Zara McDermott says ‘our bond is unbreakable’ as she gushes over Graziano after Strictly exit

Zara McDermott has spoken about her "unbreakable bond" with dance partner Graziano Di Prima after they became the fifth pair to be eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing on Sunday.

Ex-Love Islander Zara, 26, and Strictly pro Graziano, 29, faced Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk in the dance off, with Adam, 35, being saved by the judges.

Zara took to Instagram shortly after her exit aired on BBC One to share her disappointment, but also heap praise on partner Graziano, saying he has brought her "joy" and is her "best friend for life" in a lengthy post.

"I knew this day would come and I tried to prepare myself as best I could for it, but the reality is I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet," she began her post.

"I first dreamt of dancing on Strictly when I was 7 years old, dancing round the living room wearing my little dress and wishing I could be one of the “princesses” that I saw on screen. Little did I know that it would one day become a reality, and I’d have got myself half way through the competition," Zara continued.

"I’ve never been a dancer, or a performer, I’ve always been self conscious, so I knew that this was going to be a huge challenge physically and mentally, yet it was a challenge I absolutely wanted to take on."

She went on to detail her bond with Graziano before wishing her fellow Strictly contestants well and thanking all of the staff at the BBC One show.

"However, from the day I met you Graz, you told me every day that I am strong, beautiful and confident. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I know that we were meant to be friends for life. You have taught me so much about myself and our laughter every single day has brought me so much joy," Zara said.

"I never got bored of spending over 12 hours a day with you, and your work ethic has inspired me beyond words. You made me believe in myself in those moments that I absolutely didn’t and the bond we have built is truly an unbreakable one."

The reality TV star praised the production team and said it was an "honour and privilege" to take part in Strictly, branding the show "iconic" and "magical".

She signed off her post by writing: "I am forever grateful to every single one of you who made my Strictly experience one that I will think about with a HUGE smile on my face every day for the rest of my life."

There are just 10 celebrities left on Strictly following Zara's elimination. Les Dennis, Nikita Kanda, Jody Cundy and Eddie Kadi have also all exited the competition.

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