THEY say happiness is a new haircut, and judging by Millie Court’s fresh mane of waist-length platinum extensions, it’s plain she’s putting her best foot forward as she embraces being back on the market.

Just a few weeks ago, 25-year-old Millie announced over Instagram that she and boyfriend Liam Reardon, 22, had split, almost a year after the pair won the 2021 series of Love Island.

Revealing he had already moved out of their luxury Essex apartment and returned to his native Wales, Millie declared she was “gutted” but they were both “ready for new chapters”. 

Yet, despite the seemingly amicable uncoupling, fans began speculating that Liam – who famously locked lips with blonde bombshell Lillie Haynes during his stint in Casa Amor, smashing Millie’s heart in the process – had been up to his old tricks.

“It’s not true,” says Millie, speaking to Fabulous in her first interview about the split.

“Because of Casa Amor, people go: ‘Liam’s obviously cheated again,’ and it’s not the case. Nothing happened for us to [break up]. No one cheated.

“It just was a decision that we made because it wasn’t right for us. I want to stick up for Liam and have his back. He’s not a bad guy.”

It’s a generous leap to Liam’s defence, but that’s Millie all over. She goes on to explain that she and her ex still “get on really, really well and have a laugh together”, and she’s hopeful they can remain friends, just like her own parents did after separating when Millie was three.

“When they’re in the same room, my dad [Rob, 51, a neon sign maker] makes my mum [Esmé, 53, a finance PA] laugh loads and it’s really nice to see that they’re on good terms,” says Millie. 

Unlike most couples, who may wait years to cohabit, Love Island romances play out at warp speed, and Millie and Liam lived with her mum for three months after the show ended, before getting their own place.

Despite their break-up, Millie has “no regrets” over the rate at which her and Liam’s relationship moved, but after an intense year together, she understandably now feels like a piece of her is missing.

“I’m obviously not totally OK. I’m the best Millie that I can be and going through something that’s not very nice,” she says.

“Anyone who goes through a break-up feels the same. We all know what heartbreak feels like.

“Liam is the one person I saw every day who understood the life-changing experiences we were both going through. We can’t just cut things off, and we’ll still support each other in all that we do.”

A former ASOS buyers’ administrator who achieved a 2:1 degree in fashion buying and brand management at Ravensbourne University, before joining the cast of Love Island 2021, Millie is now a multimillionaire after winning a score of lucrative brand offers.

As well as a seven-figure contract with ASOS and Puma, Millie has landed sizeable endorsements with several beauty brands and now sits comfortably in Fabulous’ Top 10 highest-earning Love Islanders, after becoming one of the most in-demand contestants in the show’s seven-year history.

“When I applied to go on Love Island, I never in a million years believed that this would be my life,” says Millie, describing the “hilarious” drunken 60-second application video she filmed that started her journey. 

Over the last 12 months, she has flown to LA twice to shoot campaign photography for ASOS. And, after a four-day trip to Ibiza with Islander pals Chloe Burrows and Lucinda Strafford, Millie is jetting to Mallorca for the Love Island 2022 final.

She also recently enjoyed a private dinner event with superstar musician Dua Lipa, who is also a face of Puma.

“When I first worked for ASOS, if you had told me I’d be going to an event with Dua Lipa, have 2 million followers on Instagram and be doing all these different brand collaborations, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she says, shaking her head.

“I still have to pinch myself every single day. The opportunities that have come from it and the things that I get invited to blow my mind.”

Apart from promoting brands including Hello Fresh and Sky TV on Insta, former bricklayer Liam’s post-Love-Island career has barely left the starting blocks. But Millie firmly dismisses suggestions that the disparity drove a wedge between them.

“No, [Liam] was always supportive of me, so we rode through it together and he literally cheered me on with every single thing I did,” she says. 

Millie is no stranger to hard graft – during her student years at Ravensbourne, she earned £200 a month working as a sales assistant and made extra cash by selling clothes on Depop. 

How times have changed. From her share of the £50,000 Love Island prize, she sensibly put some aside for savings, then decided to splash out on a £2,500 Fendi handbag – she recalls feeling “sick” the day she bought it.  

“I had never spent that much money in one go in my life,” she laughs. 

“I wouldn’t say I don’t worry about money any more, but I am choosing to be smart and make good investments for my future. I still try to be sensible and save, but I buy a treat for myself once a month,” says Millie, flashing an expression of mock guilt.

So what was the last treat?

“This bracelet,” she replies, fiddling with a gorgeous gold and onyx Van Cleef & Arpels chain on her right wrist. A quick search online reveals it is worth in excess of £3,000.

But a bigger splurge is coming. When the lease on the apartment Millie shared with Liam ends in November, she’s planning to invest in her first home.

“I can’t wait to buy my own place,” she grins. “I don’t want to waste any more money renting. It’s really exciting!”

The earning potential for Love Island stars is no secret, and Millie admits that her motivation for going on the show was two-fold.

“I don’t think anyone can solely say: ‘I only went on there for love,’ but obviously, if I wasn’t looking for love I would have come across as fake,” she says.

Remembering her time in Mallorca, she says it was the “best summer of my life”, and one that she will “look back at and feel forever grateful” for. That’s not to say all that lounging around in the heat wasn’t, at times, mundane. 

“If we were talking about something boring, like what kind of bread we liked, the ‘Voice of God’ – a voice that is piped through speakers throughout the villa – would say: ‘Guys, this is a really boring conversation. Can you talk about something else?’

“Sometimes I’d speak into my microphone and go: ‘Voice of God, can I get some new razors?’ And they’d go: ‘Yes, Millie, we’ll send new ones for you.’ They were always there for whatever we needed.”

And that includes emotional support. Millie confesses she had never had any counselling prior to going on the show, which required an “intense” pre-show one-hour phone call with a counsellor to check she was “mentally strong enough”, and then four one-hour sessions after filming ended.

She was also encouraged to speak to a psychologist during her first week on the show, when she admits she felt “out of sorts” after joining as a “bombshell” and being catapulted into the already-established group of friends.

“I really wasn’t myself and I struggled,” says Millie. “Normally when I have a problem, I deal with it myself.

“I don’t like to talk about my feelings, so I block them out, but speaking about them to the therapist made me feel so much better. I thought: ‘Why did I not do this three days ago?’”

Millie booked in for another debrief after becoming anxious over a night she spent with Liam in The Hideaway.

“We didn’t do anything, but I was in sexy underwear and the next day I felt really uncomfortable, thinking: ‘Why did I do that?’ I was panicking about what everyone was thinking about me, because we hadn’t known each other long.”

Since rugby player Jacques O’Neill quit this year’s Love Island, citing that his mental health was deteriorating, a debate has resurfaced questioning the show’s future, with some suggesting that highly entertaining segments like Casa Amor and the antics-exposing Movie Night exploit contestants’ mental health.

“You’re going on Love Island, you know there will be challenges and you set yourself up for it,” says Millie. “I don’t think Movie Night is bad. Obviously, it’s not a great night, because people get upset, but they’ll come out and watch it anyway. People need to own up to their actions.”

A fan of this year’s contestants Ekin-Su Cülcüloglu and Indiyah Polack, Millie declares that none of this year’s boys have caught her eye in the way that Liam did.

“I thank god I was in the series I was and really fancied Liam, because in this series, I haven’t got the instant attraction, thinking: ’Oh my god, I really fancy them.’ Obviously, I think Davide is beautiful and hilarious, but he doesn’t seem like my cup of tea.”

One man who would turn Millie’s head is Justin Bieber, a celebrity childhood crush who she jokes is still her “number-one” guy.

Millie’s manager, who is observing our interview, tells how an inebriated Millie hysterically ran across a field at Coachella earlier this year after realising Biebs was performing at the Californian festival.

“I was screaming and crying,” laughs Millie. “I didn’t realise he would be there!”

On the flip side to Millie’s success, she’s also faced abuse from trolls, most recently for her post-villa weight gain. A size 10 – two sizes more than she was while on Love Island – she recently ditched gym workouts for Pilates and feels better for it.

“I want to be healthy, but I don’t want to go back to the size I was, because I was working out every day and feeling miserable,” explains Millie. “I hated working out, but always felt like I had to.

“Going on TV, I wanted to look the best I possibly could. I thought I’d be happier if I lost weight, but I’m actually happier the way that I am now.”

Encouraged by the growing wave of “amazing”’ body positivity on Instagram, Millie feels duty-bound to do her bit to help youngsters accept themselves.

“In my own way, I have a responsibility to help change that narrative. It’s not about what size you are, it’s about whether you’re comfortable in your own skin,” she says. “Do what makes you happy.”

The same applies in love, and Millie, who was in a six-year relationship before Love Island, is now putting romance on hold to concentrate on becoming an even bigger success, which involves launching her own brand – plans she swears she is unable to discuss in any detail. 

“I’m busy every single day and I absolutely love my job. I’ve always been career-focused, so now’s the time to really go for it with work. Let’s just focus on that,” she grins. “Focus on me.”

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