Zara McDermott - ‘Louise Thompson has been through more than any woman I know, but I’ve never once heard her complain'

In an exclusive chat with OK!, Zara McDermott, who is happily loved up with former Made In Chelsea star Sam Thompson and has just launched her own clothing range, Rise with F&F at Tesco, opened up about how inspired she is by Sam’s sister, Louise - who recently bravely revealed she has had a life-saving stoma fitted, following years of health battles due to ulcerative colitis.

Clearly amazed at Louise’s strength through it all, former Love Island star Zara said: “I haven’t heard her complain about it once - I think most people would, don’t you? That just shows her strength of character, really.”

Karen Thompson and Louise Thompson pose for a picture with Zara McDermott
Louise Thompson and her mum Karen were in attendance to support Zara McDermott's new clothing venture -Credit:Getty Images for Poeticgem Group

And Zara, 27, revealed she really feels for Louise, after everything she has been hit with. “Louise has been through more than anyone I know. It’s been blow-after-blow, like, what other cards is she going to be dealt?! The reality is, she’d been suffering with ulcerative colitis for many years, and her mental health issues as well. Trying to juggle the two felt like an impossible task for the poor girl.”

Opening up about the stoma which Louise announced she'd had fitted in a powerful post on Instagram on 9 April, the star - whose latest documentary, Ibiza, airs on BBC Three on Sunday - added that, though it was sad it had come to this, her boyfriend’s sister is looking - and feeling - in much better shape now.

Reality star Sam Thompson hugging sister Louise
Zara's boyfriend Sam called Louise a 'hero' for going public about her stoma -Credit:No credit

“It very sadly ended up with her having to have a stoma, but looking at her now, she actually looks the best she has in a long time. It’s like someone’s breathed new life into Louise. And this is something we’re reminding her of - this is a beautiful thing.

“She’d been so limited in what she could do, in the run-up to having the stoma fitted and it’s given Louise her life back. It’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of and that’s exactly her mentality on this. She’s amazing.”

Louise Thompson pictured wearing a black swimsuit that covers her stoma bag
Louise shared her first time wearing a swimming costume since getting a stoma bag fitted -Credit:Louise Thompson / Instagram

Former MIC cast member Louise, 34, revealed her stoma bag on Instagram, after being plagued with months of health problems and hospital dashes.

Writing on Instagram, "HOW DO I DISCLOSE THIS SORT OF NEWS?" Louise shared footage of her stoma bag with her 1.4 million followers, saying the bag "represents life" and she does not want to hide it.

In the short video, the mum-of-one admitted, "the grey bag that may well have saved my life", adding that the news was "not exactly a glamorous announcement but not something I want to have to keep hidden forever".

Louise Thompson shows her son touching her stoma
Louise revealed her son Leo, 2, is 'obsessed' with her stoma bag -Credit:Instagram / Louise Thompson

Louise, who earlier this year shared an update on her health problems, thanking the NHS and medical staff for their support - recently shared a sweet update about how her son Leo is ‘fascinated’ by her stoma bag.

She also reflected on how 'many lessons could be learned from our children' because her son does not find the topic of her ileostomy bag 'awkward' or 'taboo'.

Revealing the clip was taken by her fiance Ryan Libbey, she said: 'I'm sharing this off the cuff video that Ryan captured when trying to get a 'civilised outfit shot… For every person that messaged me to say that they haven't had the confidence to tell their friends and family they have a stoma…. Some of you for years. (There are thousands of you btw).'

She concluded: 'Nothing to be ashamed of. Still the same human on the inside. I haven't had a personality transplant. I can still dress, walk and talk the same.'