Having been one half of the most famous celebrity coupling of 2016, Tom Hiddleston has at last broken his silence about his experience as part of the short-lived cultural phenomenon known as ‘Hiddleswift’, insisting that his romance with Taylor Swift was “real”.

‘The Night Manager’ actor, 35, had nothing but praise for pop megastar Swift, saying that her long-standing reputation as something of a man-eater is not deserved, although their relationship only lasted a little over three months.

“Taylor is an amazing woman. She’s generous and kind and lovely, and we had the best time. Of course it was real,” Hiddleston told the newest edition of GQ magazine.

Tom HiddlestonTom Hiddleston at the 2017 Golden Globes

He also addressed the now-infamous ‘I Heart T.S.’ tank-top he was pictured wearing at Swift’s beach house as they celebrated the Fourth of July weekend, saying that he was surprised at how much attention and stick he got for it and that he only wore it as “a joke”, after he had injured his back.

“The truth is it was the Fourth of July and a public holiday and we were playing a game and I slipped and hurt my back,” he said. “And I wanted to protect the graze from the sun and said, ‘Does anyone have a T-shirt?’ And one of her [Swift’s] friends said, ‘I’ve got this’ and we all laughed about it. It was a joke.”

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Swift started dating him just a few weeks after she ended a 15-month relationship with electronic artist Calvin Harris. Hiddleston, rumoured in some quarters to be the next in line to play James Bond, said he now very much hopes the world will stop mocking him about that tank top now he has explained it. He may be being optimistic on that one.

“I have to be so psychologically strong about not letting other people’s interpretations about my life affect my life,” he said, perhaps alluding to the stick he received from his Thor: Ragnarok co-stars as they filmed last year.

“A relationship exists between two people. We will always know what it was. The narratives that are out there altogether have been extrapolated from pictures that were taken without consent or permission, with no context… I’m still trying to work out a way of having a personal life and protecting it, but also without hiding.”

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