Mamamia caught up with newly ousted couple Dom Thomas and Shelby Mills, who maintain Eden and Erin really aren’t as bad as they’re being made out to be.
“There’s always going to be fights. You only see 47 minutes of each day. There’s 24 hours in a day, and there’s definitely a lot of really nice things that they say to each other. But obviously that nice stuff might not be as juicy as the fights they have,” explains Dom, 26.
And despite claims they’re faking their relationship in a ploy to win the competition (and the $50,000 that comes with the trophy), both Dom and Shelby agree Eden and Erin’s relationship is actually quite “genuine”.
“They’re being real. They’ve been real throughout. They’re not hiding their emotions or anything like that,” says Shelby, 24.
“I do think the connection they have with each other is genuine, and they’re so good for each other and their relationship is awesome. They’re actually really in love with each other.”
Unlike many of the other couples on the island, Dom and Shelby became quite close with Eden and Erin, 23, with Dom even calling Eden, 25, one of his “best mates”.
But they can understand how they may have rubbed others up the wrong way.
“I think it’s because they do have very fiery and upfront personalities. They’ll just say it how it is,” explains Shelby.
“But for me, I like those personalities. I like people who are honest and don’t hide their feelings.”
On the back of comments fellow Love Island contestant Teddy Briggs made to News.com.au about Eden calling Erin “disgusting names”, both Dom and Shelby maintain they never saw any of that.
“All I saw was play fighting,” adds Shelby.
But that’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of passionate arguing going on, too.
“There were a few times when things got a little bit heated, and they probably said a few things that they didn’t mean to say, but they rectified that very, very quickly after their argument,” explains Shelby.
“Their arguments are so emotional. They’ll be firing shots at each other, and then literally two minutes later, they’ll be laughing and playing around. It’s a very unique relationship – one that I really don’t understand – but it works for them and they’re really happy.”
Dom agrees, saying they would always recover from their fights really “quickly”.
“I never saw anything that was out of the ordinary. Obviously you do have your fights, but there was never anything too malicious, and they really did get over their fights pretty quickly,” he adds.
“I think a lot of it, they were just trying to stir each other up, which kind of made it look a lot worse than what it was.”
And while Teddy, 24, accused Eden of doing the name-calling, Dom maintains Erin would “absolutely” give it back to him.
“Erin’s all about the banter. She’s got a really dry personality, so they both gave as much as they got,” he says.
Shelby says they probably did say some nasty things to each other, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
“I think everyone in the heat of the moment has said something that they probably regret when they look back on it, but I think they’re just so involved with each other, and they do have fiery personalities,” she says.
“They’re just really passionate about each other. I think the only reason they get so upset and say things that they don’t mean is because they’re so involved with each other and so in love.”
As for Eden’s reputation as the resident bully, Dom says he was “really shocked” to find out that’s how he’s been portrayed.
“I did not see it,” he says.
“That’s one thing I really like about Eden and Erin. Even with the Teddy thing, he said straight up, ‘Look, boys. I don’t really like him, but you guys can have your own opinion on him. You guys can make your own judgements.’ He really did drill that into us.”
Shelby agrees, saying she would often turn to Eden when things got tough.
“Eden was like a brother to me in the villa. He offered advice when needed, and sometimes if I was feeling a bit down, I would actually go to him and he would lift my spirits back up again,” she adds.
“I did not see that bullying side of him at all.”