Actor-dancer Tom Holland and actress-singer Zendaya (full name Zendaya Coleman) have been the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s resident will-they-or-won’t-they pairing since before the world even saw them act opposite one another in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Years before his Spidey senses started tingling, the English-born Holland caught the acting bug at the age of 12, playing the title character in London’s production of Billy Elliot in 2008. He continued to work steadily in the industry, earning critical acclaim and accolades for his on-screen work in 2012’s The Impossible and 2015’s In the Heart of the Sea. Meanwhile, American-born Zendaya got her start in 2010 within the Disney Channel’s sitcom circuit on Shake It Up and K.C. Undercover. Before she danced, sang, and trapezed her way through 2017’s The Greatest Showman, she even independently released her own music.
While these Marvel stars grew up on opposite sides of the pond, their on-screen chemistry as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Michelle “MJ” Jones is undeniable. However, it’s their close relationship off screen that’s kept us all wondering: Is there maybe something more going on between them? Keep on scrolling to find out the untold truth about Tom Holland and Zendaya.
Their awkward (but totally platonic) meet-cute
Tom Holland and Zendaya met during the Disney starlet’s screen test audition for Spider-Man: Homecoming, but things got off to a bit of a rocky start. “My first meeting with Zendaya was very embarrassing, actually, for me,” Holland told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. “It just wasn’t my smoothest moment.” Zendaya said, “I don’t remember this, but he says that there was some type of awkward hug shake thing.” Eek!
Luckily, things were smooth sailing for the duo following this awkward yet totally platonic and professional meet-cute. “We did the first scene together, and I think the producers cast her, like, then,” the British actor said. “Before she even left the room, they knew that she was gonna play her character.” While Holland famously kept up with Iron Man Robert Downey Jr.’s penchant for improvising lines and literally flipped into a scene with Captain America’s Chris Evans during his own grueling audition process, Spider-Man director Jon Watts told Backstage that Zendaya simply had to be herself. “She’s been doing it for such a long time that she had both of the things that we want,” he explained. “Being a really good technical performer and also having a sort of effortless charisma.”
Even more important? Zendaya’s chemistry with Holland was undeniable right from the start…
A web of dating rumors surround them
Fans began linking “Tomdaya” together in the summer of 2016, when Tom Holland and Zendaya started showing up on one another’s Instagram feeds. By the following summer, sources cited by People claimed the Marvel co-stars were indeed an item and had “started seeing each other while they were filming [Spider-Man: Homecoming].” An insider alleged low-key couple had “been super careful to keep it private and out of the public eye but they’ve gone on vacations with each other and try and spend as much time as possible with one another.”
For her part, Zendaya was quick to publicly comment on reports about their supposed blossoming romance, tweeting: “Wait wait…my favorite is when it says we go on vacations together HA! I haven’t been on a vacation in years! hbu @TomHolland1996???” To which Holland quipped: “Does the press tour count?” Despite laughing off the relationship hearsay, persistent rumors suggest the superhero flick stars were following in the lead of previous Spider-Man co-stars-turned-love-interests (turned-exes), including Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst and Andrew Garfield/Emma Stone.
Is she really the MJ to his Peter Parker?
As Holland and Zendaya continued to use their signature online banter to deflect claims about their love lives, their responses to the topic became a bit more pointed during interviews. The actress outright refuted the rumors in August 2017, telling Variety, “We are friends. He’s a great dude. He’s literally one of my best friends. This past how many months we’ve had to do press tours together. There’s very few people that will understand what that’s like at 20 years old.” However, she wasn’t too bothered about the ongoing dating gossip, telling Entertainment Tonight, “It happens all the time, and of course we expected it. I mean, it comes with the territory. It comes with the job, so it’s all good.”
But did their fans buy it? Well, not really. A number of “Tomdaya” fanatics continued to view the co-stars’ social media interactions as low-key flirting, according to Teen Vogue. Adding fuel to the fire as so-called “proof” of their alleged romantic tryst? The pair was spotted on multiple joint red carpet appearances and dining out with Zendaya’s parents. Holland was also spotted leaving actress’ Los Angeles home in the early morning hours in 2018. Still, the simple fact that they seem to spend a lot of their free time together doesn’t necessarily mean this relationship is anything but platonic.