Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Strictly star Zara McDermott forced to leave training due to medical emergency

The TV presenter headed to the hospital with boyfriend, Sam Thompson

Graziano di Prima and Zara McDermott at the Pride of Britain Awards 2023.
Megan Bull
Megan BullTV Writer
Share this:

Zara McDermott was forced to walk away from her Strictly training following a medical emergency involving her boyfriend, Sam Thompson. Recalling the incident on his hit podcast Staying Relevant, Sam told his co-star Pete Wicks, that after experiencing concerns about his kidneys, Zara had to leave her rehearsals with Graziano Di Prima to accompany him to the hospital. 

sam thompson and girlfriend zara smiling © Getty
Zara McDermott left rehearsals following Sam Thompson's health concerns

"You came to me when I thought I was dying and you literally were there for me," he told The Only Way is Essex star Pete. "Despite knowing there was nothing wrong with you," his co-star quipped back. At the time, Sam feared he might have kidney disease. 

"Do you wanna know something worse?" Sam continued. "I made Zara leave her Strictly training early to come and see me at the doctors and it was just for the guy to go, 'Yeah, you're fine'." 

Graziano Di Prima and Zara McDermott are paired up on Strictly© Instagram
Zara and Graziano Di Prima are paired up on Strictly

Sam and Zara – who have been dating since 2019 – are incredibly supportive of one another, so it's hardly surprising that she'd leave rehearsals to be at his side. 

During a recent appearance on Hits UK this week, Sam, 31, revealed that he wants to do more for his girlfriend, after Zara was left "deflated" by her recent Strictly scores. Twice now, the Love Island star has been in the bottom two, so this weekend she'll be hoping to impress with her Halloween routine.  

WATCH: Graziano Di Prima and Zara McDermott had a hilarious exchange during Strictly training

"Zara was in the dance off again! It's happening all too often and it's very hard to take as a boyfriend because she comes back all deflated and she's worked so hard," Sam told listeners. 

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer; Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima in the dance-off on Strictly Come Dancing© Guy Levy
Zara and Graziano recently found themselves in the dance off for a second time

"I've got to be honest with you though I could have done a bit more! I was a bit distracted by the rugby, by the World Cup and I didn't go as big with my usual efforts on Instagram but I'm going to come back stronger this week though! We're not going to go down without a fight baby!"

On Saturday, Zara and Graziano are set to dance the Charleston to Jeepers Creepers by Al Donahue & His Orchestra. Following Amanda Abbington's early exit from the show this week, fans have been wondering if a couple will still be eliminated in the next round. 

MORE: Strictly's Layton Williams hits back at fake exit rumours days after Amanda Abbington's departure

READ: Strictly star Krishnan Guru-Murthy shocks fans by sharing candid message from Hollywood legend

Despite only ten couples instead of 11 left in the competition, the show will still see one couple leave the show a week before the finale, so Saturday remains a battle for the contestants. 

zara smiling in pink T-shirt with graziano di prima © Instagram
Graziano and Zara will dance the Charleston to Jeepers Creepers by Al Donahue & His Orchestra on Saturday

However, instead of there being four couples competing in the finale for the Glitter Ball trophy, HELLO! understands that there will only be three this year to make up for the fewer contestants. 

Currently, the remaining couples are Zara and Graziano, Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu, Nigel Harmon and Katya Jones, Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola, Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk, Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin, Annabel Croft and Johannes Radabe, Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell, Krishnan Guru-Murphy and Lauren Oakley, and Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington.

More TV and Film

See more