Chris Hughes reveals close bond with ex Jesy Nelson as he admits they still confide in each other

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Four years on from starring in Love Island, Chris Hughes is still holding out hopes for a lasting relationship.

The Gloucestershire lad soared to fame as the nation watched him embark on a rollercoaster romance in the villa with his co-star Olivia Attwood, but the pair split the following year.

Love then blossomed between Chris and former Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson in 2019, but sadly Chris was left broken hearted again when they called time on their romance after “growing apart” last year.

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Chris is now fully embracing single life and is searching for his future wife on dating apps.

“Sorry, if you hear me splashing, I’m in the bath,” the 28-year-old laughs, when we catch up with him over the phone to find out more.

“For me, personality comes before anything else,” he tells us. “I’m a bit of a free spirit, but with good morals, so for me it’s about meeting someone who’s on my wavelength and seeing where that takes me.”

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The star spends most of his time at his family’s countryside home with his brother Ben, who found out he had testicular cancer after Chris urged him to go for a check-up in 2018. He has thankfully recovered.

Here, Chris opens up about his plans to settle down with the woman of his dreams and the importance of discussing mental health…

Hi Chris! How have you been since your break-up with Jesy Nelson?

I’m just grateful and fortunate that Jesy’s still a very good friend of mine. We still get on extremely well and she’s a great person. It’s good to have her as a friend rather than losing her out of my life completely. I think that’s the hardest part of a break-up.

What happened?

It’s just one of those things – people grow apart and things happen. It’s a part of life. Not everything is meant to last and the world would be very weird if everyone who went out with someone was with them for the rest of their lives.

You don’t always remain friends with your exes. Did your friendship take time after your break-up?

No, it was always amicable. We never had a reason to dislike each other. Weeks after the break-up is when things start to get better and you move on with life. We reach out to each other here and there. Through the powers of social media, you can see when someone might need someone to talk to, so it’s always nice to have someone there who understands you and you understand them.

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Would you confide in Jesy if you had something on your mind?

Yeah, we understand each other and it makes someone easier to talk to. I struggle with talking to some of my best friends about things I go through in life, whether it’s work issues or social issues. Even with family it can be quite difficult. So yeah, I know I’ve always got a friend there who I can confide in and likewise for her.

That’s really sweet. Are you hoping to find someone you can settle down with now?

Yeah. I’m 28 now and I’m not getting any younger. But I feel like I’m in my prime and I’m not in any rush to settle down. For me it’s about finding the right person and you can’t rush that. If you do, it doesn’t happen. I’m happy at the moment and it’s just a waiting game. I’m not going to force anything romantically. If it’s right, it’s right.

Have you found it difficult to date during lockdown?

The pandemic has been tough. It’s a very different world we’re living in. But everyone is a lot kinder now, so that should show in the dating world – I hope. I’m looking forward to things hopefully being up and running in June.

What kind of girl are you hoping to meet?

Just someone who I can have a laugh with, who doesn’t take life too seriously. For me, personality comes before anything else. I’m a bit of a free spirit but with good morals, so for me it’s about meeting someone who’s on my wavelength and seeing where that takes me. Obviously, that can include a lot of trial and error, but one day I’ll get there.

You have been through some hard break-ups! What do you do to take care of your mental wellbeing?

Mentally, I’m in a good place at the moment. I’ve taught myself how to look after myself, which can be anything from exercise to playing golf for five hours. Golf lets me let off a lot of frustration. I feel free when I’m out there. Riding race horses is the same.

You’ve partnered with Happn. What do you love about the dating app?

What I love about Happn is it’s an innovative idea. You can connect with people you cross paths with. If you’re travelling by train and you see someone you like, those people flash up on your Happn profile. I think it’s really important in this day and age because people find dating intimidating. It caters for everyone – for those who have and haven’t got confidence.

What’s your relationship with social media like?

It’s an amazing platform. I’ve done a lot of raising awareness, like for testicular cancer. You get reminded of the beauty of social media. I saw a video of an elderly couple who’d been reunited after being apart because of Covid-19. It tugged on my heartstrings.

Are you an emotional guy?

Yeah. I struggle when I have to talk about mental health. I get a lump in my throat. Even chatting about what my brother went through. It doesn’t even have to be close to home, I get emotional watching people’s love stories.

Why do you think romance tugs on your heartstrings?

I was just born that way. My mum and dad have led by example – they are very old-fashioned. I’m a romantic person.

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Are you aspiring to have a relationship like your parents’?

Yeah, I want to settle down and have a lovely wife. Someone I can enjoy life with.

How’s your brother been since beating testicular cancer?

He’s happy and in love with his girlfriend. They are still trying as hard as they can to have a child, trying to make the miracle work. He’s under doctor’s supervision to help him succeed in that. He’s having tablets and doing the best he can to increase his sperm count to give him a chance.

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