Zendaya has done the unthinkable: She shared a photo acknowledging her relationship with Tom Holland outside of a press junket.
OK, so maybe "unthinkable" is overstating it a bit. The couple, who started dating after appearing in the Spider-Man franchise together (he as the titular man spider and she as his bestie/love interest Mary Jane, a.k.a. M.J.), tends to keep their relationship out of the spotlight in a major way. You can imagine this is probably a difficult feat, since they are two of the most famous people in the world and also have to sit for hours of press junket interviews side-by-side, resulting in some delightful banter but not a public reveal of their love.
But on Friday, Zendaya shared a picture to her Instagram Stories that put off-duty Tom front-and-center. It appears to be a snap from a nonprofit event with the charities Oaklandish, which promotes public art in Oakland, The Backboard Project, which renovates public basketball courts, and the Hoopbus, a touring project which builds community through basketball. The Hoopbus even shared a video of Zendaya tossing the ball to another player who then scores:
A photo posted by on
Zendaya also decided to give the nod to Tom Holland at the event, sharing a photo that he posted on his own Instagram (without actually tagging any of his social media) to her Instagram stories:
A photo posted by on
It's a subtle shout-out to their love, but one that anyone watching will instantly recognize.
Keeping their relationship out of the public eye has been a challenge that Zendaya acknowledged as recently as last week, in an interview with Clover Hope for Elle: "I can’t not be a person and live my life and love the person I love," she told the magazine. "But also, I do have control over what I choose to share. It’s about protecting the peace and letting things be your own but also not being afraid to exist. You can’t hide. That’s not fun, either. I am navigating it more than ever now.”
Though it's unclear exactly how long they've been dating, they were first cast in Spider-Man together in 2016, and denied dating rumors on the press tour following its release. In 2021, a photographer snapped them kissing in a car—a confirmation of the long-rumored relationship.
With this Instagram story, it seems like Zendaya is coming around to the idea of making their relationship more public.
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