Tom hiddleston"s "embarrassing" taylor swift romance which "cost him bond role"

Perhaps you learned his name only because of his recent three-month romance with Taylor Swift. But by then, Tom Hiddleston was already a beloved Marvel villain, James Bond short-lister, Night Manager leading man, và truly gifted wearer of suits (like the ones he‘s got on here, in this season’s color: brown). Taffy Brodesser-Akner heads to London lớn absorb the full blast of his English charm offensive—and find out why Tom and Taylor wound up on the rocks so Hiddleswiftly.

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Suit, $1,045, by Hugo / Shirt, $155, by Hugo / Tie, vintage / Tie bar throughout The Tie Bar / Pocket square by The Hill-Side / Watch Patek by Philippe / Briefcase by Berluti / Hair by Johnnie Sapong using Leonor Greyl / Grooming by Johnnie Sapong using Dr. Hauschka. Produced by Ragi Dholakia Productions. All photographed on Broadway Market, London.

Suit jacket, $2,300, shirt, $450, và tie, $215, by Louis Vuitton / Tie bar, $15, by The Tie Bar / Hair by Johnnie Sapong using Leonor Greyl / Grooming by Johnnie Sapong using Dr. Hauschka / Produced by Ragi Dholakia Productions.

Tom! Hiddleston! Loves! This! Bolognese!

It’s amazing Bolognese, the most incredible Bolognese you’ve ever had. You think you’ve had great Bolognese? Try Tom Hiddleston’s Bolognese before you continue khổng lồ talk about great Bologneses you’ve had in your life. (You braise it in the oven after browning it on the stove—that’s the thing. Also: Bacon! Also: Butter! He also loves bacon và butter!) He made this Bolognese last night, after we’d parted following day one of our two-day early-January walking tour of London, which was half Before Sunrise ten-mile stroll-and-chat through the city, half My Dinner with Andre philosophy symposium. He settled into his Camden house (alone) và spent the evening cooking và watching a screener of Moonlight (alone), which he could now confirm for me was as amazing! & riveting! và touching! as everyone has said.

He heats up some Bolognese for me và we make our plan for the day, which I correctly predict will involve another walk through another astonishingly beautiful park. Yesterday, it was Regent’s Park. Everyone knows about Hyde Park, but vày they know about Regent’s Park? No, và I must see it. In the park, I pulled out my old Olympus digital mini tape recorder, và Tom Hiddleston looked at it and whistled in admiration: “Hello, Olympus! This is a great Dictaphone!” He’d used one to kiểm tra himself on accents when he was at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Long walks, that’s his thing—to think stuff over, lớn figure out his lines, to lớn process what’s going on in his life, both the triumphs (turning a routine Marvel villain into a tín đồ favorite; a Golden Globe win for The Night Manager; the occasional Bond rumor; a UNICEF UK ambassadorship to South Sudan) và the heartache (“Hiddleswift”). On New Year’s Day, he says, Regent’s Park was even more beautiful than it was during our walk: It was foggy, & the lanterns were lit, but you couldn’t see anything beyond the mist. It reminded him of the London of old, the one he loves so much, the London of J. M. Barrie. It was a simpler time then. Lately he’s been thinking a lot about simpler times.

The Bolognese is even good cold! He’s heated it up, but it’s even good cold!

Please don’t think he’s being full of himself being full of his Bolognese. Tom Hiddleston is enthusiastic about everything: Barack Obama (“An enormously temperate man!”); his Thor director, Kenneth Branagh (“Such a humanist!”); Jonathan Franzen’s Purity (“It holds the mạng internet to account—it shows you how it can distort identity in an unhealthy way!”); Moana (“Incredible!”); Dwayne Johnson in particular (“That man radiates joy!”); Matt Damon (“I think he’s got real integrity!”); Michael Fassbender (“Extraordinary!”); Chiwetel Ejiofor (Amazing!”); this porridge he makes, which is just oatmeal và almond milk & chia seeds (“I’m obsessed!”).

This is important to lớn keep in mind while you’re getting lớn know Tom Hiddleston: His zeal is bottomless. It’s one of many things that, were it not for what we know about his personal life, we might already know more about. For example, you might already know he’s the kind of compelling, versatile actor who can leave his mark on all kinds of roles—as a slick spy in The Night Manager, an emo vampire in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, a condescending Asgardian god in Thor—but maybe instead of it being a thing you know about Tom Hiddleston, it’d be the thing he’s known for.

You might know, instead, that he’s an English gentleman of the purest caliber who has never spoken out of turn about any of his relationships, who roots for his co-stars and colleagues loudly (really loudly) over social media, who has never been caught flipping the bird at the paparazzi who hunted him after his famous breakup, who wouldn’t curse during my many hours with him no matter what the circumstance because his mother would be so disappointed to lớn read it. If you took the measure of Tom Hiddleston without any influence from Daily MailIn cảm ứng Weekly stories, you might think to yourself: Here is a handsome, thoughtful man who is not wasting his potential, & that is a heartening thing to see in this world. Also, he’s tall. A thing you learn doing these interviews is that actors are always far shorter than you ever imagined. Tom Hiddleston isn’t. He is tall và strapping, và I kept thinking that it is so Tom Hiddleston to lớn live up lớn the hype.

In his kitchen, he makes our third cup of tea of the day; by the kết thúc of my interview, we will both be in kidney failure from all this tea, and we will finish talking while hooked up lớn dialysis machines. We sit beneath a large canvas photograph of the big De Niro–Pacino confrontation scene in Heat, which is one of Tom’s favorite movies; there’s another Heat poster in the library. Heat is the best!


But in the pantheon of things Tom loves, the thing he loves most is Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks is the greatest—what a career that guy has! It’s clear why he might love him so much: Tom Hanks seems as all-in as Tom Hiddleston. “His decency is poured into everything he does,” he says of Hanks. Even the comedies. Even in Turner & Hooch! “I’m nowhere near Tom Hanks’s contribution or even close. All of it’s not high art, you know? But there is a value in it, you know, somehow, somewhere.” What he’s saying is: It’s worth it for us all to lớn think about what we’re putting into the world. He’s saying it would be great to be known for your decency.

And here Hiddleston does a brief impression of Tom Hanks (he does very good impressions of everyone, including me after a day) that is hard lớn describe, except lớn say that it summons Tom Hanks in a very profound way. Its only flaw is also part of its charm: While he does the impression, he’s also looking at you lớn see how much you’re enjoying it, và then he can’t stop smiling when he sees that you are, so ultimately what you get is an impression of Tom Hiddleston enjoying himself doing a Tom Hanks impression.

This seems like a wise moment to lớn address a sneaking suspicion that I batted away at first—inconceivable, given the physical specimen in front of me—until it became unavoidable: By most definitions, Tom Hiddleston is…uncool. His vulnerability, his enthusiasm, his Bolognese, these are not trademarks of a dashing movie star. & yet here he is, a sweet-natured bookworm trapped in the second act of a movie where the overlooked geek has been given the face and toàn thân of the only man who should ever be allowed to wear a suit (or jeans, or that long-sleeve navy T-shirt he wore when we had dinner).

But now consider uncoolness as a general thing, how in its most concentrated khung it frees a certain 1 percent of people lớn be who they truly are, turning uncoolness into the ultimate coolness. Tom Hiddleston’s sincerity & eagerness to lớn engage, to lớn connect, go from making a confounding first impression to lớn a genuinely winning second one.

On every level, Hiddleston is in: He’s there, he’s present, he’s yours, he’s heartfelt, he’s real. & that can be a double-edged Chitauri Scepter, since it leads lớn the stuff about Hiddleston that wounds him: the Golden Globes speech in which his enthusiasm for his UNICEF work plunged him into a YouTube-able-forever moment (and its subsequent apology) that I can only watch through my fingers; the infamous I ♥ T.S. Tank top, which is now synonymous with the words “Tom” & “Hiddleston.” The world might not be ready for the kind of earnestness và sincerity that comes along with Tom Hiddleston. I am here lớn tell you that we would be a much happier race of humans if it were.


His conscientiousness was built into him as a boy by his father, who is the best chemist in the world. They lived in a modest home in Wimbledon along with his mother, who is the most compelling arts fund-raiser alive; his elder sister, Europe’s best journalist; và his younger sister, a gifted midwife with a singing voice that comes directly from God. The Hiddlefamily was solidly middle-class, but Tom’s parents sacrificed to lớn send him lớn the best schools—Eton, Cambridge, and then RADA. He learned the basics of scrupulosity, though, from his father, who taught him that there is right & wrong, fact & myth, và that sometimes you have to work hard to lớn spot the difference. This was a life lesson for Tom Hiddleston, passed down from father khổng lồ son, but it’s also an acting lesson.

See, he thinks the audience deserves people who have studied. Acting isn’t about lying or pretending, the way people sometimes say it is. It’s about getting the experience of the person you are portraying exactly correct, và the way you vì that is by going lớn the experts. In Skull Island, the Kong reboot, he plays a former British SAS soldier who is a renowned tracker, hired lớn help find whatever it is they’re looking for (which turns out lớn be monsters). For that performance, he: read The Tracker, the seminal memoir by ur-tracker nhân vật Tom Brown Jr.; trained with a former Navy SEAL, even though this is lượt thích the 70th time he’s played a soldier; & researched a jungle-warfare school in Malaya where actual British SAS soldiers are believed to lớn have trained in the 1960s.

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We’re at a pub he likes in Hampstead Heath called The Bull và Last—evening, day two—eating steak và broccoli. He does an impression of David Attenborough’s voice-over for Planet Earth II, which we’d watch a bit of after dinner, only Hiddleston’s narration is about him eating a bite of my meal (“…the male must dine on his companion’s steak…”).

Where would we be without experts, is his point. How would we learn? & so one of the things Tom Hiddleston is determined to fix about the world right now is what he calls our “strange public distrust of experts.” In his Twitter feed, which consists solely of enthusiastic re-tweets of film promotion and causes he loves, one tweet stands out: a Guardian article about the rise of nhái news and how David Cameron’s name turned to pudding when the Daily Mail published an trương mục of him sticking his dick into a dead pig’s head as an initiation rite.

And guess where that all came from? An unconfirmed rumor và an anonymous source! But it doesn’t matter, Hiddleston points out: That story is now part of the David Cameron story. Which would be one thing if we knew for sure it was true, he says, but we don’t. Which is why it’s time for “a movement in critical thinking, to lớn really resist this dilution of truth và holding people to tài khoản for twisting it or distorting it.”

(As if lớn underscore this: A few days after I returned to the States, a friend sent me a links to a Daily Mail article containing nine pictures of Hiddleston & a “mystery brunette”—me—hugging, laughing, và bidding each other farewell. For the record, I was laughing about his Attenborough impression; I was hugging him because we were saying good-bye after two days và because: Tom Hiddleston!)

So yes, nhái news is a thing, và now is the time lớn talk about it. This is the first time he’s talked about any of this, he says—about politics, news, anything beyond the scope of his roles. He used to politely beg off. But he sees that’s no longer an option. We can’t afford complacency anymore. Look what’s happened in the past year khổng lồ the world’s most powerful democracies.

Which is why he’s decided to step into the fray himself, consequences be damned. “If you’re under attack,” he says, looking me square in the eye, his voice raw, “if your values are under attack, if you’re being shamed, if you’re being humiliated, the animal response is lớn hide in the bush. It’s to be less, lớn make yourself smaller, lớn diminish in size and volume. Và the lesson of năm 2016 is we have to love more, we have to risk more, we have khổng lồ be braver, we have khổng lồ be more outspoken.”

It wasn’t until much later that night, after we’d parted, that I realized we had started talking about Taylor Swift long before we started talking about Taylor Swift.


It is tempting to say that the union of Hiddleswift was cooked up in a panicked publicist’s office: That professional breakup lyricist Taylor Swift—who knew this very magazine was about khổng lồ publish a story suggesting that maybe she hadn’t been so honest about whether she knew she’d be a lyric in Kanye’s “Famous,” that maybe there was even a videotape khổng lồ prove it—urgently needed a professional, tactical, romantical distraction. That maybe a British actor who was trying to lớn break through khổng lồ an American audience sensed an opportunity lớn become something more here. Maybe those two urgent impulses led khổng lồ them sitting on the rocks, having a perfect kissing moment, while a person with a camera stood not so far away and took pictures.

But—but—it is also equally possible that it was real. I mean, this happens, right? Beautiful people fall in love, don’t they? and these two made a kind of sense: They were similarly earnest and pale & high-rise & shiny. He had that James Dean daydream look in his eyes; she got his heart racing in her skintight jeans. Can we leave room for the notion that they fell in love?

It lasted three months. They ate dinner in restaurants; they traveled lớn England to lớn meet his family, and to Australia, where he’d be shooting Thor: Ragnarok. But soon after that australia trip, that was it, and we were left with only unconfirmed tertiary sources saying that Taylor did. Not. Like. How public he was with his affection, like, say, confirming their relationship to lớn The Hollywood Reporter and generally walking around with a smile on his face lượt thích a man in love.

“Taylor is an amazing woman,” reads the prepared statement Tom Hiddleston has memorized & is now giving me at The Bull & Last, where his voice has gone low. “She’s generous và kind & lovely, và we had the best time.” But I didn’t ask that, I say. I asked something else. So I wait, & he says, “Of course it was real.”

I ask if he wants lớn say anything about Australia, about the Fourth of July buổi tiệc nhỏ at which he donned that fateful tank top, about the rumors that she thought he was too eager. Does he want lớn say anything about any of it?

And here he puts down his fork, a bite of my steak still on it. He looks off into the middle distance, và here is what he says:

“The truth is, it was the Fourth of July & a public holiday & we were playing a game & I slipped and hurt my back. And I wanted khổng lồ protect the graze from the sun & said, ’Does anyone have a T-shirt?’ và one of her friends said, ’I’ve got this.’ ” The friend pulled out the "I ♥ T.S." tank đứng top that Taylor’s friends are contractually obligated to own. “And we all laughed about it. It was a joke.”

So that’s his statement on the entire relationship: an explanation of the tank top. “It was a joke,” he repeats. “Among friends.”

“I only know the woman I met. She’s incredible.” But, man, all those cameras. “A relationship in the limelight takes work. Và it’s not just the limelight. It’s everything else.”

I can vouch for this depiction of Tom Hiddleston. He is definitely, without a doubt, someone who would put on an "I ♥ T.S." tank top, both lớn protect a scratch from sun damage & to make his new friends laugh while th—wait, sorry, he’s still talking:

“I have to lớn be so psychologically strong about not letting other people’s interpretations about my life affect my life. A relationship exists between two people. We will always know what it was. The narratives that are out there altogether have been extrapolated from pictures that were taken without consent or permission, with no context. Nobody had the context for that story. & I’m still trying to lớn work out a way of having a personal life và protecting it, but also without hiding. So the hardest thing is that that was a joke among friends on the Fourth of July.”

He still isn’t looking at me. The last piece of my steak is now poised on his fork in mid-air. He is so sad, and I can’t take it anymore, so I put my hand on his và I say, “Tom, Tom, it’s okay. You don’t have khổng lồ talk about the tank vị trí cao nhất anymore. I got it. I understand. I’ll tell the world.” But he can’t stop talking about it. He literally cannot stop talking about it.

“I don’t know,” he says. “I just, I was surprised. I was just surprised that it got so much attention. The tank vị trí cao nhất became an emblem of this thing.” It’s hard lớn tell me this, he says. He wants khổng lồ trust me. He wants lớn trust that the world won’t use this to lớn embarrass him again, but he doesn’t know. He just knows it will follow him until he talks about it.

And anyway, none of this has anything to do with the person he fell in love with. “I only know the woman I met. She’s incredible.” But, man, all those cameras. “A relationship in the limelight… A relationship always takes work. A relationship in the limelight takes work. & it’s not just the limelight. It’s everything else.” He wanted a regular relationship. So did she, he says she said. “So we decided khổng lồ go out for dinner, we decided to lớn travel.”

After the breakup, he moved to australia for Thor: Ragnarok, và each morning he’d wake up at five & go running, và the cameras would be there. “I’m getting up so I can vì this job well. I’m getting up lớn go for my run so I can play Loki as well as I can.” Everywhere he went, whether it was checking thư điện tử on a park bench or looking at a menu, if he furrowed his brow it meant he was miserable & that would incite a new tabloid story about how hard he was taking all of this. It was a tough time, a public tough time. Chris Hemsworth gave him some good guidance; Hugh Laurie checked in. His family worried.

So you can think whatever you want about Tom Hiddleston, you can swift-boat Hiddleswift all you want. But he is as bewildered by the whole thing as you & I are.

He looks at me finally and he says, “I’m not going to live my life in hiding.”

The next morning, I wake up at five to pack for my flight back lớn New York, and I see an e-mail from Tom, sent the night before, asking if he could come khổng lồ my hotel to talk to lớn me about something. I tell him yes. He lives trăng tròn minutes away; 15 minutes later he knocks on my door.

He explains that he wants to be honest with me, that it would be hypocritical of him to talk about honesty in the world & then not be with me. I have to understand, he says, that a relationship is between two people, that it doesn’t belong to lớn him alone. But like David Cameron now knows, it is neither practical nor wise lớn let rumors hang in the air. He wants me to know that he has no regrets, he says, “because you have lớn fight for love. You can’t live in fear of what people might say. You know, you have lớn be true lớn yourself.”

But I understood all that, I tell him. I understood last night. It’s six in the morning, Tom. I have a flight to catch. Và he shakes his head, feeling foolish because maybe there was something he thought he could say that wasn’t quite coming out the right way, và instead he says, “Yeah, okay, I just wanted khổng lồ make sure.”

So we sit and talk for a while. We talk about how relationships go sideways, how the ripples of a breakup can still sạc you khổng lồ a wall even months later.

I turn my tape recorder off & I stand up, but he doesn’t. He shakes his head again, his hands clasped together, và he hangs his head. I sit back down và we talk some more because I finally understand that he isn’t here as someone who needs to lớn explain his side in a pr battle; he’s here as someone who is still crushed by the over of a relationship.

So we sit & talk for a while. We talk about how relationships go sideways, how the ripples of a breakup can still pin sạc you lớn a wall even months later. We talk about heartache. We talk about sadness và healing. We talk about what it’s like to love and what happens when the object of that love withdraws but all your love is still there. We talk about how those things can really change a person. The world will cpu away at your optimism, và you just have to lớn fight back. You have lớn be someone who is still full of joy và full of love, who can still use a word lượt thích “obsessed” about porridge. You have to be bold và open. You have khổng lồ be honest. You have to lớn be lượt thích Tom Hanks. We all have to be more like Tom Hanks.

He carries my luggage downstairs for me và I get into a cab for the airport, and I think about sincerity and I think about snideness & I wonder why so many of us seem so much more comfortable with snideness. I think about one of the last things he said to me, which was about David Bowie. Had he mentioned how much he loves David Bowie? He loves David Bowie! On New Year’s Eve, he listened lớn “Under Pressure” with his friends. ’Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word, he recites. Và love dares you khổng lồ care for the people on the edge of the night. & love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves. This is our last dance, this is our last dance, this is ourselves. You should’ve seen his face when he was saying these words. His eyes were closed, và it was like he was in a trance. It was the best face!

Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a writer.

This story originally appeared in the March 2017 issue with the title “We ♥ T.H.”

Watch Tom Hiddleston suit up in this season's sharpest color, brown. (That's right, brown.)