A Full Timeline Of Zara McDermott & Sam Thompson's Relationship

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster.

by Bustle UK
Originally Published: 
A Full Timeline Of Zara McDermott & Sam Thompson's Relationship
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

A relationship between two reality TV stars is quite a unique thing. Especially when you’ve watched them both try (and fail) to find love many times before. And while Zara McDermott and Sam Thompson’s relationship hasn’t always been plain sailing – remember that very public break up? – there have been many highs and lows. And rather remarkable holidays, to boot.

But as of 2022, the couple are going strong and posting adorable pictures all over socials. While McDermott may not have had the conventional Love Island success story like Tommy Fury and Molly-Mae Hague, the couple seem to be in a comfortable enough space to give their romance another shot. So if you’re as invested in this dramatic love story as I am, keep scrolling to rediscover what’s happened since they officially started dating.

Summer 2019: Newly Single

McDermott broke up with infamous playboy, Love Island’s Adam Collard, in FEb. 2019, after eight months together. Looking back at the relationship in 2020, the X Factor contestant described the relationship as “toxic” in an Instagram post. She did write in the post, however, that she’d met “this guy called Sam”, with whom she was “inseparable” from the day they met. That Sam, was of course, Made in Chelsea darling Sam Thompson.

Thompson was also no stranger to co-star relationships and had just broken up with Made In Chelsea’s Sophie “Habbs” Habboo after six months together. According to OK!, McDermott slid into Thompson’s DMs, and the pair confirmed their relationship on Instagram in June 2019.

October 2019: The Cheating Rumours

Summer turned into a rocky autumn, however. While McDermott joined the cast of MIC in October 2019 and made her X Factor debut alongside fellow Love Island alumni Samira Mighty, Wes Nelson and Eyal Booker, it was also the season she cheated on Thompson.

According to The Sun, McDermott saw music industry boss Brahim Fouradi “more than once”, and spent “increasing amounts of time with him backstage, and hanging around after hours,” a source told the newspaper. They added that Thompson was “devastated” about the situation.

January 2020: Sam Suspects Something

MIC fans watched as Thompson expressed his concerns and suspicions over girlfriend McDermott’s unexplained absences while she had been filming X Factor: Celebrity. “She’s like ‘I’m in the studio we’re working until like three in the morning’ … her bandmates are in bed!,” Thompson revealed, adding that he also flew “14 hours across the world” to surprise McDermott after her first live X Factor: Celebrity show and she told him to “go home.”

After confronting his girlfriend during that same episode, McDermott tells him that she’s “never done anything” to make him feel insecure, “other than the fact that I felt like s*** and I needed some time to myself”.

September 2020: Separated Ways?

Just a few months after vacationing together in Mykonos, eagle-eyed fans begin to notice that the pair have been suspiciously quiet about each other on social media. Speaking to MailOnline, an insider revealed that the couple had separated in August 2020.

“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,” the source revealed. “Zara has moved back to her parents’ house in Essex where she’s taking some time for herself, she really loved Sam so this hasn’t been easy for her. Sam has gone away to have a break from it all and clear his head away from Zara and social media.”

October 2020: Zara’s Infidelity Is Made Public

Just a month after details of their separation became public, news that McDermott had cheated on Thompson broke. Per Cosmopolitan, McDermott penned an open letter confirming the reports in which she admitted to making a “huge mistake.”

“I just wanted to address the recent speculation in the media. 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,” McDermott wrote in the letter uploaded to Instagram.

She continued, “I believe I have learnt so much from my mistake. I want to apologise to my Sam for everything I have put him through, for the pain, the embarrassment, the anger and the hurt. All I want to do is make this right and I think the least he deserves is me being honest with myself and all of you.”

October 2020: The Confession

As a regular MIC cast member courtesy of her relationship with Thompson, McDermott admitted on the show that the cheating rumours were true. “I did something really bad,” she told the shocked trio of Sophie Habboo, Ruby Adler, and Jamie Laing. McDermott went on to explain herself, saying that she thought a break up was inevitable at that point.

Laing quickly removed himself from the situation because his “loyalties lie with Sam”, and McDermott continued to explain why the secret had only just come out a year later. She told Habboo and Adler that a mutual friend of hers and Thompson revealed what happened, which prompted the former Love Island star to tell him everything.

When asked why she didn’t tell Thompson sooner, McDermott said she’d rather live with what she’d done than “to ruin everything” and “break Sam’s heart.”

October 2020: Zara Asks For Forgiveness

Thompson seemed to have no idea about the infidelity and even told Celebs Go Dating “love doctor” Paul Carrick Brunson that he was planning on proposing to McDermott. Needless to say, that didn’t happen after he found out about the cheating. In October 2020, McDermott shared a video montage about the relationship that has made its way into pop culture history, for better or for worse…

MIC was, of course, still following the drama, which led to a heartbreaking one-on-one scene between the two where McDermott begged Thompson for forgiveness. “I see absolutely no way, because how can there ever be a way when I can’t even trust this,” he said, in relation to her confession.

November 2020: Sam’s “Completely Out” Of The Relationship

After taking time away from each other, McDermott wrote a letter to Thompson to win him back. Delivered by Reza Amiri-Garroussi, Thompson made it clear that he was “completely out” of the relationship. When asked why he couldn’t tell her this in person, Reza said that whenever Thompson would see her upset, he would be drawn back into the relationship emotionally.

December 2020: The Future

Meeting once again, the couple discussed their future on a windy London rooftop in an episode of MIC. Thompson told McDermott that sending him gifts wasn’t going to win him back, as he didn’t trust her anymore.

But McDermott was convinced that if he loved her as much as he said, that he could forgive her and they could work through their issues. “No, I can’t give you an answer,” Thompson responded. “I’m sorry.”

Then, we found out that romance was back on the cards. Per MailOnline, Thompson revealed that the pair had gotten back together. “I believe in forgiveness. I understand the context – and I think in any walk of life you can't move forward unless you forgive,” Thompson said of their reconciliation at the time.

March 2022: Wedding Bells?

Since then it seems love seems to have stayed in the air! As well as the hint of wedding bells for the pair, Thompson and BFF The Only Way Is Essex’s Pete Wicks have taken their social media series, Reality News, to E4, and McDermott has been involved in some incredible documentaries, including the BBC Three documentary Disordered Eating, and the one-off film, Revenge Porn, and a new dating series, Love In The Flesh, will aired on BBC Three.

July 2022: Love Island Commentary

And since McDermott’s ex Adam Collard has re-entered the Love Island villa, Thompson has been delighting fans with the “inside scoop” of McDermott’s reactions, including that moment when she realised who the producers were teasing Collard’s return. “Abs and pecs, abs and pecs,” Thompson said as the camera panned up Collard’s chest during the reveal. “Wow he’s jacked! Who’s this guy… who’s this absolute animal… It’s your ex-boyfriend! No way!”

Thompson even joked (or possibly hinted) that he’d been in touch with the Love Island producers himself. “I genuinely think the producers have listened to my voice note that I sent and they’ve been like… let’s do it. Let’s fly in Adam Collard!”

Contributions by Sabah Hussain, Sam Ramsden, & Sophie McEvoy.

This article was originally published on