Darts star Luke Littler says he and girlfriend Eloise Milburn will not let vile social media abuse affect ‘their mental strength.’
Littler enjoyed an extraordinary rise to prominence at the World Darts Championship in London over December and January, becoming an overnight sensation with a string of world class performances.
The then-16-year-old missed out on becoming the youngest world champion in history after a remarkable run through the competition ended in defeat at the final.
His girlfriend Milburn, an amateur darts player herself, cheered on her partner at Alexandra Palace alongside his parents and sister throughout the competition.
During the tournament, 21-year-old Milburn was targeted by online trolls over the age gap between herself and Littler.
The teenager, who turned 17 last week, has picked up from where he left off at Ally Pally, winning the Bahrain Masters on his World Series of Darts debut.
Reflecting on some of the abuse he and Milburn were forced to deal with during that World Championship run, Littler admitted it started off ‘very bad’ but believes it is now ‘almost forgotten’, with a social media team now helping him manage his accounts.
‘We knew people would find out [about their relationship] but it started off very bad,’ Littler said in an interview with The Guardian.
‘As the weeks go on [the abuse of Milburn on social media] has been almost forgotten. We’ve been talking for a few months now.
‘I’ve brung her along to the worlds, got to the final and whatever people say, they can say it. It’s not going to affect me or my mental strength. I’ve got guys doing my Instagram now and they delete it before I see it.’
Milburn, part of the interview alongside her partner added: ‘It was tough to start with. The first day I let it get to me a lot.
‘But you learn that as long as the pair of you are happy, that’s all that matters. The people that matter most are supportive of us.’
Littler is currently in action at the Dutch Masters this weekend.