For someone who’s only been in the Love Island villa for a few weeks, Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu has certainly had her fair share of relationship dramas.
The Turkish actress, 27, came in as a bombshell, stealing Davide Sanclimenti from under Gemma Owen’s nose, but then in walked Scottish businessmen Jay immediately Younger and her head was turned. Sneaking off for cheeky snogs with Jay, she was soon caught and Davide, 27, was not left happy.
But then, when new girl Antigoni Buxton, 26, arrived at the villa and took Jay on a date, things quickly started to unravel again for her. Jay, 28, told Ekin-Su that he wanted to get to know other girls, including her pal Paige Thorn, 24, and Ekin-Su then made it very clear things between them were over.
And now there’s Charlie Radnedge, 28, another newcomer who Ekin-Su keen seems to get to know. But Ekin-Su’s mum has leapt to her defence, saying she had no choice but to cause “explosions” on arrival, or she could have been voted off the show.
In an exclusive interview, retired teacher and psychotherapist Sezer Cülcüloğlu slams Davide for calling her daughter a ‘liar.’ She reveals that ‘Su’ has been determined to become famous since she was three-years-old and is already a big name in Turkey.
And she adds that the actress and singer wanted to couple up with fishmonger Luca Bish and estate agent Andrew Le Page before the ITV contest started.
Sezer, 56, said: “I know she likes Luca because Su told me she finds him attractive. We got to look at the pictures of all of the contestants at the beginning of the show and she was saying, ‘Luca looks nice.’
“She also liked Andrew but, unfortunately, she had no chance with either of them as they were already coupled-up by the time she entered the villa. I don’t know if she was so compatible with Jay. I did see some chemistry but her previous boyfriends were not so muscly.
“Su has always been keen on guys that are into sport as she has been going to the gym regularly since secondary school. She goes three times a week and eats healthy food, so she wants to meet someone similar.
“I will be happy as long as he makes my daughter happy. But as soon as I see her not happy and in tears, I will be like, ‘Wait a minute, what is happening here?”
Sezer and Ekin-Su’s dad Zekai, 59, have been watching their daughter on the new series of Love Island at the family home in Loughton, Essex, along with her younger brother Arda, 17.
Her parents moved to the UK when they were in their 20s, having met at a drama class in the second year of university in their native Turkey.
But while her mum got a job as a schoolteacher and her dad became a graphic designer, Ekin-Su showed a determination to be on stage from an early age.
Her mum said: “She was born to be a star and she always wanted to be famous. I remember taking her to the Nutcracker ballet at the Royal Opera House when she was three-and-a-half-years-old.
“When the show started, Su stood up suddenly and held out her arms and we couldn’t get her to sit back down.
“She watched the whole show with her hands up because she wanted to be on stage. When she was five, we went to Majorca on holiday and one night we sat at the hotel watching a Spanish girl perform.
“Suddenly, Su was nowhere to be seen and we were looking for her when we noticed a group of people laughing and clapping.
“We went over and it was Su, twirling around like a ballerina. She has always wanted to grab people’s attention like that. Her dream is to perform in the West End in London.”
Ekin-Su studied performing arts at the University of Central Lancashire and then worked as an assistant manager at the Huawei technology company for two years.
Then, two years ago, she impressed the famous Turkish theater director Müjdat Gezen while on holiday in Istanbul and he took her under his wing, according to her mum.
Sezer said: “We are used to watching her on television in Turkey and people love her over there. She was a judge on a TV show called Singing With Me, which is similar to X Factor. She has performed in a number of plays including one called, ‘The Woman With Seven Husbands.’
“She was a soloist singer with the Enbe orchestra and played a doctor in the Arka Sokaklar soap opera and she had a song called Yeniden Baslasin in the charts in Turkey.” She lived in Turkey for two years before she was selected for Love Island.”
In previous episodes, Ekin-Su has clashed with the girls who accussed her of playing a game, and argued with Davide and Jay, with Davide accusing her of cheating and deserving an Oscar for lying.
But she has also made fans laugh with antics such as taking Jay up to the terrace for a kiss and there was outrage when she came close to getting voted off.
Her mum said: “Su came to the villa late so what do you expect? She had to push the limits. She is the bombshell and the producers expected her to cause explosions, otherwise she will get sent home.
“The other contestants are lucky because they got to couple up early. Su has always been competitive but she can’t sit around and wait for the boys to come to her.
“She is pushing herself in front of the other girls and making clear the boys she likes – so people might find that irritating at times. But she has to be dominant otherwise she will lose.
“In normal life she has lots of friends and more girls than boys actually – and is always going out with the girls.
“Su doesn’t like fighting or gossiping. When she entered the villa, she had to choose someone and Davide looked good. But she knows she was his second choice as he was more keen on Gemma.
“He was talking behind Su’s back and watching her all the time and she doesn’t need that. He should have been more supportive and then it might have worked out better.
“She was fed up – and I could see that – so when she saw Jay, she went for him. That’s normal. Su is always following her feelings. If she has chemistry with someone, she goes for it and actually, Davide deserved that.
“She’s not desperate to get married, but she has been in love before. There was one boy here, an English boy, that she met in the pub and they were together two-and-a-half years. He still comes over to see us and they are still friends, even though they separated two years ago and he has another girlfriend now. I feel like he is my second son and is supporting her on Love Island, I think.
“Su’s very focused on her career right now. She wants to be famous and successful but she’s also looking to fall in love, of course. She is carrying the show, for me – and everyone is saying that. It’s Ekin-Su’s island now.”
Love Island continues every night at 9pm on ITV2.