Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston, the strangest celebrity spectacle of the summer, have reportedly broken up after almost three months of dating. The news comes from Us Weekly, which splashed a classic understated headline across its latest cover:
Swift and Hiddleston (or “Hiddleswift”) became a punchline over the summer as they embarked on a worldwide tour of love in June, conveniently getting photographed everywhere from secluded Rhode Island beaches to small English towns to the Colosseum in Rome. They were the target of widespread mockery as observers assumed the relationship was a PR stunt, especially since Swift can avoid the paparazzi when she really wants. It got worse after Swift’s annual star-studded Fourth of July party, when Hiddleston decided to wear this tank top:
— Michael Jackson (@mj_new_cd) August 11, 2016
And now, they’re done, with Us Weekly taking the angle that Swift got tired of Hiddleston seeking out so much publicity — an interesting spin considering Hiddleston initially seemed mildly terrified when someone asked him about their relationship. (Swift’s rep did not return a request for comment.) The Daily Mail reported that Hiddleston wanted Swift to attend the Emmy Awards with him in a couple weeks, and she balked. “Tom wanted the relationship to be more public than she was comfortable with. Taylor knew the backlash that comes with public displays of affection but Tom didn’t listen to her concerns when she brought them up,” a “source” told Us.
The break-up is no surprise to those that follow the gossip cycle: Not only have they not been photographed together in nearly six weeks, but tabloids were starting to run stories about how the couple was crumbling, especially with Hiddleston in Australia filming “Thor 3” and Swift staying stateside. But where does this split leave the two stars now?
For Swift, the superstar has wisely stepped out of the spotlight after her reputation took a hit this summer. Along with the Hiddleswift spectacle, her recent ex, DJ Calvin Harris, pulled the curtain back on some of her PR tactics when Swift’s team revealed that she actually wrote his latest hit, “This is What You Came For.” Plus, the Internet branded Swift a “snake” in mid-July when Kim Kardashian leaked audio of a phone call that proved Swift did have advance notice about controversial lyrics about her on Kanye West’s song “Famous” — even though Swift seemed to criticize West for the song in her Grammys speech.
Frankly, the Hiddleston break-up couldn’t come at a better time for the pop star — lately, she’s only been photographed hitting the gym and going to jury duty, which means she’s mostly out of the public eye and evading the all-dreaded “overexposure” that can hurt her career. It’s the best thing she can do right now, even as her loyal fandom awaits her highly-anticipated sixth album — which could drop at any time, given she’s on a “release an album every two years” cycle, and her last was in October 2014.
As for Hiddleston, it’s trickier: The Internet lit up with rumors that Hiddleston was once in the running for James Bond, but ruined his chances with the embarrassing, over-the-top Swift relationship. While his profile is arguably higher than ever after their romance, he’ll still have to regain some of the credibility and box office draw he had as a serious British actor and Marvel supervillain.
The Emmy Awards in mid-September could help, as Hiddleston is nominated for lead actor in a limited series for AMC’s “The Night Manager.” A win for him (and Swift staying off the red carpet) could go a long way in reminding the public they both have much more to offer than being a much-mocked celebrity relationship.
(This post has been updated.)