together since winning the show in February 2020, reckon keeping old friends and family around you is key to not getting swept up in the showbiz lifestyle that comes post-villa.
It was the same advice previous Islander Montana Brown gave them.
Paige, 24, says: “Having a good support network around you is the biggest thing. It’s nice to go to these glamorous events and it’s fun, but we also really enjoy going back to our homes and seeing friends and family and having that normal experience.
“Montana told us: ‘Continue to be you, have a good support network.’ You only really know what other people are going through if you’ve been in the villa, so it was nice hearing that advice.
“We’ve been lucky to have people who want the best for us, people who will help you make the right decisions.”
Finn adds: “It’s about making sure the pals that were with you beforehand are still there.
"At the end of the day, they know you better than newfound friends who happen to be in the same line of work as you are now.
“Although external factors have changed, we’re still very much the same people as before we went in there.”
The couple’s relationship has gone from strength to strength and they now live together in Manchester.
It was a big commitment for the pair to up sticks so soon after getting together –Paige is from West Lothian in Scotland, while Finn is from Milton Keynes – but they reckon you have to make that jump if you want a romance to work on the outside.
Incredibly three other couples from their series are also still an item – Siannise Fudge and Luke Trotman, Molly Smith and Callum Jones and Nas Majeed and Eva Zapico.
Paige and Finn reckon the key to maintaining a relationship outside is to slow down and get to know your partner in the real world.
Finn, 21, says: “You’ve got to take a step back, take the time to adapt to real-life problems and how are you going to face the real world.
“Your relationship is accelerated in there. When you come out it doesn’t mean that you can’t say: ‘Now let’s
get to know each other in real-life circumstances’ rather than just keep accelerating. Be patient.”
After leaving the South African villa, the two only had a short while to enjoy life on the outside before Covid restrictions came into force.
Paige says: “It was hectic. We had three weeks of fun and then into lockdown.
“We’ve seen each other in pyjamas, watched all the TV series and done a lot of old married couple stuff and now we’re trying to get the first dates again.
“We went to a club for the first time weeks ago and it was the first time we’d seen each other dance. It was comical.”
“When you’re in there you’re planning all these things,” adds Finn. “We’ll go on holiday here, we’ll do this when we’re out, but none of that ever happened.
"But looking back, it’s done really well for Paige and I and a lot of couples from our series. Lockdown solidified things for us.”
The pair split a £50,000 prize and while Paige treated herself to a new laptop and boots, Finn says: “I’m doing the sensible thing and sitting on it.”
As to Monday’s Love Island finale, they tip the winners as either Chloe Burrows and Toby Aromolaran or Liam Reardon and Millie Court – despite Liam’s Casa Amor snogs with Lillie Haynes.
“I do genuinely believe Liam has learned from Casa Amor,” says Finn. “I think the excitement got to him and he did feel bad and take accountability, and all he’s done since is reassure her that was just a mistake.
“And I think most of the couples will last on the outside. Kaz and Tyler I can see it, Millie and Liam, Chloe and Toby.”
But could there be a Paige and Finn engagement soon? Finn says: “It’s something we want to happen but coming out of lockdown, now is the time for us to live our lives, make memories. That will put us in good stead for when the time’s right.”
The couple are also busy with their individual projects, singer Paige is looking to festivals at the end of the year and Finn pursuing a golfing ambition.
He says: “I’m working towards the British Masters. I’ve got a 12-month campaign with a golf company so that’s lessons and content on my socials.
“I’m hoping to get my handicap down, do a tournament and then hopefully I’m good enough to try and muscle my way into a competitive one next year.”
Finn was also a semi-pro footballer, most recently with Oxford City before Love Island but doesn’t feel he can give enough to a side at the moment.
He adds: “I don’t want to be that person who plays at the weekend because I was on a TV show. I want to be the person who is training hard and deserves to play.”
So maybe he could form a Love Island side with fellow footballers Toby and Aaron Simpson?
“That,” says Finn, “would be a bloody good team!”
Love Island continues tonight on ITV2 at 9pm
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