Sophie’s heartbreak: ‘My life’s over’
SOPHIE Monk remembers her darkest days of heartbreak.
"I've been in stages where I thought, 'I want to die, my life's over,'" she told news.com.au about enduring the public demise of several high-profile relationships.
There were her failed engagements to American millionaire Jimmy Esebag and Good Charlotte frontman Benji Madden. There was the time she found her boyfriend, celebrity plastic surgeon Dr John Diaz, in bed with another woman. And the rise and fall of her Bachelorette-endorsed romance with that Sydney publican.
"There have been a few," the 38-year-old said, adding her heart heals "much quicker" now. "My thing is, I'm such a lover. And when I didn't feel great about myself - I'd jump into relationships just because I love love and move too fast. I'm like, 'This is the one, I'm gonna get married.'
"But now I'm in a place where I'm happy with my life and I don't want to disrupt it. That's been my mistake my whole life - I just love love."
It's the endless heartbreak that makes Monk the perfect captain to guide a group of young sexy singles through life and love when they pile into a Spanish villa for Nine's new reality show Love Island. The series, which premieres on Sunday on 9Go, follows a group of attractive men and women who are sent to Majorca and forced to couple up - with any remaining singletons booted out.
"Because I've been through it, I want to be there to nurture them - they don't know what they're in for," she said. "They're young and it's that real heartbreak [they'll face]. They're so young they've probably only had one relationship before."
Rumours of explicit sex scenes and racy behaviour have surrounded the show in recent weeks, with audiences and social media users divided about whether the content will go to far. The graphic headlines have annoyed Monk.
"I hate there was a headline, 'I wanna watch sex.' I don't!" she said. "I'm such a prude. I don't even talk about it [sex]. I'm the opposite. I wouldn't do a show like this if it was too sexy.
"They only thing that's sexy is they've got bikinis on - they're innocent. That's what you do in your 20s - you want to look good. Unlike me in my 30s ... I just put a filter on it. I don't go to the gym, I just put a filter on everything."
Monk says the appeal of the show is the way audiences can watch young love and live vicariously through it. It's a rite of passage she was forced to skip.
"When I was in my 20s I missed out on it. I was in Bardot ... I didn't drink," she said. "I was so insecure. There was no social media. I'd wake up at 4.30am to go to the service station to read a really mean article about me and I couldn't unsee it. Then I'd go to the pub with my boyfriend and people would say, 'I hate you.' I became a hermit. I remember ringing The Daily Telegraph once and leaving a voicemail going, 'Hi, it's Sophie. Just wondering why you're being so mean to me?'"
There were the post-Bardot years where the media treated Monk like a punchline. Nothing was off limits: her looks, plastic surgery, solo albums and Hollywood movie career. She felt like she couldn't win.
"As soon as I let go everyone went, 'Ah I like her,'" she said.
Her decision to move back to Australia after a friend swindled her savings in Los Angeles prompted a bigger change for the performer.
"I didn't feel good about myself. Then I just gave up. I thought, 'Own who I am or quit,'" she said.
She loosened up and put her inner "bogan" on full display. Suddenly, the country and industry that once rejected her fell in love. Successful gigs as a host on radio and Australia's Got Talent followed. Stints on Celebrity Apprentice and The Bachelorette made her Australia's unlikely golden girl.
Back on top, it seems she can get whatever she wants. But her dream job isn't what you'd think.
"I used to plan ahead and it never happened. I'd like to be a producer. I love producing. I love it. I love the psychology of people," she said. She even recently started her own production company, Lazy Susan Productions, which she hopes to use to launch reality shows and "loosely scripted comedies".
Still, she won't say no to a fun gig.
"If you pay me enough, I'm doing a job," she laughed.