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20 June 2019, 06:56 | Updated: 20 June 2019, 07:24
The sandwich maker has denied that he "manipulated" the pretty surfer, or that he demonstrated "controlling behaviour" during his time on the ITV show.
Evicted Love Island hunk Joe Garratt has denied acting abusively towards his Villa girlfriend Lucie Donlan.
The sandwich maker, 22, has spoken out for the first time since losing his place on the ITV show on Tuesday night - furiously hitting back at claims that he acted badly towards the pretty surfer, 21, who has been seen crying every night.
Ofcom has received more than 1,200 complaints about the series so far this year, with the South Londoner's "controlling" behaviour making up a percentage of the public's concern.
Joe told The Sun: "I didn’t manipulate or abuse her.
“I am gutted that it has been perceived in that way because it wasn’t like that at all.
"I always had Lucie’s best interests at heart and I promise you I would do everything and anything to help her because she had a hard time in there and didn’t get on with the girls.
"I was trying to help her and make her experience as amazing as possible. I thought I did right.”
The controversy stems from his on-screen reaction to Lucie's friendships with the guys in the villa, in particular boxer Tommy Fury.
Joe made it very clear to Lucie he found it "strange" and "disrespectful".
Fans of the show came to Lucie's defence when Joe pulled her to the side and made her cry after saying: "The whole thing with Tommy, I’m not happy with it, it is strange."
He seemed to use her feelings toward him as leverage, stating: “You know I like you so much but I do doubt things at times.
“On the outside world, I’d find it disrespectful, and I don’t want to doubt us.”
He also encouraged her to spend more time with the women in the villa after Lucie had made it clear that she hadn't clicked with any of them and was content with her male friendships.
Viewers were already unhappy with what he'd said but he later stated in the beach hut: “I need her to understand where I’m coming from and hopefully adapt to the situation.
“I hope today is the day she wakes up and she will change.”
Joe told The Sun: "I am not going to say sorry.
“I may have worded things wrong and the cameras are on you 24/7. I may have slipped up a bit but I am only human.
“I am young and inexperienced so maybe some things have come out differently to what they are. I just hope people can see me for who I genuinely am and what I genuinely am. I am not that person."
Joe also believes that Lucie will back him when she leaves the villa and discovers the controversy that surrounded her fledgling relationship.
He added: "Lucie is an emotional girl. I think 100% Lucie will be shocked.
"I am confident she will look at it and be like that is not Joe at all. She will look at it and say that is not the Joe I met, that is not the Joe I know.
"I think she will be upset about what has come out because it is not me.”
Adina Claire, Co-Chief Executive of the domestic violence charity said: "Controlling behaviour is never acceptable, and with Love Island viewers complaining to Ofcom in record numbers about Joe's possessive behaviour towards Lucie, more people are becoming aware of this and want to challenge it.
"Abusive relationships often start off with subtle signs of control, so it’s important that it is recognised at an early stage.
"Love Island viewers are now very vocal in calling out unhealthy behaviour between couples on the show, and this is a positive development."
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