The outpouring of love for Caroline Flack speaks volumes about the warmth, wit and sense of mischief of the tragic TV presenter.

But the friends and colleagues paying tribute on social media yesterday had also witnessed the quality that made her such a natural on shows like X-Factor and Love Island.

Because big-hearted Caroline truly CARED about every contestant on her reality shows - and she went the extra mile to let them know she was a friend.

Speaking to the Mirror in the Love Island villa in Majorca last May, Caroline explained the sense of responsibility she felt to the young men and women baring their hearts and souls on prime time TV.

Caroline said: “I have never been the kind of presenter to make someone feel awkward. I make it my duty to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

“I am always mindful when I ask them questions, That’s my job - to have a duty of care.

“I take that really seriously.

One of Caroline's last Instagram posts

“I go and meet them before they come on the show. I would never have an islander just walk on without me going into their dressing room first and telling them exactly what I am going to ask them.

“I’ll say ‘I might ask you this or that but it means I am on your side’.

“It makes them feel more comfortable so they don’t get nervous and they come on and we are already friends.

“It works a treat. I used to do it on X Factor too. I never used to interview the pop stars unless I had met them beforehand.

“It would be weird if they stopped singing and suddenly they had this girl they didn’t know right in their face.

“So I make it familiar and make them more comfortable. Then they want to talk to you.”

Caroline’s own turbulent personal life helped her offer them advise on how to deal with those stormy Love Island relationships. 

“Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t,” she said sagely.

“It doesn’t mean it’s a failure. Otherwise you could say all my relationships are failures and they are not. They are just relationships that didn’t last forever.

Caroline and her twin sister Jody as children
Caroline Flack with her twin sister Jody as adults

“We are not there to make anyone look stupid. I just want the contestants to think I am trustworthy.”

And they did.

Few left the villa with a bad word to say about caring Caroline.

Former contestant Amy Hart, 20, revealed how, during filming in 2019, Caroline had subtly warned her that things weren’t going as well as she thought with island beau Curtis Pritchard. 

Former Love Island contestant Amy Hart said: 'I speak as I find and what I found was the kindest soul'
Caroline presented the X-Factor and the X-tra Factor with Olly Murs who also paid tribute to her

As Amy gushed about him Caroline squeezed her hand as if to say “stop talking.”

Yesterday Amy shared a picture of them together on social media saying: “I speak as I find and what I found was the kindest soul.

“From putting us at ease on day one, to squeezing my hand when I didn’t know I needed it most, to reaching out to my best friend to help her navigate the dark side of social media, to inviting me to her dressing room for show tune karaoke, to giving me the pep talk of all pep talks at Aftersun, she kept me really calm at the reunion and kept reassuring me all evening.

“Caroline went above and beyond her job at all times, she didn’t have to do any of that and she did. Absolutely gutted. 

“Go and be the star you are.”

Caroline's best friend Mollie Grosberg was one of the last people to see her alive

Other Love Islanders also praised her kindness.

Zara Holland - who was stripped of her Miss GB title for having sex in the villa in 2016 - said: “Caroline Flack you supported me always, you were so kind to me & my family, I will never forget that.” 

Kady Mcdermott who also appeared in season two said: “When I went through a tough time a while back in the press Caroline reached out to me and I’ll always remember that. Just completely sick to my stomach over what’s happened. Absolute tragedy.”

2019’s Molly-Mae Hague said: “Caroline, you were such a special woman. Your huge smile will stay with me forever....Rest in peace.”

And Wes Nelson, a contestant in 2018, posted a picture of Caroline cuddling him saying: “I can’t believe what I’m reading! Caroline Flack was an absolute diamond, my heart’s genuinely broken! One of the warmest funniest people I’ve ever met.” 

Caroline’s caring nature was evident from an early age.

Caroline Flack with her boyfriend Lewis Burton

She was born in Enfield, north London in 1979, the youngest of four children. Her non-identical twin sister, Jody, was six minutes older, and they had a brother Paul, eight years older and a ten year old sister, Elizabeth. 

The family moved to Thetford, Norfolk, shortly after the twins were born as dad, Ian, was promoted from a sales rep to a manager for Coca-Cola. Mum Christine, helped at a kindergarten.

Caroline and Jody had a special bond – apparent from the many loving childhood snaps she posted on Twitter and Instagram of sunshine holidays and school hi-jinx.  

“I can’t explain what it’s like to be a twin because I don’t know any different,” she once said.

Caroline as a young girl with her family on a post she put on Instagram
Caroline flack at 15-years-old with her Dad

“But what I do know is that we will always look after each other and not let ANYONE or anything come between us.”

The twins shared a bed until we were four and we were in the same class at school - but we’re quite different personalities.

(Jody is now a mother of three and Caroline doted on her nephew Zuzu and nieces Willow and Delilah.)

Caroline always called Jody “the good twin” and “my good angel” claiming “I was the twin with all the emotions, all the worries...the wild child.”

She suffered from eczema and was underweight.“I went off food and just didn’t want to eat,” she said, “I didn’t like being small. I was picked on and I was the only girl who wore trousers at school. I was really paranoid about my legs.”  

But nothing could quell her love of performing.

She idolised Kylie and was a keen ballet dancer – even dying her ballet tights pink with Ribena when her parents couldn’t afford to buy her new ones.

And her determination paid off when she was given a dance scholarship to Bodywork Company in Cambridge at the age of 16.

Caroline Flack's boyfriend Lewis Burton posted a tribute on Instagram

She said: “Musical theatre was the dream and the ultimate goal was the West End. And that’s what I thought I’d end up doing. That’s what I wanted to do.”

In Cambridge, she worked as a waitress while trying out for West End shows. She also had a job in a pork factory and spent a lot of her 20s sofa-surfing at friends’ houses.

Early work in adverts led to playing a “topless blonde” in Danny Dyer’s 2000 film, Is Harry On The Boat?

But her TV break came in 2002 when she landed the role of Bubbles in Bo Selecta. Caroline went on to present shows on CBBC, such as TMI with Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes. 

Apartment in Stoke Newington where presenter Caroline Flack was found

Then the jobs kept coming – including Gladiators in 2008, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now! in 2009 and the Xtra Factor in 2011, alongside Olly Murs.

But Caroline, then 31, was branded a ‘pervert’ when she began dating 17-year old One Direction star Harry Styles and her love life was constantly under scrutiny.

In 2014, she also won the nation’s hearts as she was crowned the winner of Strictly Come Dancing, making history with her streak of perfect scores.  

But her insecurities returned and she was on anti-depressants for six months following the show.

She admitted: “People see the celebrity lifestyle and assume everything is perfect, but we’re just like everyone else.

Caroline's boyfriend Lewis Burton posted a touching message on Instagram

“Everyone is battling something emotional behind closed doors – that’s life. Fame doesn’t make you happy.”

The following year, she landed Love Island – making her one of the most recognisable faces on TV.

And in 2018, she achieved her musical theatre dreams when she played Roxie in the West End’s Chicago.

Caroline was thrilled when Love Island won a BAFTA the same year.

She also defended the show following the tragic death of Mike Thalassitis in March 2019. 

In a poignant message she said: “None of us know what’s going through someone’s mind and we can’t sit there and speculate. 

It’s time to think about the bigger picture, about what’s going on with young men and young people and the pressures of modern life.”

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Caroline Flack dies aged 40

It was another example of her huge empathy and heart.

Two years ago Caroline posted a Mothers’ Day snap of herself and Jody with Christine.

The message said: “I love you Mum...I’m so proud that you have raised us to be just like you.

To never judge. To never hate. To care for people. To be kind. To work hard. To love.

I just wish you had taught me to cook....HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY. I’d be lost without you x”

Tragically it is caring Caroline’s loved ones who are now struggling with their overwhelming loss.