Sam Thompson really wanted to get to know Zara McDermotts Strictly partner Graziano

Sam Thompson has made the effort to "really get to know" his girlfriend's Strictly Come Dancing partner.

Zara McDermott, who Sam has been dating since 2019, is taking part in this year's BBC dancing competition.

Ahead of the live shows, TV personality and Made in Chelsea star, Sam wanted to get to Zara's partner professional Graziano Di Prima and his wife, Giada Lini.

Speaking exclusively with OK!, Zara's mum Karen said: "Sam has been amazing, he has been so super supportive, he really wanted to get to know Graz and Giada.

"They’ve been around there for dinner, so they get on really well. He’s so supportive and really excited too."

Karen said that the family carried out "detective work" ahead of the show in an attempt to figure out who Zara would be paired up with.

She added: "We kind of narrowed it down and did our own bit of detective work, we were looking at the heights because Zara is quite tall so we thought it could only be one of three potentially , it could have been Graz, Kai or Johannes.

"We would have been happy with any one of them, they’re all lovely guys, I’ve met them all.

"But I just think, seeing her and Graz together they just look right together. And he’s such a lovely guy. Really respectful and lovely guy."

Tonight, on the first live Strictly show, Karen will be supporting her daughter from the ballroom, as she sits in the live audience.

She said: "I’m so excited [to go tonight] I think the first show, because there’s no voting and everyone gets to perform without that pressure, it's great for them all.

"Next week I might feel different, as the weeks go on you can't take anything for granted obviously I want her to stay to the end, of course I do, and we are her biggest fans and supporters, her biggest champions."

Karen is attending with Graziano's wife Giada Lini and Sam is also going to be attending.

She added: "I’ve said to her if she wants to take a ticket and give it to someone else I’m happy to give her mine, but as long as she wants me there, I’ll be there.

"She said 'mum I want you there all the way through.' Tonight I am going with Graziano’s wife, Giada. Sam is also going tonight. I’ve met Giada before, she’s a lovely lady."

Tonight Zara and Graziano will be performing the cha cha cha to Crush by Jennifer Paige.

Judging the show this year are Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas.

Meanwhile, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will be back too present the show.

Strictly Come Dancing will go live on Saturday from 6.15pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Strictly It Takes Two will return to BBC Two from 6.30pm on September 25, with presenters and singers Janette Manrara and Fleur East.

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