Love Island’s Zara McDermott: her boyfriend, cheating scandal and what she’s doing now

Zara appeared on Love Island back in 2018

love island zara mcdermott

by Alex Ross and William Marriott |
Updated on

Ever since Love Island's Zara McDermott was revealed as a contestant on the ITV2 dating show back in 2018, she's been all over the reality TV shop, appearing on Made In Chelsea, The X Factor: Celebrity and Strictly Come Dancing.

After splitting from Adam Collard, she moved on with Sam Thompson and despitea brief split in 2020, when it was revealed she'd cheated on the MIC star with a music industry boss during her stint on The X Factor, she and Sam are still together and more loved-up than ever.

Since then, Zara has quit reality TV altogether and she's now focused on a presenting career after fronting documentaries about revenge porn and rape culture as well as hosting BBC Three's dating show Love In The Flesh.

However the 2018 Islander has admitted that she didn't feel successful after she was dumped from the villa.

After someone tweeted that it's "mad" how Zara is one of the most successful Islanders from her series despite only being on the show "for about a week", Zara spoke out and admitted she hasn't always felt it.

"It's actually crazy, I remember coming out of the villa and feeling so much lesser than everyone else. I just left like a tag along, and everyone else was more 'successful' than me at that point in time," she explained.

"They all had more followers on Instagram, they all had these huge fashion deals and I wasn't anywhere close to them. I just didn't feel like I fitted in.

"Fast forward 4.5 years and I decided to go down an unconventional route making and developing documentaries for a living not knowing where it was going to get me, prioritising that more and more over the quick brand deals as the years went on.

love island zara mcdermott
zara reflected on her love island journey on instagram ©Instagram / zara_mcdermott

"Now I couldn't be happier with where my life is, even though at the time when I came out of Love Island I felt like a failure compared to everyone else."

She went on to tell her followers that "life works out in mysterious ways" before adding, "Comparing yourself to others is silly because we all have totally different lives and paths."

You tell 'em Zara.

If you can't remember what happened to Zara on Love Island 2018, we've got you covered...

Who is Zara McDermott?

Zara was a government advisor from Essex before appearing on the 2018 series of Love Island as a bombshell. Zara said in her preview clip that she’s "definitely a catch" and has "definitely got the brains".

She also said, "I’m intelligent, which means I’m quite good at reading people. I’m always analysing people. I fall in love really quickly, which makes me quite serious. I think that if I like someone, I will go for them 100%. That might not be attractive to everyone."

Following her stint on Love Island, Zara joined the cast of Made in Chelsea when she began dating Sam. Her reality TV days are behind her now though and she works as a TV presenter, documentary maker as well as an Instagram influencer.

How old is Zara McDermott?

Zara is currently 26 years old. She was born on 14 December 1996.

When did Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson start dating?

Sam and Zara confirmed their romance in the summer of 2019 when they were spotted walking through London holding hands. In photos obtained by The Sun, the pair were seen leaving Sam's flat in Chelsea before strolling around the local area. The relationship was later confirmed by Sam's representative.

The couple were together for 16 months, enjoying a luxurious trip to Mykonos just a month before they split after lockdown rows.

"Zara and Sam split towards the end of last month. They had been arguing a lot since moving in together as a result of lockdown and things just built up between them," a source told MailOnline at the time.

After a series of cryptic posts by both Sam and Zara, alluding to "hurting someone" and "cheating", Zara revealed all in an open letter on Instagram (classic).

In the letter she admitted to making a big mistake in regards to her relationship as she wrote, "A huge mistake I made a year ago has recently come to light and I want to face this head on. I don't condone being unfaithful and I made a huge mistake at a time in my life where I was hugely selfish and immature."

Zara and Sam's relationship came to an end in emotional scenes on Made in Chelsea as he admitted he couldn't forgive her, but the pair later reunited in time to celebrate Zara's 24th birthday together and it's been smooth sailing ever since then.

In fact, the couple now live together in their recently renovated Chelsea pad. Sam also supported Zara through her Strictly journey and she's set to do the same after it was confirmed he's appearing on the latest series of I'm A Celeb.

Who did Zara McDermott cheat on Sam Thompson with?

According to reports, Zara cheated on Sam with Dutch music boss Brahim Fouradi who worked with Simon Cowell at his record label Syco Music. It's believed that Brahim quit his role at Syco and moved back to his native Holland when his affair with Zara came to light.

What happened with Zara McDermott and Adam Collard?'

After entering the Love Island villa as a bombshell, Zara immediately caught the eye of Geordie boy Adam, and it looked like she'd tamed his lothario ways (oh, how wrong we were). Zara was then dumped on day 25, and Adam's head turned when the new girls entered Casa Amor.

Although Adam tried it on with Darryle Sargeant, as Zara watched on at home, things fizzled out, and Adam was later dumped on day 35. He then met up with Zara when he arrived back in the UK, and the pair dated until February 2019.

Zara McDermott and Adam Collard
zara and adam together ©Zara McDermott and Adam Collard © Getty Images

Despite moving in together and seeming very happy on social media, Adam and Zara announced they'd split on Valentine's Day in 2019.

Posting a statement on her Instagram story, Zara announced, "I am heartbroken to announce that Adam and I have parted ways. I love him very much and will always have a special place in my heart for him & our time spent together.

"I have tried so hard to be the best person I can possibly be and to make it work. Sometimes in life, you just aren’t enough for someone; no matter what you do for them or how much you try to be. For everyone asking if I’m ok, I don’t know that I am.

"But I know that soon I will be. I will be strong and prove to myself that I can get through this. Love, always, Zara x."

When was Zara McDermott on Made in Chelsea?

Zara joined Sam on Made in Chelsea shortly after they started dating and her first appearance was on Monday 7 October 2019. It's also safe to say that a whole load of drama went down.

Zara and Sam faced an awkward encounter with Sophie Haboo and Miles Nazaire, who just happened to be in the same London bar at the time. Convenient.

As Miles ask the pair how they met, Zara responds, "So we actually me that an event about a year and a half ago. He was a bit intoxicated at the time, and doesn't remember it."

While Habbs watched on, Sam said, "She immediately saw me and thought, 'That guy, I wanna marry!' And then before I knew it, bam! Boyfriend and girlfriend, and I couldn't be happier."

Breaking his silence about the romance, Sam told OK! magazine, "Do you know what, I don’t want to say too much, but we’ve been on a few dates, it’s been a few weeks now.

"We’re not exclusive, because everyone in this game rushes everything! There’s no need to. If you rush into things, sometimes you make a mistake and it gets too intense… she’s a really, really lovely girl and she’s incredibly beautiful."

Why did Zara McDermott quit Made in Chelsea?

Zara announced she'd quit reality TV in 2021 after being inundated with nasty messages from trolls. She told The Sun, "I have loved doing reality TV and don't regret any of it. I just hated all the trolling. It is also hard because you have to relive things so many times.

"I have had death threats. People saying they know where my family lives and threatening them too. It's disgusting and scary. It is weird how hardened you have to become to it. I have had therapy but at the end of the day they can only help so much."

What happened to Zara McDermott on Strictly?

Zara appeared on Strictly in 2023 and was paired with Graziano Di Prima. They were the fifth couple to be eliminated from the competition after losing out to Adam Thomas in the dance off.

Does Zara McDermott have her own BBC Three documentary?

On 13 March 2020, Zara revealed on Instagram that she was filming a revenge porn documentary with BBC Three about her experience being a victim of the crime. It comes after naked photos of the star were posted online after she left Love Island which went viral.

She posted photos of the filming process and wrote, "ANNOUNCEMENT. Hi Everyone. Some of you may be aware that I have been a victim of Image Based Sexual Abuse, which is also known as Revenge Porn. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s basically when one person shares intimate images of videos of another person without their consent.

"I am really humbled and honoured to announce that the BBC and I are currently making a documentary to share my story. My main aim is to bring awareness to this issue, and be a voice for those who have suffered in silence and to help make a change."

A year later, Zara released another BBC Three documentary exploring sexism and rape culture in UK schools. At the time, Zara said, "After the success of my Revenge Porn documentary, I am both honoured and thrilled to be making my second documentary with BBC Three. I was, and still am, incredibly overwhelmed by the response so far and to be working on another powerful, emotive, educational and eye opening film is going to be a fantastic next step.

"I hope that by speaking out and bringing awareness to such important yet often taboo topics, we can help people not just across the country, but the world too.”

Did Zara McDermott host Love in the Flesh?

Following on from the success of her BBC Three documentaries, Zara returned to the channel in 2022 as the presenter of the reality dating show - Love In the Flesh. The show brings together couples who have met online but never met in real life to see if their connection will hold up in the flesh.

The show has been praised for its diversity of contestants and one heat writer has even said that its first series had more diversity than five years of Love Island.

When was Zara McDermott on The X Factor: Celebrity?

Zara joined her Love Island 2018 co-stars Eyal Booker, Samira Mighty and Wes Nelson on The X Factor: Celebrity, which premiered on ITV on Saturday 12 October 2019.

Judged by Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh, the reality telly-types competed alongside the likes of Glee star Kevin McHale and actual Martin Bashir in the singing contest.

They sung an original track, All Or Nothing, which debuted at number 33 in the iTunes chart. They also changed their name from Islander to No Love Lost.

What happened with Zara McDermott and Olly Murs?

Before she went official with Sam Thompson, rumours were rife that Zara was dating pop star Olly Murs.

According to reports, Zara and Olly met during a night out in Essex, with the pair "immediately hitting it off". However, the pair later shut down the reports, with Olly telling The Sun, "I just find it funny. That’s the world I live in in the dating world. If you like anyone’s photos you’re automatically dating them, it’s just crazy."

When the singer was asked if anything was going on with Zara, The Voice UK judge said, "I spoke to Zara after seeing her the other week in Sheesh with my mates. We were chatting about music because she loves singing."

Does Zara McDermott have Instagram?

Yep. You can follow Zara on Instagram... @zara_mcdermott

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