Tom Holland and Zendaya on their height difference: ‘it’s normal’

Spider-Man No Way Home Photocall in London

Tom Holland’s Spider-Man/Peter Parker was a pretty classic portrayal: awkward high school kid, smart but didn’t stand out. His slim frame and nerdy tendencies caught the eye of bullies. Zendaya’s MJ broke a few stereotypes, starting with her not being a redhead. But one of the biggest breaks was that Zendaya, and therefore MJ, was taller than Tom/Peter/Spidey. Normally, people like to tease Tom about his height. But when Jessica Shaw of Sirius XM’s Town Hall interviewed Tom, Zendaya and Jacob Batalon on her show, she acknowledged how important it was that they’d smashed the problematic perception that a woman being taller than her romantic male partner was somehow an issue.

Zendaya and Tom Holland couldn’t give less of a [enter expletive of your choosing here] about their height difference.

As host Jessica Shaw began asking the couple about their visible height difference during their onscreen kiss in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tom chimed in, saying, “Not that much taller. Let’s put this out there. Maybe like an inch or two at best. It’s not like, people say like, ‘How did you guys kiss? It must have been so difficult.'”

After Jessica clarified that she viewed height constraints on women and men as “misogynistic” and “problematic,” Zendaya and Tom agreed — the latter calling it a “stupid assumption” that it would even be an issue. “This is normal too,” Zendaya added. “My mom is taller than my dad. My mom’s taller than everyone.”

“It’s not a weird thing for women to be tall,” Jacob added.

Zendaya added that MJ and Peter’s kiss is a “nice sweet moment between them” and shared how unnecessary it is to try to “cheat” the height difference onscreen. “Often, having to cheat it and pretend like…why not just let it be?”

“It just sucks that it has to be a conversation,” Jacob added. “Like it can’t just be normal.” Zendaya also said she “honestly never thought of it as a thing because my parents were always that way, so I didn’t know that people cared.”

[From Buzzfeed]

In Tom’s GQ interview, he admitted that he used to be self-conscious about his height, especially in relation to other actors. He’d try tricks like shoes or standing in the foreground to appear taller in photos. But he let go of that because he accepted he had no control over his height so why be burdened by it? In the clip with Jessica, Tom immediately jumped on her height comments a little defensively before she could finish. Old habits die hard and all that. But all three appreciated the direction Jessica took the conversation. It was interesting to hear that Zendaya’s mom was taller than her dad, so she always thought that was the normal dynamic. Tom said that all the women that director Jon Watts auditioned for MJ were taller than Tom. He wasn’t sure if that was a conscious choice on Watts’s part or not. It’s possible Watts grew up with the same dynamic as Zendaya.

I’m the shortest person in my family and have always been self-conscious about it. I’m not sure it was possible to find a guy shorter than me, but I still agree with Tom, Zendaya and Jacob, we need to end the idea that men have to be taller than women or it’s weird. I’m not saying this on behalf of men, but on behalf of all the truly amazing tall women out there who deserve their pick of whatever partner they want. And let women kiss whomever they want on screen too. Unlike Hollywood, which would rather dig a hole for an actress to stand in than admit the costar she’s kissing is 5’6”.

Besides, if we insisted on height requirements, we wouldn’t have these two, acting adorable like this:




Photo credit: Avalon Red and Backgrid

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38 Responses to “Tom Holland and Zendaya on their height difference: ‘it’s normal’”

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  1. Amukay says:

    I am 6”2 and it’s amazing the number of tall guys who start conversations about isn’t it nice I can finally wear heels around then as if I should be grateful for their romantic attention and not wear them if I was taller than a man. My husband is an inch shorter than me and it’s astonishing the number of people who still bring it up… he loves me wearing heels, just a sign of his confidence and masculinity IMO…

    • Piratewench says:

      Good for you!!! My husband is 3” shorter than me and he also loves me in heels. He is confident, his masculinity is much more than height. We are perfectly happy with our height difference, and I would have been crazy to pass up such a great partner and man simply because he’s short. It’s crazy to me how many women will not even consider dating shorter men.

  2. Noki says:

    Well it makes no difference when….🤣😂

  3. Yup, Me says:

    “starting with her not being a redhead.”

    Really? It’s far more impressive and notable that she’s a woman of color in the leading love interest role. It would have been great to just say that. This feels like when white people whisper the word Black as though it’s an insult rather than descriptive.

    I liked Zendaya”s response “My mom is taller than my dad. My mom is taller than everyone.” That was awesome.

    And I really loved that clip of them “sharing the same brain cell.” They’ve definitely got great chemistry together.

  4. Abby says:

    I’m 6”1 inches and it took me a while to grow into & fully accept who I am height inclusive. Made up my mind that whoever whether male or female that makes insensitive jabs about my height obviously isn’t worth my time.

  5. Monica says:

    I just love their chemistry, and almost want them to stop talking about their relationship so as not to jinx it.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      I love them together, too. you can tell this is no contractual relationship. the way they look at each other is SO CUTE.

  6. Woke says:

    Why is it a thing all of sudden ?

  7. Gil says:

    I had never noticed their height difference. In the pics from this article I thought it was because Zendaya is on high heels.

    • Bendy Windy says:

      The heels make it more noticeable for sure. Without them, I’m sure the difference is barely noticeable.

      Separately, I agree with them. Who cares? Good for them.

    • BW says:

      I also thought it was because she was wearing really tall stilettos. Then I noticed that he is wearing high heels with lifts, too.

      • Sally says:

        Yeah, he totally is, the “tricks with shoes” isn’t a thing of the past. I don’t blame him though, it’s the one big thing guys in the entertainment industry get shamed for and many others wear lifts too (even ones where you wouldn’t think it “necessary”, they wear them for better proportions, same as the women).
        I’m 6′ and one of the things I like about the younglings is that they seem to care less about height differences. When I was a teen/young woman I heard variations of the sentence “you’re cute but damn you’re tall” so so many times and quite a few guy friends admitted to me that it was a thing that intimidated them. It’s good to see that change a little at least.

  8. Kaye says:

    Cutest. Couple. Ever.

    • Joan Callamezzo says:

      Seriously. I want them to stay together, have babies and create a production company empire or something. They have talent for days. Z is a super star in training. Precious.

  9. Lucia says:

    Something similar happened years ago with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson during the Hunger Games years, except they obviously weren’t a couple irl. He, too, seemed totally fine with the height difference. As for T&Z, I’m embarrassingly obsessed with them. They’re both great, together and separately.

  10. Katherine says:

    That’s a cute video collage of the two of them

  11. Miranda says:

    I once went out with a guy who was probably 5’7ish, thought it went really well, and made plans for a 2nd date. A few days later, I was getting ready for that date when he sent me a text saying that he’d prefer it if I didn’t wear heels this time. Um, I’m 4’10. I could’ve worn ridiculous platform stripper heels and he’d still have a height advantage of a couple of inches, but he was just THAT insecure!

    So yeah, I really wish that I didn’t have to say that it’s refreshing to hear a shorter man say that he’s not bothered by his partner’s height advantage, yet here we are. So many of them are weirdly, laughably obsessive over these things.

    (That 2nd date was canceled, by the way. I mean, obviously.)

    • Similar thing happened to me in my early 20’s: I’m 5’7″ and the guy was slightly taller than me, but for one of our dates I wore a pair of high heeled black boots that made us about the same height. He made a joke about it and the date seemed to go fine, but later on he texted me asking me to never wear those boots again, because he didn’t find girls that are taller than him attractive. I didn’t even respond, I just completely ghosted him after that.

  12. Elvie says:

    This is a great conversation to have. I am average height – 5’7″, and my husband is the same height. At our wedding I wore flats because I was on my feet all damn day, but people kept asking me if it was so I wouldn’t “tower over him”. It was gross.

    In contrast, my sister-in-law is 6 feet tall and she is also insecure about her height and refuses to date any man who is shorter than her and I get it based on even the barest scrutiny her brother and I get, but still. Just live your life! Fall in love! Why restrict the dating pool on arbitrary things like height?

  13. thinking says:

    I think people enjoy picking on what they perceive as a weakness. Maybe for men that could be their height. I’m a short woman and other short women would tell me I’m short (I’m pretty sure I know already, duh). So my assumption is that people like to pick on something. The other thing might be age.

    I’ve always wanted to be a tall
    woman but I think I knew it was over for me at around 12 – ha ha.

    • Lucille says:

      I was always told I was short. Decades later I found out I’m actually average height. LOL

    • Killfanora says:

      I think therefore I am…..was it Descart said that? I think I’m 5foot 7 therefore I am. *shrugs*, from a 5foot 3 reality 😂

  14. Lucille says:

    They’re cute together. But I honestly think the eight thing is more of an outlet for saying she’s in a hwole other league than him.

  15. Ameerah says:

    That video was adorable. They’re so cute together.

  16. Cobra says:

    The way they look at each other, so sweet and tender. It melts my cold and cynical heart. Such sweet kids.

  17. Nicole says:

    I don’t think he’s short. My husband is 5’8″ and I figure he’s normal height. Of course, I’m 5’2″ so everyone is taller than me.

  18. Megs283 says:

    I love this and I wish my middle school self had had a role model relationship like this. I’m 5’11”. My college bf was slightly shorter than me and it was a THING. My husband is slightly shorter than me and it’s so not a thing.

    Tall girls, don’t hide your light. ♥️

  19. manta says:

    It reminds me of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s answer when asked if Statham was bothered by the fact she towered over him on red carpets. She basically went along that line: well, it’s been a decade, it’s safe to say he doesn’t care.
    I just checked pictures of them and he seems perfectly cool and at ease.
    Good for Holland and Zendaya to be relaxed about it too.

  20. Sof says:

    Why is this a thing, how sad are people’s lives that they feel the need to tell them that!
    I also remember being mad at that shoot (Entertainment weekly?) where they had Zendaya barefoot and Timothee standing on a small platform.

    I was not aware but the internet has showed me that people are obsessed with the idea of a short woman and a tall man, the bigger the difference the better. For instance, Maddy and Nate from Euphoria.

    • bettyrose says:

      Yeah, it’s gross. There are trolls all over the internet (of all gender identities, AFIK) that love to point out when a famous woman has put on weight. This short shaming is basically the same thing. Sexual attraction is so weird. And love is even weirder. You can mentally draw your dream boat all you want, but the stars have different plans.

  21. Myjobistoprincess says:

    it’s 2022 almost, I thought we were past that since at least the 2000’s

  22. Lyds says:

    I remember when Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were huge (before we knew he believed in Tetans) and he always looked really proud to be with her and beaming from ear to ear. I never thought they looked like an odd couple, just a beautiful one. With Katie Holmes the awkwardness was more pronounced but maybe because everything was quite forced. This leads me to conclude that with confidence, everything can look like second nature.

    • bettyrose says:

      The Tom/Nicole example isn’t great, though. It wasn’t a real marriage, so his pride was a probably more about how great a beard she was, a gorgeous, leggy woman who may or may not have been on contract, while he was using her to cover his own self-loathing.

  23. BeeCee says:

    They are actually both 5’8″. It’s just that Zendaya is usually wearing heels which is why she looks taller.

    So really, the height difference is a moo point

  24. Silent Star says:

    Shout out to the other tall women here! I’m 6’1″ and all my partners have been shorter than me, with only 1 or 2 exceptions. Sometimes people comment about it, but most people don’t, though probably a lot of people just keep comments to themselves.

    I’ve always loved being tall, and I think the partners who don’t mind being shorter are often more secure in themselves, which is a bonus.

    Some people can be really weird about it though. Eff those guys, they are the weird ones.

    And gosh Tom and Zendaya are adorable together! I didn’t realize until watching that compilation video.

  25. Xiolablue1971 says:

    I’m 6’0″ and I spent most of my young adulthood searching for athletes to date because I felt like an awkward ugly duckling in my tall skin and only tall, athletic men could manage or appreciate me. Thankfully, I met a short, round, Danny DeVito type who loved, loved me in heels and the taller I got, the more he was into it…and that changed my whole perspective. I learned to love my height and now I wear heels because I can. Why not be taller? There is so much insight into people’s insecurities when height is an issue for them or for others.

  26. bettyrose says:

    I’m 5’3″ and can’t relate to this conversation at all. I realize it’s not *that* short, but somehow I was the shortest of my high school group and I’m 4 inches shorter than my mom. At one point, I was dating a guy who was like 5’10” (or IDK to me all men are 5’10”), and my mom actually said to me that speaking as a taller woman she didn’t think I should date tall guys. She was mostly joking but I was so insecure about being shorter than all my friends it never even occurred to me there’d be an issue with me dating a guy of any height, since they were all taller than me.