Ovie Soko EXCLUSIVE: Love Island hunk breaks his silence on India Reynolds cheating rumours and insists the couple are 'very happy'
Love Island star Ovie Soko has broken his silence to defend his girlfriend India Reynolds, after she shot down shocking allegations of having cheated on him.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, the basketball player, 28, revealed that he and his 'sweet' belle, also 28, are focusing on their 'very happy' romance, amid false claims she kissed footballer Kieran Gibbs, 29, at his birthday party in Ibiza.
The hunky athlete, who on Monday was officially unveiled as the new ambassador for ASOS, said: 'Me and India are happy. I think that's definitely the most important thing. We're very happy.
'We're very happy': Love Island star Ovie Soko has broken his silence to defend his girlfriend India Reynolds, after she shot down shocking allegations of having cheated on him
'Regardless of how many people [there are] in every one of our lives, there will be opinions. And everyone can have their own opinion.'
'I think as a collective society, every last one of us can always do a better job of wording things in a nice way,' he continued. 'Because I think, regardless of the situation, I don't think there ever has to be anyone really has to be demonised.
'I think as a whole and as a community, we can support those who we love and who we care about and that's absolutely amazing. But I always think in every situation that should always be the bigger focus.
'It's always supporting the one you love, not necessarily who might or might not be wrong. That really shouldn't take the lead. The lead should always be the person you like and care about and just supporting them. I think positive energy is so important.'
New venture: The basketball player, 28, was officially unveiled as the new ambassador for ASOS on Monday
Showing how smitten he is with the glamour model, who he met and fell for after her 11th hour entrance into Love Island's Mallorca villa, he gushed: 'She's a great person — a very genuine, very sweet person.
'I think whenever you can come across genuine people — whether that be a significant other, a mate, a work colleague — you've got to value them.'
Ovie's perpetual sunny-side-up approach to life — as well as his indisputable good looks and jaw-dropping chiselled physique — helped propel him into the coveted position of being Love Island's breakout superstar this year.
Teamed with his distinctive style, it's also a major reason why he's been named as the newest ambassador for online fashion retail giant ASOS — with September 16th even being branded National Ovie Day to mark the anticipated unveiling.
Stronger than ever: In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, the basketball player, 28, revealed that he and his 'sweet' belle, also 28, are focusing on their 'very happy' romance
Displaying a near-virtuous level of humility in reaction to the excitement surrounding him, the north London native chuckled as he told MailOnline: 'I just thought it was an awesome idea, obviously. Who doesn't want to have their national day!
'I was taken aback, but it was really cool, overwhelming. But I'm excited. My biggest thing, I just want everyone to have a great time. Good energy, good vibes all around.'
Perhaps the most touching part of the new campaign is that he opted to include his father, Raymond, with whom he shares a close bond.
But, in conversing with Ovie, it almost becomes expected that he would rather share the spotlight over basking in it and retaining all of the adoration for himself.
Exciting new role: Teamed with his distinctive style, it's also a major reason why he's been named as the newest ambassador for online fashion retail giant ASOS
'I think family is important, first and foremost,' he explains of his decision. 'Family is truly important, because I feel like they are the first people you come into contact with that have a major influence on the person you're going to become.
'But also, it's not all about me. It's probably the furthest thing from that. I feel like fashion should be an expression and I think the whole fascination that there seems to be post-Love Island, it's the fans included. They make it happen. It's everyone that makes it happen.'
From his colourful co-ords to his sizeable hat collection, Ovie's sartorial flair proved to be a winner among Love Island viewers.
But who is his fashion inspiration? 'I've always considered myself to be someone that follows my own trends,' he answered. 'Whether that [means I've] always been stylish or not, I don't know. But I definitely stick to my own unique style, let's put it that way.'
Fan favourite: Ovie's perpetual sunny-side-up approach to life helped propel him into the coveted position of being Love Island's breakout superstar this year
Couple up with Ovie's spotted shirt by Asos
Whilst Love Island 2019 delivered some memorable characters (anyone else thinking Maura), it’s really Ovie Soko who won our hearts.
The most chilled out singleton to ever enter the villa has not only giving us ever-lasting memes and the now iconic ‘message’ shout out, but he’s also delivered a statement wardrobe that’s full of eccentric hats and bold shirts to match.
Now we fans can get a slice of his eccentric style as the reality star has collaborated with Asos to model the latest stellar collection. And his dad Raymond is also part of the gig – cute!
This polka dot shirt we’re loving at Fashion Finder HQ is also part of the range. The block short-sleeved number is decorated with a shattered abstract polka dot print that is bound to turn heads wherever you wear it. It’s definitely date night material!
Steal it for yourself ladies or shop for that special man in your life by clicking (right). Well, if you can’t have the real Ovie, might as well make them dress like him! Alternatively, peruse our picks below from Saint Laurent, BoohooMAN or Theory.
After a pause, he added: 'I think Kanye's cool. I think he's extremely cool. The main reason is that he's just himself. He's in his own world, and I feel like that's what fashion should be — everyone can be in their own world.'
And while many of us would wince if we came face-to-face with some of the fashion faux pas we've committed in the past, Ovie shows that even his old clothing is deserving of some respect.
'I don't think any of us should really look at stuff that way,' he said when asked if he had any style regrets. 'Because when you put your outfit together, whenever it was, there was a reason why you wore what you wore.
'It was very specific to that moment. So you can't look back and say, "Oh, I shouldn't have worn that." You shouldn't say that!'
'Who doesn't want to have their national day': September 16th has even been branded National Ovie Day to mark the anticipated unveiling
Dapper dude: Ovie smouldered for the camera as he modelled a selection of looks from his collaboration with online retailer ASOS
With such confidence in his choices, perhaps a future as a fashion designer is on the cards for the affable sportsman?
'I think that's definitely on the cards in the future,' he mused in his signature laidback tone. 'But, as you can tell, I'm just never in a rush to do anything. I take my time and whenever that does happen, I think that will happen at the right time.'
Maybe the release of a Ovie-designed line of hats would be something he'd move much faster on? 'I would love to do that,' boomed a suddenly excited Ovie, before repeating, likely for emphasis: 'I would love to do that!
'I love hats. The crown of your head is an important place and how you represent it is important, so I would love to do that.'
'I think family is important, first and foremost': Perhaps the most touching part of the new campaign is that he opted to include his father, Raymond, with whom he shares a close bond
A man of many talents: Ovie modelled a striking white hoodie, part of the collaboration which launches on September 23
Since making his triumphant exit from the villa (yes, he and India placed third, but he received the most raucous of welcomes home and roused football-inspired 'Ovie' chants from fans), it appears that everybody wants a piece of Ovie.
And while his increasingly busy schedule includes anything from TV appearances to red carpet events, he still finds time to support those that matter to him, including Amber Gill, with whom he formed a close platonic relationship on Love Island.
When asked if was able to carve out time to speak with Amber since her shock split from boyfriend Greg O'Shea — just weeks after they scooped the top prize, no less — he spoke like the protective big brother Amber has often described him as.
'Me and Amber are good friends,' he said. 'And [when] a friend needs an ear, or someone to listen, you should always be there.
The sky is the limit: 'I think that's definitely on the cards in the future but, as you can tell, I'm just never in a rush to do anything', the hunk said on his future as a potential fashion designer
'I've had a chance to just sort of sit down with Amber and make sure she's cool. And Amber is cool...'
He's also had to deal with the reality settling into a newly established relationship while dealing with a busier-than-ever schedule since exiting the villa.
But, again, it comes as no surprise that Ovie takes the demands of it all in his stride as his says of his romance in the 'real world' with India: 'It's going well.
'I mean, things have changed, as you probably would've guessed from the standpoint of now you're just in normal day-to-day life and you're actually going to work every day.
False rumours: Earlier in the week, India was hit with claims she kissed footballer Kieran Gibbs at his birthday party in Ibiza (pictured with Love Island winners Amber Gill and Greg O'Shea)
'There's a schedule and you have things planned, whereas in the villa, we spent a lot of time sitting around and sunbathing and swimming. But now we actually have schedules.'
'[Planning our schedule] is as difficult as anyone's relationship would be that works a job and has a schedule,' he added.
That romantic learning curve has also included cuisine for Ovie, who was memorably seen treating India to pancake breakfasts as part of his moves to woo her.
Telling MailOnline that their cooking duties are 'evenly [distributed]' in the relationship, he's also been adapting his tastebuds to India's plant-based diet.
'India's vegan and that's a whole lifestyle,' he said. 'I don't think it's easy, but I'm not vegan myself, so I'm learning about that side of things. I'm learning very slowly. India's doing a good job with being patient with me, but I'm trying to learn.'
Positive vibes only: I think that's the most important thing. We're very happy', the north London native insisted (pictured on Love Island's final, where they finished in fourth place, in July)
'I can't see myself turning vegan, especially any time soon,' he cautiously continued. 'But it's something I wouldn't mind [exploring]. Like, say, one day a week or two days a week.
'I think plant-based diets, they can have their health benefits and environmental benefits too. So I think everyone can win, learning from the vegan life.'
And while such adjustments might come as a struggle to some, Ovie's fortitude when tackling his gruelling training regime likely makes him the perfect candidate.
'I generally am a healthy eater,' he explained, before adding: 'But in moderation, pancakes aren't going to kill anyone. In moderation, chocolates aren't going to kill anyone. So I have my little snack binges at times, and I don't think that's a problem...
'Generally, healthy eating and you've got to train, You have to stay on top of stuff.'
Smitten: The TV personality has described the glamour model as a 'great, very genuine, very sweet person'
Remaining 'on top of stuff' also means that there's little chance you'll see him falling out of nightclubs inebriated at any point, again because prioritising parties doesn't align with the basketball player's disciplined schedule.
'I'm an athlete, so it just doesn't really line up,' he says. 'At the end of the day, I'll go out and celebrate special events with my mates and my friends and have a good time once in a while. But that's not my lifestyle.'
As such, he lights up when revealing the time that his workout sessions kick off each morning. 'Six a.m., buddy!' Ovie gleefully shares. 'I start at 6:30 and [my workouts] are not for a specific length of time.
'Intensity, we'll go very hard. Most of the time, it is around an hour. But I think it's a really good way to start of the day.
'I do a lot of basketball stuff, a lot of skill-based stuff that will have a lot of cardio tied into it. And then I'll do weight sessions spread across the week, so that I still give my body time to recover.'
Back to the grind: Ovie, who most recently played for Spain's UCAM Murcia, plans on returning to the basketball courts in London
His insistence on returning to his workout regime will serve him well, as Ovie, who most recently played for Spain's UCAM Murcia, plans on returning to the basketball courts in London.
'The first thing I do in the morning is basketball every day,' he said, with passion coating to his voice. 'And I am planning to play in London this year, in this season. So basketball's not going anywhere. That's still a big part of my life.'
In fact, basketball is such a big part of Ovie's life that he admits he was never aware he could elicit such fervent admiration from females.
'I think I night have been a bit of a late bloomer,' he said at the idea of being a ladies' man. 'Put it this way, I've always been very motivated and focused in the area of basketball, which has taken up so much of my time.
'So whether or not that was the case before, it's a possibility. But maybe I just wasn't aware of it.'
With more than 2.2million followers (and counting) on Instagram (it's 'just something that comes with the territory', he says showing little to no excitement) perhaps he's learning how lusted after he is through his DMs? Apparently not.
'I haven't seen anything. But there's been tears [laughs]. I was doing some stuff with ASOS and a young lady just started crying. I mean, you know, you give them a hug, don't you? That's what you do when someone cries...
'But it's positive energy... If I can make an impact on someone and it can have that much of an impact, that's dope.'
Reality fame often brings with it huge pitfalls, particularly as the machines which churn out the budding stars often eject them into an unforgiving world, where burnout can occur as rapidly as fame, or some semblance of it, arrived.
But Ovie already appears to have the perfect solution for not getting swept away with the tide or believing his own hype: 'I'm just going to continue just to be myself.
'I think reading too much into love is just as dangerous as reading into hate. They're both very, very dangerous. So obviously it's nice, it's pleasant... But I don't read too deeply into it.'
A good head on his shoulders: Ovie already appears to have the perfect solution for not getting swept away with fame as he insists: 'I'm just going to continue just to be myself'