Singer and model, Paige Turley found love and fame when she and footballer, Finn Tapp were crowned this year’s winners on ITV’s Love Island.
Since their whirlwind romance in the villa in South Africa the couple have moved in to their own home in Manchester and are making plans for the future.
Down-to-earth, bubbly Turley, 23, happily describes 20-year-old Tapp, a model and semi-professional footballer, as “‘The One’” although she admits: “I never expected to fall in love on the show and never dreamt I’d win. We’re so looking forward to the future together and taking every day as it comes.”
Hailing from West Lothian in Scotland, she is no stranger to the spotlight. After reaching the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2012 when she was only 14, she’s been performing ever since and recently released her debut single, Movin’ Too Fast.
Turley, who once dated singer, Lewis Capaldi, talks fast-track love, coping with reality show fame, and how she’s ‘house training’ her partner.
How do you look back on Love Island?
“Honestly, it seems surreal to look back on it now. We came out of the villa in February with our life changed and just after that was the first lockdown so the whole world changed as well.
“Before I went on the show, I’d always thought they just chucked in fit blokes and girls and hoped for the best but hats off to the Love Island team, they’re really good at match-making. I realise that they really take their time to make sure the people chosen are compatible with each other.
“It always baffled me how people got intense so quickly but when you’re in there it does happen. You become invested in each other so fast.”
How is your relationship?
“We’re really good together and when the time’s right we’ll definitely get engaged and marry. Of course, I’ll wait for Finn to propose! He’s a couple of years younger than me but I think he wants to be married and have a family quite young. He’s way more broody than me.
“Our relationship began differently and was very escalated but it’s worked perfectly for us and it would be strange for us now to slow down.
“I’ve never felt like anyone the way I do about him and, although I know we’re young and it’s a big commitment, it feels right. I can’t picture my life without him. My ultimate dream is to enjoy health and happiness with us together, living in a house with a white picket fence and, in years to come, have children.
What makes Finn ‘The One’?
“We’ve got a similar sense of humour, which I think is really important, and we know when to prod and challenge each other and when to support each other.
“He’s so kind and generous, bless him, and a really lovely person. He’s always organising surprises and outings for me. But best of all are the little things. I’ve come in tired from work sometimes to find he’s run a bath and surrounded it by scented candles and put in rose petals.
“Lots of people ask me if I can trust him because he’s so hot and he’s a footballer and generally they do have a bit of a reputation. But he was in Casa Amor (the Love Island villa) with six gorgeous models and we got past that so I think we’re all good on the trust front.”
Do you ever row?
“We’ve never had a proper argument but, of course, we have tiffs occasionally. Let’s say Finn’s not yet house trained! I caught him the other day trying to hoover the kitchen worktops because he thought it was quicker than wiping them. And he seems to think clothes walk across the floor to the wardrobe!
“We do fight over the TV remote – he wants the football and I want my box sets. I’m not that into football but I’ve told Finn as long as it’s not freezing and he buys me a pie, I’ll happily cheer him on from the side lines.”
You’re relationship is under the spotlight how do you cope with that?
“It was a blessing in disguise for our relationship that after being in the villa, Finn and I spent our first months together in lockdown.
“We were able to avoid getting sucked into all that scrutiny. I’ve always been the kind of person who’s happy in the moment and I have confidence in us as a couple. We’re in it for the long haul.
“Couples who’ve broken up in the past maybe struggled with the whirlwind of work demands and commitments when you get out [of the villa]. We had real, intimate time to get the basics of our relationship established without being constantly watched.”
How have you coped with the fame?
“I certainly don’t think I’m a celebrity or anything – I’m just a girl who won a competition. I’ve never dreamt of fame, that just baffles me. I’d like recognition for my musical talent and I’m hoping this will open doors for me, although you can be judged more harshly if you’ve been on a reality show.
“Luckily, I’d already established my career in music – I’ve been performing and gigging in Scotland for years.”
Are you body confident?
“I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin. Before I went in the villa I didn’t prepare for it or anything. I’ve always had hair extensions because they make me feel more glamorous, but I’ve never needed to diet and anyway I haven’t got the self-discipline to refuse treats.
“I look at girls with amazing boobs but I couldn’t have cosmetic surgery because I’m far too squeamish about blood to go under the knife! Anyway, my mum’s always advised me not to go near anything like that.”
How do you look after your health?
“I prefer gym classes to workouts. My favourite activity is an outdoor boot camp – an assault course and a mix of cardio and weights.
“I have trained with Finn but as a footballer he’s way too regimented for me and he gets frustrated because he says I slow him down! Nowadays we just go for runs together.”
How do you look after your mental wellbeing?
“I enjoy yoga because it helps to relax me. If I feel stressed I’ll have a long, hot bath and listen to a meditation app. I also love going on long walks with Finn and our dog which really chills me out.
“I’m quite a strong person with a thick skin and you need to be to take part in a reality show. Also I don’t take myself too seriously. If I started behaving differently because I’d been on the show, my friends and family would soon tell me straight ‘get over yourself, Paige’. I have a fantastic support network and that’s vital for wellbeing and keeps me grounded.”