Love Island’s Joe Garratt has refused to apologise for his behaviour on the programme, and insisted he never tried to “control” fellow contestant Lucie Donlan.
More than 300 complaints were made to TV watchdog Ofcom relating to how Lucie was treated by other islanders on the show, which is hosted by Caroline Flack.
Joe, who was her partner before being axed this week, left her in tears after telling her to stay away from other boys on the programme.
However Joe, 22, denied any wrongdoing.
He told The Sun: “I didn’t manipulate or abuse her and I’m gutted it’s been perceived that way.
“I’d do everything and anything to help her as she had a hard time in there and didn’t get on with the girls. I thought I did right.”
Lucie, 21, broke down several times on Love Island, leading to criticism of ITV for a perceived failure to provide support.
The broadcaster said it provided psychological support to any contestants who appeared upset.
Joe was criticised for telling Lucie to steer clear of other boys on the show, leading to domestic violence charity Woman’s Aid to speak out about his “abusive behaviour”.
Joe refused to apologise, but conceded he “may have worded things wrong”.
He said: “I may have worded things wrong and the cameras are on you 24/7. I’m young and inexperienced. I’m not going to say sorry.
“I didn’t know how I was coming across on the outside. I’d no idea I was being perceived in that sense.”
Fears for Lucie’s well-being come amid heightened concerns over the welfare of reality TV stars, following two high-profile deaths of former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon, 32, and Mike Thalassitis, 26.
MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee have launched an inquiry into reality TV.
Love Island continues on ITV2.