Tom Hiddleston’s publicist asked the NY Times to not ask about Taylor Swift

Tom Hiddleston Betrayal First Preview On Broadway Departures

In a simpler time, Tom Hiddleston’s interviews were joyous and delightful. His sheer earnestness and loveliness shone through – he recited poetry to swans, he talked at length about Shakespeare and elitism and privilege, and he seemed to have so much FUN. Then Taylor Swift happened. Then there was the Worldwide Tiddlebanging Tour. Then there was a breakup a short time later. And that was three years ago. Tom has given interviews since then, of course, like his now infamous GQ cover story just a few months after the end of Tiddles. In retrospect, that the was the last we saw of that version of Tom. A new, more mature Tom emerged from the Tiddlebanging wreckage. This version is quieter, more reserved, and more interested in privacy.

Tom is currently in New York and he’ll be there for several months, doing Betrayal on Broadway. This revival had a successful run in London, and that’s why they brought it over here. To promote the play, Tom chatted with the New York Times. His publicist asked the NYT not to ask about Taylor. But Tom still did, in an oblique way. Some highlights:

It’s called acting, Tom: “I’m always curious about the presentation of a character’s external persona versus the interior. What remains private, hidden, concealed, protected, and what does the character allow to be seen? We all have a very complex internal world, and not all of that is on display in our external reality.”

Betrayal is about isolation and loneliness. “The sadness in the play — it’s not only sadness; because it’s Pinter, there’s wit and levity as well — but if there is sadness in the play. I think it comes from the fact that these betrayals render Robert, Emma and Jerry more alone than they were before.”

What betrayal means to him: “To trust is a profound commitment, and to trust is to make oneself vulnerable. It’s such an optimistic act, because you’re putting your faith in the hands of someone or something which you expect to remain constant, even if the circumstances change. I’m disappearing down a rabbit hole here, but I think about it a lot. I think about certainty and uncertainty. Trust is a way of managing uncertainty. It’s a way of finding security in saying, ‘Perhaps all of this is uncertain, but I trust you.’ Or, ‘I trust this.’ And there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world at the moment, so it becomes harder to trust, I suppose.”

His publicist asked the reporter not to ask about Taylor Swift: There was one stipulated no-go zone in this encounter, a condition mentioned by a publicist only after I’d arrived: No talk of Taylor Swift, with whom Mr. Hiddleston had a brief, intense, headline-generating romance that, post-breakup, she evidently spun into song lyrics. That was three years ago, and I hadn’t been planning to bring her up; given the context of the play, though, make of that prohibition what you will. Mr. Hiddleston, who once had a tendency to pour his heart out to reporters, knows that he can’t stop you.

So the reporter asked about Taylor Swift: “It’s not possible, and nor should it be possible, to control what anyone thinks about you. Especially if it’s not based in any, um —” he gave a soft, joyless laugh — “if it’s not based in any reality.”

Navigating fame: He knows now “to let go of the energy that comes toward me, be it good or bad. Because naturally in the early days I took responsibility for it. And yes, I’m protective about my internal world now in probably a different way… That’s because I didn’t realize it needed protecting before.”

[From The New York Times]

“It’s not possible, and nor should it be possible, to control what anyone thinks about you. Especially if it’s not based in any, um — if it’s not based in any reality.” I don’t interpret that as “Tiddles was not based on reality,” I interpret it as “people’s perceptions of Tiddles were not based on the reality of Tiddles.” Which is like his posh way of calling the Tiddles gossip “fake news.” As always, that utterly disastrous relationship ended up being one of the most educational experiences of Tom’s life. He finally realized that he needed to “protect” part of himself and never let the public see certain parts.

Sea Wall / A Life Opening - Arrivals.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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56 Responses to “Tom Hiddleston’s publicist asked the NY Times to not ask about Taylor Swift”

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  1. M. says:

    I wouldn’t want to constantly talk about any of my exes. Are we not more than who we date? I would be so annoyed if I had to talk about a relationship from years ago. This is why I have no problems when celebrities hide info about their personal lives.

    Also, I’m probably one of the few people who thought he and Taylor were a cute couple. They probably could have made it work if not for the hysteria.

    • virginfangirls says:

      I too wasn’t outraged by their rs. But man I also didn’t realize that she would drag him. I guess I thought she had matured and learned from the bullying she endured so she wouldn’t give the media ammunition to fuel their hatred on him. Unfortunately I was wrong.

    • Boodiba says:

      I thought the same thing.

    • Gorgonia says:

      I absolutely agree. I had to put in her place a so called friend which had the bad habit to speak about my ex in front of other people.

  2. Nikki says:

    Team TOM! Listen….the guy is just professional and doesn’t want to be associated with that anymore. Can you imagine being constantly associated with an EX?…..who you only dated for a couple of months? Also, he’s definitely grown as a person!

  3. Div says:

    Didn’t the journalist say she wasn’t even planning to ask him about Taylor? I mean, it’s been three years or so.

    • Justme says:

      Yeah, but I think Tom and or his PR wanted to be sure she wasn’t mentioned. This is his first real interview since GQ and the KSI interviews. She was mentioned then and after all Jake Gyllenhaal was asked about her not all that long ago. Plus she is currently everywhere because of her new album. So they asked that she not be brought up. Then the interviewer told us that she had been asked not to bring her up. . . Which brings her up. Unnecessary in my opinion. The interview is otherwise very good.

  4. Roserose says:

    Come on! It was a three month relationship 3 years ago!

  5. Lightpurple says:

    It’s a nice interview without the totally unnecessary comment from the writer

    • StarGreek says:

      I agree.

    • Lindy79 says:

      Exactly, so unprofessional to mention it. Very shady.
      I personally loved this interview. Touching on she who shall not be named, I like the way he handled it in a roundabout way. He saw a side to celebrity he didn’t like, got burned and learned from it, what’s wrong with that?
      I’m fed up reading how he seems “sad” from some fangirls. I also think the more *enthusiastic* ones are a big reason he’s stepped back, and he’s right to.

      • JAC says:

        It’s the shape of his eyess. I guess they help with acting but in pictures they just make him look sad.

      • Lightpurple says:

        He said things about playing Loki that she left out because of “space constraints” that probably could have been included had she not wasted space with her NO GO comments. She has posted them on her Twitter feed.

        I don’t know what she or the NYT were hoping to accomplish with that but I can see lots of actors being reticent about talking with her in the future. It’s one thing if you’re interviewing Prince Andrew and he takes all talk of Epstein off the table because that’s a newsworthy situation. It’s a completely different scenario when an actor who is promoting a play says he doesn’t want to put up with questions about a summer fling three years ago.

      • virginfangirls says:

        Lightpurple: I hope it does hurt her career. It’s not like she works for a gossip magazine. Very unprofessional.

  6. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    Isn’t that very unprofessional of the reporter?

    • sassafras says:

      It’s also unprofessional of the publicist to ask this at the last minute after the reporter has researched and planned questions. Requests like this should be done when the interview is set up.

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        In that case you talk it out with the publicist.
        You can decline to do the interview if you feel the publicist is hindering your work.

        But she agreed to the terms, and then did this. She made a story out if it for lulz.
        This is on her.

      • Dani says:

        A question about an ex from three years ago hardly constitutes as research and planning.

  7. JAC says:

    Apart from the Taylor Swift debacle, I always thought he kept a lot of himself private. He strikes me as one of those people who are so warm and nice you don’t even notice they’re extremely reserved and you only see the parts of them they want you to see. I have a friend like that and he reminds me of her.

    On another note, God he’s so handsome.

  8. Tourmaline says:

    This inspired me to search for the I ♥️ T.S. tank top photos— it all seems like such an innocent bygone era

  9. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    I feel for him. One shouldn’t have to worry that they’ll constantly be asked about a brief relationship that happened years ago.

  10. spidee!!! says:

    This, and the Brodesser-Akner interview, say a lot more about the interviewers and their publications than they do anything new about Tom. They should try being a little more original or tell us something new.

    The more they do this, the more dignified Tom seems.

    • Algernon says:

      The Akner interview was amazing, and it did tell us something new. It told us whatever we thought of that relationship, Tom obviously thought it was real and was blindsided by the public reaction *and* getting dumped. Before that interview, most people thought Hiddleswift was pure pr, but that interview showed he was really into it and got hurt badly by it. It was very insightful into that moment.

    • Millenial says:

      I have mixed feelings about Brodesser-Akner interviews – she’s brilliant and talented, but the subjects don’t always end up with a great PR piece…often the opposite. In the case of Tom, it definitely changed the trajectory with how he interacts with journalists. In her subsequent pieces on Rob Pattinson and Bradley Cooper, both were extremely, extremely guarded. I think because neither wanted to get the Hiddleston treatment.

      That being said, I’ve read great things about her novel. I’m waitlisted for it at the library.

      • Algernon says:

        But are interviews just supposed to be puff pieces of pre-approved pr? Celebrity profiles have gotten so bad recently because that’s what they turned into and it is boring and unimaginative. I like the ones that give an impression of what it is like to spend time with that person, which is what Akner does, whether it’s entirely flattering or not. I didn’t think her profile of Hiddles was unflattering, I thought it revealed how deeply he hurt he was, it made me sympathetic toward him.

  11. S says:

    Asking a reporter not to ask you something always goes poorly for the subject, drawing attention to the very thing they’re hoping to dismiss. Hiddleston shouldn’t be mad at the NYT, but he should probably fire that publicist.

    On the other hand I can’t imagine being an actor who is not only well respected dramatically, but also in one of the most successful franchises of all time, playing an iconic character he’ll be remembered for until he dies, and yet being constantly asked to discuss a years-ago, six-week summer fling in every single promotional appearance for the rest of your career.

    • spidee!!! says:

      We’ve been saying for years he should sack his publicist to be honest.

      I wonder if the fact that no real scandal surrounds Tom, or the fact that he always seems so earnest, annoys reporters?

    • lucretias says:

      I’m not a reporter-but the thing that struck was the reporter was asked to not ask just before the interview. So the assumption being there had been agreed upon parameters that were then changed just before the interview. Might have added to the reporters saltiness!

      • Anatha A. says:

        Yep, it is highly unprofessional to add such restraints shortly before an interview. There are many respected journalists who refuse to do interviews, if they are presented with a list of topics they can’t mention. They see it as a violation of their work, even if they never intended to ask in the first place.

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      But this sort of thing is very common.

      Actors veto questions about their private lives, other work (if they’re promoting a less known work and there’s danger they’ll be asked about something more famous), and especially scandals all the time.

      It’s an agreement between the artists and the reporters. The only one drawing attention to it is her. After it was obvious he doesn’t want that. It’s an odd thing to do.

      • S says:

        With major outlets it’s not actually all that common, unless you’re someone super A-list that they need, more than you need the pub (not Hiddleston’s case).

        Much better way to handle it is just give very boring, vague answer if topic you want to avoid does come up…”I don’t have anything interesting to say about that,” or “I think I’ve said all there is to say,” or just a simple “I wish her well.” And that’s it.

        The likelihood then is that the entire thing doesn’t make the piece, because the set-up and explanation isn’t worth the word count for a nothing answer with zero drama. But make a topic off limits or taboo? That’s juicy gossip right there.

    • virginfangirls says:

      I don’t think it’s a big deal to ask last minute to not ask about TS, being that you’d have to live under a rock to not know that already & quite frankly would be being a bit of an ass asking something you clearly knew would make him highly uncomfortable. I bet her reaction was “yeah I figured.”

  12. krywina says:

    Meanwhile TS has a song out called “I Forgot THat You Existed” lol. THese two really have a remarkable sort of comic bad timing together.

    • Arizona says:

      That song doesn’t seem to have anything at all to do with Tom, though.

      He just seems very…intense and annoying, to me.

  13. DaisySharp says:

    I have tickets to see Betrayal first week of November. Second row center, I am psyched!

    • Andrea says:

      Front row in mid October! I am excited too!

    • virginfangirls says:

      I saw Betrayal and it was excellent. I’m glad you have close seats. I think to really appreciate this play you need to see the display of emotions on the actors faces. The pain Tom showed at times was heart braking. I had never heard of Pinter before Tom’s involvement and was worried that the “pinter pauses” would bore me, but that was far from the case. The play moved so quickly for me that I was a bit shocked when it ended. Betrayal had lots of parts that made the audience laugh as well, which was also something I hadn’t expected.

  14. Other Renee says:

    He should have realized he was being set up for ridiculousness when the first staged photo of them making out on a rock or a beach came out. Then the I- ❤️ TS shirt. Then there was the underwear magazine spread. All so stupid and avoidable. What was he thinking was going to happen?

    • jammypants says:

      To be fair the underwear stuff was taken before he met her to promote The Night Manager in a spread of other upcoming actors for Emmys promo. The rest though was on him lol.

  15. Nanea says:

    I wonder if Team Tom really asked that NYT reporter to not mention she who shall not be named by mentioning her name?

    If they did – instead of just asking to keep the interview about his job, and not to ask personal questions – and the NYT reporter reacted the way she did – by dedicating space to something irrelevant, and then publishing something more important that had to be left out because of space constraints on her personal Twitter – it was highly unprofessional on both sides.

    What makes me sad: Tom is having such a good run professionally right now, people are stoked for Loki, Betrayal was loved by fans and critics alike – but it’s still all about the Comedy of Errors and the resulting Apocalypse.

  16. Emmet says:

    Just wanted to throw in this was Andy Cohen level snark.

  17. jammypants says:

    I think the situation about not being asked was handled better than when RDJ was asked about his drug past and he ended the interview…on tape. This journalist knew what would happen if she mentioned what she did. Clearly her editor approved. NYT is not above trashy gossip for clicks.

    It was an otherwise pretty good interview.

    • LP says:

      Oh I will defend RDJ in that instance- if you look up that interviewer, he did the exact same thing to a couple other people and is a notorious troll. He started by pressing RDJ on some political comments he made circa 2006, then swerved to drug use, which RDJ has spoken candidly about and deserves not to revisit. None of it was cleared ahead of time and he made several attempts to redirect the questioning before walking out, which gave the trashy interviewer the attention he wanted. I might have handled it differently but I’m team RDJ there.

      • jammypants says:

        True but the press following his reaction to questions about his past wasn’t mocking like it is for Tom. I think whatever mistakes one has made in their past, especially if the only one hurt was themselves, they don’t deserve to be treated as such that they can never move on. I fully am behind RDJ too on his walking out.

  18. Leah says:

    Was a fan of his for years going back to Thor but quit off a few years back due to losing interest. He was always guarded about his life in some way, but maybe a little enthusiastic about everything else? As for the Taylor Swift thing, I know people still think that was a publicity stunt but I think it was only really from her side, maybe he really liked her I don’t know. Anyway, good to see him keeping on with his career and doing well.

  19. Mo says:

    What was shady to me was the way she brought it up within the piece at a point where she thought he was talking about Taylor. So the comment became about Taylor, with no way for Tom to respond or rebut.

    The New York Times doesn’t allow publicists to sit in on an interview. If the publicist didn’t realize this and therefore asked for the no-Taylor at the last minute, yeah, the publicist needs to go. But I have a sense Tom has a loyalty to friends at the expense of his career. As a theater friend pointed out, he did the reading at the Pinter benefit with Zawe, but when it came time to plan for the fully staged production, it might have been time to find an actress more at his level. (Although they acknowledged she’s gotten good reviews.)

  20. Marianne says:

    Not only would that be exhausting talking about a short lived flame from 3 years ago…but Im sure it was also brought up because she has an album out right now and didnt want questions like “Which song do you think is about you”? I mean, how embarrassing would that be?

  21. I don’t care! Who does little miss prissy pants think she is? If the man in her life doesn’t bend the knee she has her sqad and fans to roast him alive on social media.

  22. SJR says:

    Team Tom here.
    I have been divorced 20+ years and it never fails that I will run into someone from that time and they ask/talk about my Ex. FFS! 20+ years. Do NOT keep bringing him up. I have zero contact, that is in the past.

  23. Case says:

    I’d be annoyed if I asked someone to avoid a certain subject and they included my request IN THE ARTICLE. That request was made privately. I’m a journalist and that’s really unprofessional, sorry.