Kaz Kamwi has said she is “proud” of Liberty Poole over the way she handled her exit from Love Island.
Alongside her former partner Jake Cornish, Liberty opted to walk out of the villa in the final week of the show after the pair split up.
They enjoyed a final date together on a luxury boat and decided to leave the show together but go their separate ways.
Kaz, who reached the final, said she her friendship with Liberty “blossomed” while they were starring in the programme together.
Discussing her exit, Kaz added: “When she explained to me the situation and how she felt, honestly I had nothing but the utmost respect for her because it takes a lot to admit your feelings and be really set in a decision like that, especially so close to the final.
“She is so genuine. It broke my heart knowing she never found that special connection that I think she deserves.”
Kaz, who left the villa in a relationship with Tyler Cruickshank, added: “I was trying to be strong when she was leaving but when we went to the terrace and I was in tears.
“Overall, I am proud of her and she stood her ground and followed her gut and trusted her intuition.
“She is very strong-minded and independent and it seeps through.
“She is one of the most selfless people I have ever met and she deserves so much love.”
Earlier this week Millie Court and Liam Reardon were crowned winners of the series.
Chloe Burrows, who came second to the pair alongside Toby Aromolaran, said she expects the winning couple to succeed in their relationship outside the villa.
“I can’t see them with anyone else to be honest,” she said.
Faye Winter and Teddy Soares were also in the final.
Discussing their next step as a couple, Faye said: “We have spoken about it and I think we will likely get a place together but I will probably still spend two, three nights – depending on schedules at work – in Devon.
“Teddy will still have his own space, to be able to see friends, family but it will be our place and we will still spend time apart until we want to be with each other fully.
“I think that’s our next step.”