Tom Holland Turns to Girlfriend Zendaya First for Acting Critiques—and Appreciates Her Brutal Honesty

“You need that.”

Tom Holland
(Image credit: Getty Images)

One doesn’t have to be a relationship expert to know that, if a relationship is going to work, both partners have to be honest with one another—and Tom Holland is glad that his girlfriend Zendaya excels in this regard, with Us Weekly reporting that the actor never has to wonder if she is sugarcoating the truth.

“Zendaya is probably the most honest with me, which I love, because you need that,” he said during a SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversation shared on YouTube Friday. 

Zendaya and Tom Holland

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Holland and Zendaya look lovingly at one another on the red carpet

(Image credit: Getty)

Moderator Chris Gardner asked Holland who among his peers he turns to for acting critiques; other than Zendaya—who Holland met while working on films to support the Spider-Man franchise—Holland also cited Marvel costars Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch as his trusted advisors.

“Downey is very honest—sometimes a little too honest,” Holland said. “I really respect Downey’s opinion. He taught me so much and I always sing his praises, and I love the guy. I admire him. I don’t know if you guys have seen Oppenheimer yet, but he’s absolutely staggering in it. He steals the movie for me.”

As for Cumberbatch, Holland said that he “is someone that I ask for advice a lot about acting.”

Tom Holland on the street

(Image credit: Getty)

But, before Downey and before Cumberbatch, it was Zendaya who Holland said he turned to. Though it’s unclear how long the two have been together, they were made official by force after being caught kissing in a car in July 2021; the two are historically fiercely private about their relationship but are slowly starting to talk about it more and more as the years go on. “Zendaya and Tom really did their best to keep their romance under wraps when they first started dating,” a source speaking to Us Weekly said. “Before they began seeing each other, they had both always been very private when it came to their personal lives. It was something that bonded them in the early stages of their relationship because they were both on the same page when it came to avoiding public speculation.”

Tom Holland and Zendaya on the red carpet for the Spider-Man premiere

(Image credit: Getty)

Tom Holland and Zendaya at a movie premiere

(Image credit: Getty)

While they “preferred to keep to themselves” in the relationship’s infancy, they eventually decided it was pointless to hide their relationship when it was basically an open secret: “That has shifted over time, and they acknowledge that everyone knows they’re together,” they said. “So Tom is proud to call Zendaya his girlfriend and express how much he loves her because he wants the world to know.”

Holland publicly declared his love for Zendaya back in June in an interview with BuzzFeed. “I’m locked up,” he said. “So I’m happy and in love.” 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.