On Air Now
Early Breakfast with James Stewart 4am - 6:30am
23 June 2019, 13:53 | Updated: 23 June 2019, 13:56
The Irish model's former boyfriend blasts her antics in the villa and says she is "putting on an act"
Love Island's Maura Higgins quickly made her mark on the show with her eyebrow-raising advances towards boxer Tommy Fury.
But now the Irish grid girl's former fiancé has called out her behaviour, branding her flirty antics "fake" and "fame-hungry" in an explosive interview.
According to ex-boyfriend James Finnegan, the 28-year-old model is playing up to the cameras in the hope of securing a money-making career when she exits the show.
The mechanic told The Sun on Sunday: "Maura wants to be famous and she is very ambitious and determined.
“I think Maura is playing a game and trying to grab attention."
Her previous partner of nine years (pictured on Maura's right below) added that he had no idea why she was "using so much bad language on TV" and believes her X-rated conversations are for show.
He added: “The Maura you see on Love Island is not the Maura I know. For me, she is putting on an act.
"I haven’t watched the scene where she was hitting on Tommy Fury but she never did anything like that to me. I’m not even sure he’s her type."
The 31-year-old also admitted that her interest in women came as a shock to him.
He continued: "I did see the episode where she was talking about the lesbian thing with the other woman and that surprised me.
"It must have happened after we broke up because I don’t remember anything like that. She never expressed any interest in women when we were together."
Despite branding her "ruthless", James did admit he was concerned about how people will react to Maura when she arrives back home in Ballymahon – a small town with the population of less than 3,000.
“I think Maura is playing a game and trying to grab attention. But there is a lot of jealousy towards her here, with people b******* behind her back. I think she will be given a hard time when she comes home.”
The glamorous Islander has caused controversy with her explicit chat and advances towards Tommy, 20, with many viewers labelling her a "man-eater".
But James insisted she was "easy-going" and shy when he dated the Irish beauty during their teenage years.
He said: “Our first date was to the local cinema. I was nervous because I was so keen.
“She was not the most beautiful girl in town and was much more plain and reserved back then, but I had wanted to go out with her for some time. The first date went well and we had a little kiss. We had a lot in common, we both loved cars. Maura was easy-going back then.”
However when she hit her early twenties, James claimed Maura set her sights firmly on fame.
“She started going to modelling and talent contests. I would always support her. She never came first as far as I can remember.
“I think the modelling contests gave her confidence because she had to stand on stage and talk about herself.
“It was around that time she started to become more glam. She wanted to appear in magazines, newspapers and television adverts.
“She used to make me watch shows like Love Island, Geordie Shore, Tallafornia, which is an Irish reality show, and TOWI|E. You could see she was keen on that world.”
James proposed to Maura in 2016, but the wedding never happened and the couple parted ways a year later.
“I was pretty heartbroken about the split, it took a long time to get over it. I haven’t spoken to her for six months now,” admitted Maura's ex.
When asked about her stint on the hit ITV2 show, he added: “It was a bit of a shock but I already knew something like that was on the cards. Maura wants to be famous and she is very ambitious and determined.
“I find it difficult to watch the show but I wish her all the best on Love Island — I hope she wins.”