Tom Holland and Zendaya set the internet on fire over the summer when photos emerged of the Spider-Man co-stars kissing in a car. Although the pictures served as the dating confirmation fans had been waiting for, the actors had a very different reaction when the paparazzi shots were published.

“One of the downsides of our fame is that privacy isn’t really in our control anymore, and a moment that you think is between two people that love each other very much is now a moment that is shared with the entire world,” Holland tells GQ. “I’ve always been really adamant to keep my private life private, because I share so much of my life with the world anyway… we sort of felt robbed of our privacy.”

Tom Holland and Zendaya attend the Spider-Man: Homecoming photocall in 2017.Tom Holland and Zendaya attend the Spider-Man: Homecoming photocall in 2017.
Tom Holland and Zendaya attend the Spider-Man: Homecoming photocall in 2017. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Holland says it wasn’t that they weren’t ready to talk about their relationship, “it’s just that we didn’t want to.”

Zendaya also talked to the publication about the photos seen around the world, calling it “quite strange and weird and confusing and invasive.”

“The equal sentiment [we both share] is just that when you really love and care about somebody, some moments or things, you wish were your own,” she says. “I think loving someone is a sacred thing and a special thing and something that you want to deal with and go through and experience and enjoy amongst the two people that love each other.”

Holland made it clear the photos were not staged, as some people speculated. In fact, he’s still hung up on trying to figure out how the photographer got the shot as he’s careful when he goes out in public. 

Zendaya and Holland, both 25, are gearing up for a worldwide press tour for Spider-Man: No Way Home. The actors are both guarded when discussing their private lives and he explains it’s partly because it’s a discussion they need to have together.

“It’s not a conversation that I can have without her,” he explains. “You know, I respect her too much to say… This isn’t my story. It’s our story. And we’ll talk about what it is when we’re ready to talk about it together.”

Holland isn’t shy in discussing the impact his girlfriend has had on his life and how she helps him navigate fame.

“Having her in my life was so instrumental to my sanity,” he says. “She is so good at being the role model for young guys and girls. When anyone comes up, like, ‘Can I have a picture?’ it’s never a bad time. Whereas my initial reaction was: ‘Why are you talking to me? Leave me alone.’”


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