MAYA Jama may be at the peak of her TV career, but the 28-year-old had a difficult start in life.
For most of her childhood, her father was in and out of prison for violence-related crimes.
Who is Maya Jama's father?
Maya was born to her father Hussein Jama and mother Sadie in August 1994.
Hussein's parents emigrated from war-torn Somaliland in East Africa.
He has worked a number of different jobs including in sales for BT and as a bartender, but from the age of 17, he was in and out of jail.
In an exclusive chat with The Sun in June 2021, he said: “I always loved fighting, to be honest, and Bristol was a violent place — it was always kicking off.
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“But I calmed down when Maya was born when I was 26 and stopped going to the football on weekends so I could stay home with my family."
Two years after Maya was born, Hussein and Sadie welcomed their son Omar.
But in 1996, when Maya was just two years old and her brother was a baby, he was jailed for 12 months for glassing a man with a bottle.
Hussein said: “The police came looking for me and asked Maya, ‘Where’s your dad?’. She said, ‘Under the bed’.
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“When I was in jail, Sadie said, ‘You can’t leave me at home with two little kids so next time you go in, it’s over’.
“In 1999, I was back inside and Sadie kept her word and I don’t blame her."
What has Maya Jama said about her father?
The new Love Island host has been pretty open about her father's difficult past.
Maya explained that it was normal for her and credited her dad's side of the family for being extremely supportive.
She said they made sure she and her brother Omar didn’t feel like they were missing out.
At the age of 12, Maya decided to stop visiting her dad in prison.
The pair reconnected for the first time in decades when Maya fronted a documentary in 2017 about growing up with a violent father.
In the interview, the TV presenter reflected on visiting her father in prison as a child.
She said: "I remember me and my brother being put into the back of the car with a blanket for a long journey, and then we’d get searched by dogs on the way in and then talk to my dad across a table.
"There were sweets in the car, and it was a day out. It was only as I got older that I realised my friends’ families weren’t like mine, that they had dads who were around, not dads who were in prison."
Maya met with her father in an attempt to get answers from him but said that "nothing he said, and nothing his family told her, gave her any real insights" into why he had ended up in prison.
Where did Maya Jama grow up?
Maya was born on August 14, 1994, in Bristol.
She is of Somali descent on her father's side and Swedish descent on her mother's side.
The 28-year-old was raised primarily by her mum Sadie before her stepdad came into the picture.
In an interview with Marie Claire, she said: "When I was 10, my mum met my stepfather and he is the loveliest man.
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"So I got to see a loving relationship, which I think is what can affect young women growing up without a dad—not experiencing love first-hand and seeing how a healthy relationship should be.
"Dad wasn't around, but I had all the love I needed from elsewhere."
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