Joey Essex has become the first celebrity contestant to enter the Love Island villa as the new series gets underway.

The dating series returned on June 3 and introduced more contestants to the villa with host Maya Jama entering in a white dress.

Jama told the contestants: “Well it’s good to see you’re all settled in, as you know you are in Love Island, you must always expect the unexpected.

“So please welcome Joey.”

The TV star said he was “the king of Essex” who wanted to find his “queen”.

ITV says Essex represents the show’s “first celebrity contestant”.

The 33-year-old reality TV star returned rose to fame on The Only Way Is Essex (Towie) before appearing on similar shows including I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, Celebrity MasterChef, Celebs Go Dating and Dancing On Ice.

Love Island fans "gobsmacked" to see Joey Essex enter villa

As the official Love Island X (formerly Twitter) account shared the news that Essex would be entering the villa, fans reacted in the comments of the post.

One commented a laughing crying emoji and said: “No way! I was gobsmacked”.

With laughing crying and hands raised emojis, another said: “Didn't see that coming yaaass love island”.

A third said: “omg was not expecting that i'm hooked now”.

Earlier, Jama told the residents: “First impressions count. Boys and girls, I now want you to rate each other in order of who you think has come across the most like boyfriend and girlfriend material, right down to who has given the least relationship vibes.”

Jama then revealed the rankings would mean who they were paired with.

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Who are the Love Island couples after the first episode?

The first episode saw the following couples form:

  • Mimii Ngulube, 24, a mental health nurse from Portsmouth and Munveer Jabbal, 30, a recruitment manager from Surbiton
  • Nicole Samuel, 24, an accounts manager from Aberdare and Sean Stone, 24, a salesman from Hertford
  • Samantha Kenny, 26, a make-up artist from Liverpool and Sam Taylor, 23, a hair stylist from Chesterfield
  • Harriett Blackmore, 24, a dancer and personal shopper from Brighton and Ciaran Davies, 21, a surveyor from Pencoed, South Wales
  • Jess White, 25, a retail manager from Stockport and semi-professional footballer Ronnie Vint, 27, from London
  • Ayo Odukoya, 25, a model from Canning Town and Patsy Field, 29, an office administrator from Orpington

Love Island continues at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX tonight (June 4).