'Love Island's Zara just shed light on what REALLY went down between her and Tom

In a new interview, 'Love Island's Zara has dished on what we didn't see...

Love Island's Zara and Tom sat together at the fire pit in season 9 of Love Island/ in a purple rectangle template
(Image credit: ITV/ Lifted Entertainment)

After her departure from the villa, Love Island's Zara has given a little bit of context to what went on between her and Tom before that tense villa challenge—and it explains ALOT.

A question often asked about the reality show is "Is Love Island UK scripted?" and while it technically isn't staged, it's well-known to be a mix of "reality and produced elements"—as per a spokesperson to the Metro. That being said, a fair few past islanders have explained that some moments are more orchestrated than others and that a lot gets left on the cutting room floor—meaning the edit can make things look more dramatic and so on.

Of course, they do have to cram 12-plus hours of content into an hour-long episode but Zara has explained that as far as winter Love Island 2023 goes,  there was way more going on behind the scenes between her and Tom. 

For anyone who needs a quick refresher, Zara entered the villa as a bombshell and turned Tom's head from Olivia, with the pair quickly coupling up together. Things seemed to be going well with the pair despite some "unfinished business" between Tom and Olivia, before a villa challenge sent tensions soaring.

In said challenge, Tom had to make his perfect woman by choosing the face, body and personality of three different islanders—he chose, Olivia for the face, Zara for the body and Lana for the personality which understandably, didn't go over well with Zara—who's reaction faces are now firmly on the list of winter Love Island 2023 memes.

For we the viewers, it seemed as though Zara was the one apparently stirring drama—but as she revealed in a new interview, things weren't exactly as they seemed. 

What did 'Love Island's Zara say about the challenge?

In an interview with On Demand Entertainment, with interviewer Jodie McCallum, Zara revealed that prior to the challenge, things had already gotten heated between the pair, after Tom confronted her over "hearsay" being spread around the villa.

She said: "Before that started he actually came at me and was accusing me of things that I think was being stirred in the villa—there was a lot of drama that came to me."

Adding, "I was going into that night with such good vibes. I was like 'I hope Tom likes my hair, my dress,' we were solid all day," before she then said things flipped, "just before the challenge he was accusing me of things he was like—'I've heard this, I've heard this' and I was like really upset."

When quizzed about what he was claiming she'd done, Zara quipped: "This is the thing, I didn't know this hadn't made it to air, cus context-wise that's really important. 

"He basically came at me and he was fuming. I was at the firepit with the girls and he was like 'Zara, come.' We walked over to the back bit where the boys usually sit for their morning debrief and he was like 'I'm fuming, I'm fuming' and I was like 'wow' and went to touch his shoulder and he shrugged me off."

Zara then explained that Tom said he'd heard things about her having conversations with Shaq to make him jealous, to which she responded: "'First of all what, I'm allowed to come in—you're chatting to Liv—I'm allowed to speak, I had to get to know everyone' and I said, 'I naturally vibe more with you but my intentions towards Shaq—he's from my area, we did get on, Shaq said I was his type on the outside.'"

"This is where I saw a bit of a red flag with Tom. Because if you can't calmly communicate like—'I've heard all this stuff, can we talk about it and what's your side Zara?'—He just kind of came at me with all this stuff and maybe it was overwhelming for him to hear everything because it was a lot, but it was hearsay, gossip and people's opinions and he was taking it as fact.

"It was frustrating for me, because that was a lot of context," adding that as soon as they'd finished speaking they got the text about the challenge, "So we went into it on rocky terms." 

It's safe to say this intel definitely changes how the challenge reads on a rewatch...

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.