Love Island star Zara McDermott reveals revenge porn ordeal aged 14 drove her to contemplate suicide

ZARA McDermott has revealed how she considered suicide after becoming the victim of revenge porn when she was just 14.

The Love Island star bravely opened up about her ordeal in the hope she may help other young women.

Zara, 24, said she was pressured into a sending a naked photo to a classmate, who then shared it around her school.

But she revealed she was sent into a shame cycle after girls hurled insults at her in the street and police accused her of creating child pornography.

The reality star was also suspended from school and said she became known as the "s**t" who sent the picture.

Zara told The Times: "People don't realise when something like this happens, it affects the whole family.

"My teachers just washed their hands of me. Drilling it into me, constantly blaming me. Do you know what that does to a young girl?"


The star, who is now in a loving relationship with Made in Chelsea's Sam Thompson, discussed the harrowing experience for her new BBC documentary about revenge porn.

She said she was being savagely bullied at school in Essex at the time and hoped sending the picture to the boy would help her fit in.

Zara recalled taking the picture of herself in the bath after the boy told her “it will make me like you more”.

She said: “I honestly thought that if I took the picture, it would make him like me, and want to be with me, and I saw it as a way to prove myself to him.”

But when she arrived at school the next day, she was horrified to find “kids sniggering in the corner with phones in their hands, looking at me”.

The boy had shared the photo and it quickly spread to other schools – with even her 11-year-old brother receiving it.

This led to Zara being suspended from school and ditched by her friend as other parents told her mum she should be "ashamed".

Meanwhile, the boy who had shared the photo got off "scot-free".

Zara said she felt so isolated she considered suicide and remembers thinking "how would I do it".

She added: "I never want to go to that place again."

Zara rebuilt her life and began working in the civil service when she turned 18.

But she became the victim of revenge porn for a second time in 2018 when she sent a picture to a then-boyfriend she believed she could trust.

The photos emerged after they broke up and she entered the Love Island villa where she found fame.

Zara only discovered they had been shared when she was preparing to fly home after the show ended.

She said: "I [had] felt safe that second time.

“I trusted the guy. He was an experienced professional and I just didn’t believe it would happen to me again.”

Although she felt a shift and was referred to as a "victim" for the first time, she said she still "wanted to die" when she had to face her parents.

In 2015, it became an offence for jilted lovers to disclose private sexual images without consent.

Anyone who breaks the law faces a maximum sentence of two years’ jail.

A Crown Prosecution Service report said 206 people were prosecuted for sharing private sexual images in the first year of revenge porn being made an offence.

Zara explains in BBC documentary Zara McDermott: Revenge Porn she doesn't want to "shame anybody" for sending nude pictures.

She added: "I know what it’s like to be a teenager. I remember. Tell me to do one thing and I’ll do the opposite.

"I don’t want to be that person wagging her finger because I don’t think that person gets listened to. But sharing my story and what I have had to go through, I hope it will be enough to make people think twice.”

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.



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