Jess Hayes on feeling strong and upbeat after ‘heartbreaking’ shock split from Dan Lawry
Former Love Island star Jess Hayes has opened up on her 'heartbreaking' split from fiancé Dan Lawry after rumours about their romance ending first started in May – just six months after they tragically lost their unborn baby boy, Teddy.
In her first exclusive shoot and interview since the reports, Jess tells us while their shock break up has been devastating, she's remaining upbeat and positive. Here, in an emotional chat, the star, who has a two-year-old son, Presley, with Dan, talks about coping with the end of her engagement and not ruling out a reconciliation.
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Rumours were flying back in May that Jess Hayes had split from her fiancé Dan Lawry, just six months after they tragically lost their unborn baby boy, Teddy.
And in her first shoot and interview since the reports, Jess, who has a two-year-old son, Presley, with Dan, exclusively confirmed to new that she is now single and Dan has moved out following a series of rows.
“Things just don’t work out as planned. To lose a baby and the person you thought you were going to have more children with and get married to, it’s been a bit of a shock,” the 28-year-old tells us.
But although she admits their sudden split has been “heartbreaking,” Jess is remaining positive. She has even returned to her signature red tresses, which she tells us signifies a new start for her.
“I’m obsessed with the new hair. I literally feel like I’m back!” she says.
As well as looking to the future, Jess opens up to us about her late son Teddy, and she gets teary when she reveals how Presley remembers him.
“I say to him, ‘Where’s Teddy?’ and he points up to the sky and his bottom lip goes out. He looks really sad and it breaks my heart,” she explains.
In our emotional interview, Jess talks about coping with the end of her engagement, not ruling out a reconciliation, and how she feels Love Island has changed since she won the first series in 2015…
Hi, Jess. How are you feeling following the split?
At first I found it really difficult. It was hard to get my head around it. If you’d asked me this time last year, I never would have expected this… you don’t expect everything to unravel so quickly. To lose a baby and the person you thought you were going to have more children with and get married to, it’s been a bit of a shock really. At first it was super hard, but now I’m feeling a lot stronger and trying to have a different outlook.
What caused the split?
Things were just hard. Every couple has arguments, but I feel like we need some time apart at the moment. Things just don’t always work out as planned, so it’s tough.
Was there anything in particular that caused you to separate?
We weren’t getting on as well as we used to and we didn’t want to be unhappy around Presley. I’m not ruling out anything in the future, but right now we don’t work together. I feel like for whatever reason it’s just not meant to be right now and we need time apart. Whether that’s for a year, I just don’t know. I’m just trying to put a positive spin on it. Initially you’re devastated and heartbroken, but I feel like the universe always has a plan for you. Things happen for a reason, really s**t reasons I know, but I’m just trying to live in the moment and trust in the process and the journey.
Your upbeat attitude is inspiring, Jess…
People are shocked by that, but what I’ve realised with life is that when you’ve been through things, you have to think it all makes sense in the end. You can’t sit around and be miserable because there are people who admire you. I look at my son and think I’ve got to carry on and inspire him. Life’s so short – I think losing Teddy made me realise that. When you’ve been through the worst you know you can get through anything.
Do you think the grief of losing Teddy played a part in the break-up?
When things happened at the start Dan and I were definitely closer, but you process grief differently and, of course, things like that do have an effect. I’m probably the one who feels everything and wants to talk about it. Sometimes if the other person is the other way it’s difficult.
Was it hard when the news broke of your split?
It was hard because I never wanted to come out and announce it, I didn’t feel like that’s what I wanted to do at the time. It was hard because I felt heartbroken. When I live my life online, and my followers are like my family, I have to be real and it’s hard to hide. I’m always out there with my emotions and I always promise my followers I’ll be real, so I know people picked up on it.
Has Dan moved out now?
We’re apart at the moment, yes.
Does Presley understand what’s going on?
Not really, I’m just trying to keep it as normal as possible. I can’t fault Dan, he is an amazing dad.
Is your hair change a sign of a new Jess?
I’m obsessed with the new hair. I literally feel like I’m back! I’m living for it. I do just feel really positive. I’m young, I’m 28, and I feel so grateful for what I’ve got right now. I’ve got my amazing son, I’ve got my dog who is just the cutest little thing, and work’s going amazingly. I’m just grateful for so much. It’s almost like a new beginning for me and I feel like things are going to be good.
And the hair is a symbol of a new chapter in your life?
Yeah, and I feel so powerful with it. When I was in Love Island I was known for the red hair. I was this ditsy girl then, but now I’m a woman I feel like this new reinvented Jess. I’m back!
Have you had a lot of people reach out to you since the split?
Of course. Everyone’s been really lovely and it’s been nice to catch up with friends I haven’t really seen. Malin Andersson is one of my best friends and she’s always amazing. And I recently went to stay with Charlotte Dawson. I’ve tried to keep myself busy and spend time with my friends just to keep my mind occupied.
Who’s been your rock?
My family, of course. But Malin’s been brilliant. I’ve got really close to her, and with everything I’ve been through the last year she’s been there for me. We’re like that for each other.
Would you consider going on dates with other people right now?
Oh gosh, it’s far too early. I’m just focusing on Presley. There’s nothing like that on my mind. I’m just trying to live in the moment and see where it takes me. Hopefully it’s just good stuff now. I can’t deal with any more heartbreak, honestly!
Do you still dream of having a big family?
Yeah, regardless of what happened, I’m so clear about what I want in life. I want my forever home. I’ve always said I want three children and that won’t change for me because it’s my dream.
You’ve said you won’t rule out a reconciliation with Dan in the future…
It’s hard. I think so much would have to change, but the space right now is needed. I’ll always love Dan as Presley’s dad. Of course I’ll never rule it out, but it won’t work right now.
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After you did the interview with new about losing Teddy, did you get a lot of support?
Everyone was so amazing, and I’m so glad we did it because I really think it raised awareness. So many people picked up the magazine and reached out to me. They said things like, “Thank you so much for speaking about this because it really helped me to speak about it to other people.”
I think seeing someone being so open about baby loss, when some people find it really hard to be, really helped. That means the world to me and that’s why it was so important for me to do, knowing I’m helping other people. I do feel like it’s one of those things that’s not been talked about much in the past. It’s so important because it happens to so many women and it’s just devastating.
What’s kept you so strong? Is it Presley?
He’s a major part, because you can’t be miserable and down, you’ve just got to carry on. I’ve had a bit of therapy and spoken to someone and that’s definitely helped. And just honouring Teddy, speaking about him and looking at photos of him, and having his little area and remembering him. It’s always going to be hard. I have days where I just sit and cry, and all I want is him back, but that’s just grief. And it’s because you love. Grief is just love. There isn’t a day that I don’t think about him. Time’s a healer, but there are days that are harder than others.
How’s Presley been over the last six months?
When he was tiny he didn’t get it at all and I don’t feel like it affected him. Whereas now I feel like he knows. I’ve got a little tattoo and a necklace, and he points to the T on my necklace or my angel tattoo and goes, “Teddy up” and does the little sad face. It’s so mad how he’s picked up on it. But it’s nice now he knows, so I can share more with him.
Are you watching Love Island?
I am! I never miss a year, but I’m really struggling to get into it this time. It’s probably because it’s felt a bit slower this year as we’ve all been so interested in the Euros, but now that’s over I hope to get into it a bit more! I love Love Island and the producers are all my friends so I do get excited every year when I know it’s coming back on – it feels very nostalgic.
How do you think the show’s changed?
I feel like when we went in no one knew how big it was going to be or how it would change our lives. No one knew we were going to gain followers and get recognised. Now the contestants going in already know the benefits of going on a show like Love Island so it’s hard to tell who’s in there for genuine reasons.
How do you feel about your own time on the show when you look back?
It was the best thing I ever did. Obviously it changed my life and I’m so glad I can still do what I love. It was just the best time and so much fun. It’s such an incredible experience. There’s nothing like it.
Who do you keep in touch with from the show?
I’d be amicable with all of them really. Hannah Elizabeth and Cally Jane Beech are probably the only two I speak to. We did the reunion show, so we’re all on good terms. There’s no bad blood.
Would you be open to doing more reality TV?
I think so now, yeah. If it was the right thing. I feel like I can focus on me and see where it takes me.
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What would you like to do in the future?
I’ve always wanted to be an actress. When I was little I went to drama school but I didn’t pursue it. When you’ve done reality TV people don’t take you seriously. I’d love to be in films and also have my own show. I’m still the funny Jess and people need to see it.
Would you consider filming a documentary about baby loss?
I’ve actually been thinking about that and speaking to people about potentially doing something like that. I’d like to talk to other women about it, so it gives people an insight and raises awareness. It’s something I’m going to work on.
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