The Chase star shames Joey Essex for being too old for Love Island

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The Chase’s resident quizmaster Mark Labbett has made his feelings about reality star Joey Essex’s bombshell arrival on Love Island brutally clear.

From Adam Collard (the second time) to Maura Higgins, Love Island has certainly delivered its fair share of iconic bombshells.

But none more so than Dancing on Ice contestant Joey aka ‘King of Essex’ who became the first ever celebrity to enter the Love Island villa after the new ITV season kicked off on Monday.

The news shocked the islanders and all of us watching at home, with fans sharing their unimpressed reactions to the surprise appearance.

‘As you know you’re on Love Island, you must always expect the unexpected,’ host Maya Jama warned the islanders, before welcoming him into the villa.

The 33-year-old vowed he was ready to find love and declared: ‘Boys you better watch out, I’m coming for the girls.’ But now Mark, 58, has delivered his harsh verdict on Joey’s hopes for summer love.

Joey Essex on Love Island
No one was expecting that (Picture: ITV)
Joey Essex
This was not on our 2024 bingo card (Picture: ITV)

Over on X, Mark retweeted a post from the account Out of Context Football Manager who wrote: ‘Joey Essex is 33, he should not be on Love Island. At that age I wouldn’t even sign him on Football Manager.’

The post did receive some backlash with @rycol91 writing: ‘I’ve never been much of a fan of Joey Essex, but anyone of any age deserves to find love and happiness.’

And @jc84848484 adding: ‘What you even doing watching it, thats a tragic as this post [sic].’

A post from an X account about Joey Essex joining Love Island as a 33-year-old
Mark reshared the post taking aim at Joey’s age (Picture: X/@marklabbett)
Mark Labbett
Mark did not hold back on social media (Picture: ITV/Shutterstock)

After Joey, the next youngest contestant is 30-year-old Munveer Jabbal who said he hasn’t ‘found the right girl’ because he is ‘quite picky’ and has ‘high standards’.

And it seems as though the viewers at home also could not believe their eyes, and had to double take to confirm it was Joey – but they weren’t too happy to see him there.

‘I DONT KNOW WHATS MORE WEIRD, JOEY ESSEX BEING ON LOVE ISLAND OR HIM BEING 33,’ Imarobot___ wrote on X.

‘Icl Joey Essex might ruin it. Have we not begged them to bring extra normal people in and they’ve gone and brought a ‘household’ name,’ Tomi added.

Rachel seethed: ‘no way joey essex is on love island in 2024 i can’t stand this country.’

Donal blasted: ‘I don’t know who’s scrapping the barrel more; Love Island having Joey Essex on the show, or Joey Essex going on the show.’

‘Joey Essex coming in as a bombshell in love island was not on my 2024 bingo card,’ viewer Ava wrote on X.

‘The way I saw the abs… the hair… the name… it didn’t click… it took me a few seconds, then I quite literally screamed “oh my god that’s joey Essex”,’ Lottie said.

Ryan added: ‘Joey Essex? Took me a minute to even realise that was him, like so unexpected I had to do a double take.’

Joey Essex and Vanessa Bauer on Dancing On Ice
The Dancing On Ice star is on the hunt for love (Picture: Matt Frost/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Ahead of entering the villa, Joey told The Sun: ‘I feel like Joey Bond, “the names Essex, Joey Essex”.

‘It felt like a military operation, not even the journey itself but the process of even getting through the application process and to this point.’

He went on: ‘I’m extremely single right now, so I’m praying that I’m going to walk out of the villa hand in hand with the love of my life, that’s my main aim and all I care about.

‘It’s difficult for me to meet girls on the outside as they judge me based on a persona so I think this experience will allow for people to see the real me.’

He added: ‘I just want someone to like me for me and now from what they see on TV.

Joey Essex
Joey wants people to see ‘the real him’ (Picture: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

‘This is exactly why I’m going into the Villa because you’re disconnected from the rest of the world and can focus on what actually matters on a far deeper level.’

This time last year, Joey, following his split from Dancing On Ice partner Vanessa Bauer, revealed he was setting his sights on finding love.

‘I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m single and getting my life together,’ he said at the time.

‘If a nice, kind girl walks into my life I’d get to know her.’

He added: ‘I’d like a girlfriend, but she needs to fit into my jigsaw puzzle. I’ve had some nice girlfriends over the years, but I need a girl to lift me up and put a smile on my face every day.’

Joey Essex on I'm A Celebrity
The I’m A Celebrity star is on another ITV reality programme (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Joey rose to fame in 2011 on The Only Way Is Essex, before starring on the likes of I’m A Celebrity in 2013 and the first series of Celebrity Ex On The Beach in 2020.

He’s also appeared on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, Celebrity MasterChef, Celebs Go Dating.

While on Towie, Joey found love with fellow cast member Sam Faiers, and the couple even got engaged before calling it quits in 2014.

He was then rumoured to be dating model Amy Willerton after meeting on I’m A Celebrity, and then Stephanie Pratt after hitting it off on Celebs Go Dating.

Love Island continues on Tuesday at 9pm on ITV1.

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