Zara McDermott is doing everything she can to lift the Strictly Glitterball Trophy – even if it means spending time apart from boyfriend Sam Thompson.
A source close to the couple has told OK! they haven’t got much spare time to enjoy together as Zara throws herself into the TV show’s gruelling training schedule.
“Zara is putting all her energy into this show. She’s so ambitious and she’s determined to win,” our source said. “She’s going overtime with rehearsals, so she won’t be at home as much. A lot of their time is being taken up with their careers – it’s healthy and it works for them.
“Sam is so supportive of Zara, as she is him. He adores her and will do anything for her. He knows that Strictly is her dream and it’s one of the biggest shows on TV.”
The source added, “They’ve both got very successful careers. They’re not in each other’s pockets – and that’s what makes it work. They’re each other’s biggest supporters.”
Zara has admitted that pursuing their own solo projects has only strengthened their relationship. “We are so focused on our careers right now,” she said.
“I think it’s only in the last couple of years that I have actually come into my own and realised the value of investing in yourself. So for me, right now, it’s important that we both have our own things going on. And we both encourage each other, saying things like, ‘If you need to go away and work for months and months, just do what is best for you.’
“We’re both incredibly supportive of each other. And I think that it’s so rare to have someone like that.”
Zara, 26, also confessed that she and Sam, 31, are in no “major rush” when it comes to marriage and babies.
“I want Sam to focus on him and I want to focus on me,” she said. “We don’t do that many projects together because your relationship doesn’t need to become your identity. You are two separate people and it’s so important to remember that.
And you can have beautiful memories together and apart. It creates a very normal and healthy relationship where you can come home at the end of the day and talk about what you’ve done. I don’t want to be in a position where it’s too mixed up.”
Zara, who has made history as the first Love Island contestant to appear on Strictly, has been dating former Made In Chelsea regular Sam since 2019.
They briefly split up in September 2020 after Zara was unfaithful during her time on X Factor: Celebrity with music executive Brahim Fouradi.
But Sam has made it clear they’re now in a very different place – and he has no fears when it comes to the so-called Strictly curse.
“She was 22… so f*****g 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,” he said last month.
He’s been publicly supportive of Zara’s new gig. Following the Strictly launch show, he gushed on Instagram, “You’re going to be a…. STAR. She’s always wanted this. I’m so proud @zara_mcdermott.”
He also shared snaps meeting Zara’s professional dance partner Graziano Di Prima, 29, who is married to dancer Giada Lini, branding him an “absolute legend”.
Zara has also discussed her feelings when it comes to the infamous curse.
“We’ve never had to have that conversation because we both work in very intense environments on TV shows. It’s just been pure excitement from every perspective,” she said.
She added that she and Sam “fundamentally understand each other”, adding, “Neither of us are jealous people.”
Last week, Zara shared an insight into how things are going behind-the-scenes with Graziano. Posting a mirror selfie of them in rehearsals on Instagram, she wrote, “Time to cha-cha.”
She also shared a picture of their matching bracelets, which featured the word “believe”, before enjoying a night in front of the television with Graziano and Giada.
Sounds like a dream team!
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