‘It’s a father’s worst nightmare’: Footballer Michael Owen breaks his silence over daughter Gemma, 19, signing up for Love Island after she admitted he ‘isn’t happy about it’
- The Team GB dressage champion will be one of the 11 singletons entering the villa when Love Island launches on Monday
- Gemma, 19, told MailOnline that while her footballer father wasn’t happy with her decision he later gave her his blessing
- Latest news and updates on all of your favourite Love Island contestants
Michael Owen has broken his silence over daughter Gemma signing up for this year’s Love Island.
Speaking to ITV News, Michael, 42, said: ‘I have no doubts that she will make us all proud.
‘It’s probably a father’s worst nightmare, but whatever she wants to do you’ve got to be supportive.
‘It’s a father’s worst nightmare’: Michael Owen, 42, has broken his silence over daughter Gemma, 19, signing up for Love Island after she admitted he ‘isn’t happy about it’
‘I’ve heard a lot about it. I think old, grumpy men like me will always have an opinion on it because I don’t watch it and you just hear snippets, but she assures me it’s not as bad as I think.’
He described Gemma as a ‘sensible girl’, explaining: ‘It’s quite a big thing and whatever she wants to do, you have to be supportive and I think I’ve given her a decent enough grounding to be respectful’.
His words come after Gemma admitted her England legend dad Michael ‘isn’t happy’ about her signing up for Love Island but he trusts her not to ’embarrass’ him.
Protective father: Gemma Owen has admitted her England legend dad Michael ‘isn’t happy’ about her signing up for Love Island but he trusts her not to ’embarrass’ him
First time viewer: ‘I’ve heard a lot about it. I think old, grumpy men like me will always have an opinion on it because I don’t watch it and you just hear snippets, but she assures me it’s not as bad as I think,’ he explained
Proud dad: He described Gemma as a ‘sensible girl’, explaining: ‘I’ve got no doubts that she’ll make us all proud’
The swimwear brand owner, 19, told MailOnline that Michael, 42, resisted having a ‘tantrum’ after learning she will be on the dating show this summer, eventually giving his blessing, saying: ‘I’m not going to tell you what to do.’
Speaking from Mallorca ahead of the series launch on Monday, Gemma revealed that she hopes to dispel misconceptions about being a footballer’s daughter, after receiving nasty comments from trolls about her privileged upcoming.
She said: ‘I still wouldn’t say that my dad is buzzing about me doing Love Island.
Doting dad: ‘You have to be supportive and I think i’ve given her a decent enough grounding to be respectful,’ he shared
‘He’s very supportive in whatever I decide to do. He didn’t have a massive tantrum or anything like that. He was pretty chilled, he trusts me not to do anything to embarrass him. He took it quite well.
‘He didn’t say I couldn’t do this or give me any dos or don’ts. He said I’m not going to tell you what to do, I trust you, you have never given us a reason not to trust you, go for it but I will always have my family’s thoughts and opinions in the forefront of my mind because we are all super close and they are the most important people to me.’
Gemma is the eldest of four children former England and Liverpool star Michael shares with wife Louise.
Big draw: Gemma is this year’s marquee signing courtesy of dad Michael, a former England international whose career included successful spells with Liverpool and Manchester United
Asked how she broached the idea of going on the show with her family, Gemma said: ‘I definitely discussed it with them. I wouldn’t say that they were 100 per cent happy with it, but I would definitely say they trust me… not to do anything to purposely disrespect them.’
Gemma added that she would probably avoid having sex in the villa.
She said: ‘What my family think is always going to be in the forefront of my mind as they are the most important thing to me.’
The entrepreneur revealed Michael had given her few words of wisdom before she flew out to the Spanish island while her mother Louise had reminded her to ‘keep it classy.’
Uphill battle: Gemma says she’s grown a ‘thick skin’ after being trolled for being the daughter of a wealthy footballer despite trying hard to carve out a career of her own
Crossing the line: Gemma added that she would probably avoid having sex in the villa
Gemma won’t be ‘bragging’ about her dad’s famous career to potential suitors, even if they’re die-hard football fans.
She said: ‘I don’t think I’m going to go in there and say ‘my dad was a footballer’ because I am not really that type of person but if they ask me what my parents do then I won’t keep it a secret, I’ll be honest but I won’t go in there bragging about it. I’ll only address it if people ask me.’
In March, Gemma confessed to feeling frustrated after receiving cruel comments from trolls who judge her for being the daughter of a wealthy footballer.
Close family: The brunette says she’ll miss debriefing with her mum Louise after going on dates with potential suitors on the show
Close: Michael and Gemma pose for a photo during an exotic overseas family holiday
Gemma, who’s a Team GB dressage champion and this year launched her own swimwear business, which she says was achieved without Michael’s financial backing, said she’s grown a ‘thick skin’ following weeks of criticism.
She explained: ‘Trolling is one of those things. I get trolled just for being the daughter of an ex-footballer.
‘I have represented my country in my sport and setup my own business yet I still get pretty nasty comments.
Unsure: At the beginning of the year, Gemma was certain appearing on Love Island wasn’t in her future
‘It will always be there and I can’t get away from it but I’m lucky I have a thick skin and I only care about the opinions of people close to me like my family and friends.
‘If you are always worrying about what people have to say then you’ll never truly be happy. It is one of those things that come with it and I’ll have to get on with it.’
At the beginning of the year, Gemma was certain appearing on Love Island wasn’t in her future.
But after failing to get the scores she needed to qualify for the dressage European Championship selection this summer, she decided now was the perfect time to pursue a different opportunity.
Day job: ‘In March I was still heavily campaigning for my dressage season, which was my priority,’ she explained
Sweet: Gemma is the eldest of four children former England and Liverpool star Michael shares with wife Louise (Gemma and Michael pictured in 2005)
She said: ‘In March I was still heavily campaigning for my dressage season, which was my priority.
‘Over the summer it is the busiest time for my competition so the thought of having two months out was not an option at that point but as the season went on, I had a bad start… I didn’t get the scores that I needed so I ruled myself out of selection for European Championships again.
‘I few management companies started to show me interest and I was more willing to hear what they had to say. If there was any year to do it, then this year would probably be the one.’
Old times: Infant Gemma with dad Michael in The Box At Royal Ascot in 2005
Day out: Gemma with parents Michael and Louise during the Boodles May Festival Ladies Day at Chester Racecourse
As she begins a potential eight-week stint on Love Island, Gemma, who still lives at home, says she’ll miss her mum the most because of their close relationship, which includes debriefing after Gemma’s been on dates.
She said: ‘My family and I are so close, my mum and me especially have an amazing relationship so I’ll miss her and talking to her, that’ll be challenging for me.
‘When I go out on dates with a new person I’ll tell her every single detail, what they wore, what we spoke about and it’ll be different not having her there to speak to.’
LOVE ISLAND 2022: MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Name: Paige Thorne
Who is their type on paper? ‘In Swansea there is just no-one I can find.
I haven’t got to swipe. So, hopefully they can just come to me now!
‘I came out of a relationship and I was just so done with guys. Then I was like, ‘Ok, I’m bored now’
Name: Indiyah Polack
Occupation: Hotel waitress
Who is their type on paper? ‘It’s quite hard to date without being influenced by social media and stuff like that.
Love Island is a great place to get to know someone one-on-one.
I don’t think I have ever been out with two guys who are quite the same.’
Name: Tasha Ghouri
Occupation: Model and dancer
Who is their type on paper? ‘My dating life has been a shambles.
This is an opportunity for me to find ‘the one’ and have a great summer at the same time.
I’m definitely ready for a relationship. I’m 23 now so I’m ready to get to know someone and travel with them.’
Name: Gemma Owen
Occupation: International Dressage Rider and Business Owner
Who is their type on paper? ‘I am open to finding love, I’m wanting to have a really fun summer.
I would say I’m fun, flirty and fiery. I think I’m good at giving advice, I’m a good person to talk to, I’m very honest.
If I want the same guy, I’d do it but in a nice respectful way.
Andrew Le Page
Name: Andrew Le Page
Occupation: Real Estate Agent
Who is their type on paper? ‘When I’m with someone I’m very loyal.
I’m a good boyfriend as when I’m with someone I’m all for them.
I’m actually single for once, so I thought why not?
This is the best time to give it a go.’
Name: Luca Bish
Who is their type on paper? ‘I prefer to meet girls out and about. I think when you go looking for it, it’s not as easy though, it’s like you’re too desperate for it.
If I think you’re the one or I like you, I’ll take you out on a date but other than that, if we talk and I don’t like where it’s going – then I won’t be throwing out dates.
Name: Dami Hope
Occupation: Senior Microbiologist
Who is their type on paper? ‘I will be talking to different girls, it might not go well with some.
When I’m actually in a relationship, I think it’s a star sign thing.
I’m an Aries but I’m very passionate – I always used to put that person first. I’m really good at being in a team’.
Name: Liam Llewellyn
Location: Newport, South Wales
Occupation: Masters Student
Who is their type on paper? ’22 is a really nice age to meet someone, you’ve got your years ahead of you so you have time to grow together.
Love Island is a great opportunity to meet someone, you’re in with a load of different types so you can get to grips with what you really like.’
Name: Davide Sanclimenti
Location: Rome (lives in Manchester)
Occupation: Business owner
Who is their type on paper? ‘A lot of English girls actually love me.
They love to be around me and I love to be around them. I want to find my soulmate.
Find my person so I can actually build something in the future, grow with them, be a family. ‘
Name: Ikenna Ekwonna
Occupation: Pharmaceutical Sales
Who is their type on paper? ‘I’ve only been in one past relationship but now I think I’m at the age where I could find someone.
Hopefully, I’m going to bring spontaneity and excitement.
I’m not really shy to speak to people I don’t really care too much about what people think.’
Name: Amber Beckford
Who is their type on paper? ‘I don’t like guys that show off.
I don’t like flashy guys – just have a personality and make me laugh.
There was this one guy and he was trying to purposefully show off his car keys and we were literally in the middle of a restaurant!’
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