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Strictly's Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson relationship timeline: split, reunion and more

 The Made in Chelsea star is dancing with Graziano Di Prima

Sam Thompson and Zara McDermott attend the "I Like The Way U Move" BBC Three Series photocall
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
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Zara McDermott is known as a star on Love IslandMade in Chelsea, and now Strictly Come DancingThe reality star and former civil servant is paired up with Graziano Di Prima, for series 21, and together they've already delivered some incredible routines. We can't wait to see what Zara brings to the dancefloor next and she'll no doubt have the backing of her family, friends and her boyfriend Sam Thompson, who has supported her journey so far since she signed up to the BBC Latin and ballroom competition.

WATCH: Zara McDermott and Griziano Di Prima make hilarious TikTok during Strictly rehearsals

Sam and Zara have been dating a few years now and are the picture of romance, but they haven't had the easiest ride in their relationship. The now-solid couple did face a headline-inducing rough patch a few years back but, thankfully, look to be stronger than ever.

Here's all you need to know about their romance timeline…

Sam Thompson and Zara McDermott began dating in 2019© Jeff Spicer
Sam Thompson and Zara McDermott began dating in 2019

When did Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson begin dating?

Zara and Sam Thompson began dating in early 2019, not long after the blonde beauty had finished her stint on Love Island in which she was involved with self-confessed ladies' man, Adam Collard.

At the time, Sam, Made in Chelsea regular, was in a relationship with fellow MIC cast member Sophie Habboo (now married to fellow MIC and Strictly alum Jamie Laing) but it wasn't long before Zara and Sam became official and Zara soon joined the cast of the E4 reality show.

Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson pictured in 2019© Ricky Vigil
Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson pictured in 2019

Why did Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson break up?

Zara and Sam hit a rough patch in late 2019 when reports began circulating that Zara had cheated on Sam while competing on X-Factor: Celebrity with music boss, Brahim Fouradi.

The former Love Island star first denied the allegations but then posted a heartfelt confessional message on social media in October 2020 when the news of the affair became public.

That same month, the pair's heartbreaking one-to-one conversation was played out on screen in an episode of Made in Chelsea in which Zara was begging Sam for forgiveness. The clip has now become somewhat of a meme and, fortunately, the couple has since seen the funny side.

Zara McDermott red gown© getty
Zara McDermott

Who is Brahim Fouradi?

Brahim Fouradi is a music executive and talent boss who previously worked closely with artists who appeared on X Factor. Brahim, whose job title was A&R director for Syco (Simon Cowell's company) met Zara in 2019 when she was taking part in the All-Star version of the singing programme.

Brahim has since departed his role from Syco and, according to the Sun, relocated to Holland.

Strictly Come Dating: couples who met on the dancefloor

As well as Gemma and Gorka, there are several other loved-up couples who met during their time on Strictly

  • Janette Manrara and Aljaz Škorjanec met on Strictly in 2010, before marrying in 2017 and welcoming a baby, Lyra, in 2023.
  • Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev met during the 2013 series. They married in 2019 and have two children together.
  • Dianne Buswell and Joe Sugg fell in love while competing in 2018. They live together in Brighton.
  • Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton met in 2018 and welcomed a baby girl, Minnie, in 2023.
  • Max George and Maisie Smith shared their Strictly experience together in 2020, but didn't announce their relationship until 2022.
  • Tyler West and Molly Rainford starred in the 2022 series together and have been going strong ever since!
  • Kai Widdrington and Nadiya Bychkova are both professionals on the show, and began dating in 2022.
  • Kristina Rihanoff and Ben Cohen were partnered together on the show in 2013, confirming their romance in 2014. They share a daughter together, Mila, who was born in 2018.

When did Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson reunite?

In late 2020, Zara continued to prove that her ex-boyfriend could trust her moving forward. Although hesitant at first, Sam decided to forgive Zara and they moved forward together as a couple working through their issues.

The following year, they moved in together and, nowadays, are adored by their followers for their hilarious TikToks! Sam and Zara live in a gorgeous house in Chelsea, London, which happens to be next door to his sister, Louise.

View post on Instagram

What have Zara and Sam said about their relationship?

Since their rocky patch, it seems that Zara and Sam are keen to put the past behind them and move forward and fans have even been convinced that the Made in Chelsea star could be getting down on one knee pretty soon.

Meanwhile, discussing the so-called Strictly curse, Sam gave his thoughts about Zara taking part in the BBC competition: "She was 22 [when it happened] so young. You know when you look at them and you go, 'She ain't going to do that again'. I could see in her face."

Earlier in the summer, Zara posted an adorable tribute to Sam in honour of his birthday. Sharing some sweet snaps from their time together, she wrote: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAMMY. You have taught me not to take life too seriously. You have taught me that laughter is the best medicine, always. You seriously are one in a million in every single way. I really don't know what I’d do without you… I absolutely adore you beyond words. Love you endlessly." 

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