Love Island’s Jacques O’Neill: why did he and Gemma Owen end badly?

'Jax' told Afia that things did NOT end amicably with his ex which is a sure-fire first date killer tbh

Love Island Jax and Gemma have a chat

by Ben Pulsford |

Love Island producers have dropped another Bombshell on the villa in the alluring form of angel-eyed, rugby-playing, 23-year-old Jacques O'Neil.

But don't be fooled by this dreamboat's enticing eyes and dangerously deep dimples, he enters the villa with BAGGAGE; a small carry on we've come to know as 19-year-old Gemma Owen, daughter of England football legend, Michael Owen.

Yep, unsurprisingly, these painfully attractive human beings managed to find each other and make it work over lockdown – well, until it didn't. The pair dated for eight months in 2020 and, according to Gemma, broke up a year and a half ago, which means they called it quits at the beginning of 2021.

Jacques O'Neil Love Island
Jacques O'Neil on a date with Paige Turley ©ITV

So, plenty of Zoom dates and romantic, socially distant strolls to nowhere then? Jokes aside, this does mean that the reacquainted pair have been brought back together in one of the least socially-distant environments on the planet - Love Island.

It sounds like Gemma is Jacques most recent relationship, too. In a recent interview with ITV, he said, "I split up with my ex and then I was seeing someone else. I was concentrating so much on my rugby and then I had that injury. I think it needs to be the right person, at the right time. "

Of course, Twitter has deduced that Gemma was around 17 years old when she dated cheeky chappy Jacques. Could a rekindling be on the cards now the pair are older and wiser? Lest we forget that 19 is roughly 36 in Love Island years. We'd make a 'Relight My Fire' joke, but the song was released literally decades before either of them were born, so there's no point really.

Jacques O'Neil Afia Tonkmor date
Jacques O'Neil and Afia and Tonkmor on their morning date ©ITV

Upon his arrival in the Love Island villa, Jacques went on romantic morning dates with single Islanders Afia Tonkmor and Paige Thorne. The girls received a text inviting them to the garden for a date.

Gemma Owen soon clocked that the new boy was her ex, Jacques, saying, "Oh my god, no, that's my ex boyfriend.”

When asked about how long they were together, Gemma, said, “Eight months.” When asked when they broke up she added, “A year and a half ago.”

New Love Island Bombshell Jacques O'Neill is Gemma Owen's ex
Did you know? New Love Island Bombshell Jacques O'Neill is Gemma Owen's ex ©ITV

Heading down to the garden, Afia met with Jacques and was keen to know more, establishing that he is in fact Gemma’s ex, Afia asked, “Did it end amicably?”

Jacques replied, “I wouldn’t say so, maybe not, I am not sure but we will have to find out won’t we?”

To be fair, if they broke up over Zoom, there could've been connectivity issues, which could explain Jacques' puzzlement.

Jacques O'Neil Gemma Owen Love Island
Jacques O'Neil grabbed ex Gemma Owen for a chat ©ITV

Later in the day, Jacques and Gemma caught up privately over a chat, re-establishing a connection after a year and a half, but whether it's sexual, romantic or platonic, we're just not sure yet. We have a feeling we know how producers want this one to go, though...

But let's let Jacques settle in and unpack his very tight swim shorts and all the shirts he forgot to bring. Here's everything you need to know about Love Island Season 8's latest stud muffin.

How old is Jacques O'Neil?

Jacques is 23 years old. He was born 8 May 1999.

What does Jacques O'Neil do for a living?

Jacques O'Neil is an English professional rugby league player who most recently played as a hooker or loose forward for the Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Super League.

Where is Jacques O'Neil from?

Lots of Islanders seemed to struggle with this one upon Jacques's arrival, so allow us to clarify; Jacques is from Cumbria, so grew up close to the Peak District (which is in England, Paige). He now lives in Leeds.

Does Jacques O'Neil have Instagram?

Not that we've looked or anything, but yes, yes he does. Follow him at @jacques9oneill_.

Why is Jacques O'Neil on Love Island?

He says, "I had injury after injury with my hamstring last year. I had an operation and it was a bad time for me. I was saying to my mum the other day that I want a girl and to settle down. I’ve done all my bits."

And he's only 23.

Why Jacques O'Neil thinks he would be a good boyfriend...

Prepare for a humbling answer.

Jacques says, "We all think we’re a catch, don’t we? I’m loyal, I’m respectful and I’ve got good manners. I’ll look after someone close to me to the full extent I can. I would have a baby in two or three years. I think I’d be good with babies too, they’d be good looking wouldn’t they?"

What gives Jacques O'Neil the 'ick'?

Jacques says, "People singing Christmas songs! I was seeing this girl and it was just before Christmas and she started singing Christmas songs in the car and it went through me - it gave me the ick bad."

Luckily he's on Summer Love Island, not Winter, then.

LOVE ISLAND AIRS TONIGHT AT 9PM ON ITV2 AND ITV HUB. Episodes are available the following morning on BritBox.

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