- Tom Holland and Zendaya star as Peter and MJ in Marvel’s current “Spider-Man” franchise.
- The two stars have spoken about their friendship over the years and denied relationship rumors.
- In July 2021, they were photographed kissing in a car in California.
The two stars first shared the screen together in Sony and Marvel’s 2017 movie “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” with Holland portraying the titular webslinger and Zendaya starring as MJ. Over the years, they’ve spoken fondly about their friendship, while also dodging romance rumors.
Here’s a complete timeline of their relationship.
Holland and Zendaya met during her audition process for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’
Holland had already been cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man back in 2015, after doing multiple auditions around the world. He would go on to make his Marvel debut in “Captain America: Civil War,” released in May 2016.
In March 2016, it was reported that Zendaya would join him in “Homecoming.”
“My first meeting with Zendaya was very embarrassing, actually, for me,” Holland recalled during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, explaining that it “wasn’t my smoothest moment.”
Zendaya recalled their chemistry read differently, telling Variety in 2017: “He says when we first met it was super awkward because he went for a handshake and I went for a hug. But I don’t remember that. I thought it was cool.”
The actress did say that she was “worried” because Holland is “so much shorter” than her, but the audition was done with the stars sitting down, so it went well.
Holland also told THR that he “didn’t really know what to expect with Zendaya,” but was relieved when he met her.
“I was so surprised and so happy she’s one of the most professional, hardworking people I’ve ever met in my life,” he said. “We were at the screen tests for ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and we did the first scene together and I think the producers cast her like then. Before she even left the room, they knew that she was going to play her character.”
The feelings were mutual, with Zendaya telling THR: “He’s so nice, he’s one of the nicest people I think I’ve ever met. He’s a good dude and so it’s really good to see good things going on for a good person.”
July 10, 2016: Holland posted his first photo with Zendaya on Instagram
“Summer Sunday’s,” he captioned the photo, which showed him, Zendaya, and another person in a pool.
July 23, 2016: Holland and Zendaya attended their first red carpet together at San Diego Comic-Con
The two stars, as well as other “Homecoming” cast members, were present for Marvel’s panel at the San Diego Convention Center. First-look footage from “Homecoming” was shown at the panel and the actors teased what fans could expect from the movie.
Holland posted a photo of himself, Laura Harrier (Liz), Tony Revolori (Flash Thompson), Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds), and Zendaya on stage with the caption: “Team Spidey ❤️ #spidermanhomecoming #comiccon.”
He also shared a video with the cast, with the caption: “What a crazy weekend its been. Blessed to be able to share it with these beautiful people 😘. Love you guys. Thank you thank you thank you #spidermanhomecoming #comiccon.”
Zendaya shared a group photo taken by Entertainment Weekly and wrote: “Couldn’t be more thankful and excited to be on this journey with these people…love y’all! #spideycrew #weinhere.”
November 2016: Holland and Zendaya appeared in their first-ever joint cover, for The Hollywood Reporter
Zendaya shared a photo of the magazine cover on Instagram and wrote: “Amidst all the chaos and sadness…this one good thing did happen to me today. Honored to share it with the very best…Spider-Man himself @tomholland2013.”
She also called them the “dream team” in another Instagram post, while Holland wrote: “Over the moon with my first cover. So grateful that I got to share it with the one and only @zendaya. Thanks mate for helping me out.”
Holland, in costume, surprised patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and Zendaya called him ‘world’s best real-life Spider-Man’
Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon visited together, as seen in videos that were posted on social media.
“What a beautiful day at the @nyphospital. Thank you so much for having us and making this happen. Always love being back with the squad @Zendaya and @lifeisaloha,” Holland wrote.
Zendaya shared the same video, with the caption: “I think we have world’s best real-life Spider-Man….an absolutely beautiful day at @nyphospital with two of my favorite people @tomholland2013 @lifeisaloha.”
May 7, 2017: Holland and Zendaya’s now-iconic ‘Lip Sync Battle’ aired on MTV and cemented its place in pop culture
Zendaya knocked out her performance of Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic.” But it was Holland’s sensational, jaw-dropping mashup of Gene Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella” that stole the show.
“I just knew that at that point in my life, no one really knew who I was,” Holland told Esquire. “And I was doing this show with Zendaya, who is obviously incredibly famous, and I was really nervous about being this random guy who everyone was like, ‘Who is this person? Why are you on the stage?'”
He added: “So I just thought to myself like, I’m going to have to just do something incredibly bold, and if they watch it and don’t know who I am, they’ll still be entertained by it.”
“I get more compliments on the lip sync battle than I do for any of my actual work, ever, to the point where now I’m over it,” Holland said in his 2019 Wired autocomplete interview.
The actor later told Esquire that it was the most nerve-wracking thing he’s ever done and he wouldn’t do it again.
“It was amazing that I got to do it with Zendaya and yes, she did go there to have some fun and yes, I did go there to destroy,” he said. “But oh my god, that was easily the most stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Meanwhile, Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly that she and Holland are “very competitive with everything” because of their battle.
“I feel like now I have to beat him in everything else in life because that specific moment happened,” she said.
May 7, 2017: Holland and Zendaya attended the MTV Movie & TV Awards and shared a new teaser for ‘Homecoming’
June 1, 2017: Zendaya called Holland a ‘great a– human being’ in a post shared on his 21st birthday
The “Greatest Showman” star posted an outtake from a photoshoot with their “Homecoming” costars, which showed Zendaya mockingly striking a Spidey pose.
“As usual…making fun of Tom,” she wrote, adding, “Happy birthday man, you’re a great a– human being and deserve every bit of the amazing stuff coming your way.”
June 2017: They embarked on the press tour for ‘Homecoming’
“Everyone deserves a hype man like @tomholland2013 #hewillsmithedus,” Zendaya captioned a photo of Holland extending his arms toward her and “Homecoming” director Jon Watts.
July 7, 2017: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ was released in theaters
Zendaya’s character wasn’t prominent in the movie, though she’d pop up in scenes to deliver one-liners typically directed at Peter.
The main love story of the movie centered around Peter and Liz, the captain of their school’s academic decathlon team and daughter of Spidey villain Vulture (played by Michael Keaton).
July 2017: Holland jokingly called Zendaya his first celebrity crush, before admitting that it was actually Jennifer Aniston
“I loved her,” Holland told PopBuzz, admitting that he crushed on Aniston during her time as Rachel Green on “Friends.”
July 2017: Holland called him and Zendaya the ‘best of friends’
“We are like the best of friends. She’s so great and amazing,” Holland told People prior to the release of “Homecoming.”
“I’m a little worried [about dealing with fame … but] Zendaya is super famous and she’s been through this and I just call her up and say, ‘How do I manage being famous?’ I’m very glad I have a friend like her,” he added.
July 13, 2017: People reported that Holland and Zendaya were dating, but the stars swiftly denied it
“They started seeing each other while they were filming ‘Spider-Man,'” an anonymous source told People. “They’ve 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.”
The actors then took to Twitter to joke about the report.
“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 ???” Zendaya tweeted at the time.
In response, Holland said: “@Zendaya Does the press tour count ??”
August 2017: Zendaya shut down romance speculation during an interview with Variety
“We are friends,” she said. “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.”
September 1, 2017: Holland shared a post on Instagram in honor of Zendaya’s 21st birthday
“Thinking about how to get taller 😂 Happy birthday mate. Miss you and I’ll have a drink for you. #21stbirthday,” he captioned two images of them standing together while in character as Peter and MJ during a photoshoot.
December 16, 2017: Page Six reported that Holland ‘charmed’ Zendaya’s parents during an outing
Onlookers told the publication that the British actor “charmed her parents” while at Bobby Van’s Central Park South.
March 4, 2018: They attended the 90th Academy Awards and sat together
Eagle-eyed fans spotted them sitting next to each other during the show, which was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
May 2018: Holland applauded ‘queen’ Zendaya’s Met Gala outfit
June 1, 2018: Zendaya shared a silly video of Holland in honor of his 22nd birthday
“Happy birthday loser… @tomholland2013,” she captioned a video, which showed Holland fighting Batalon with a lightsaber before falling to the ground in laughter.
September 1, 2018: Holland shared a sweet post for Zendaya’s birthday
The “Cherry” star posted a photo of himself, Zendaya, and a person dressed as Spider-Man with the caption: “Me, myself and the birthday girl. Happy birthday mate – keep killing it and paving the way for the rest of us.”
May 9, 2019: Holland posted a photo on Instagram that was taken during the press tour for ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home,’ but all anyone could talk about was the placement of Zendaya’s tag
The photo of Holland, Zendaya, and Batalon was taken at Disneyland, and the British actor put Zendaya’s Instagram handle tag over his groin.
Zendaya called him out, writing: “I’m assuming because you don’t know how to work ig, that’s the reasoning behind my name placement.”
In response, Holland moved the tag and wrote, “Thanks @zendaya for making me aware of my obvious blunder.”
Fans were quick to speculate that it was an intentional move on Holland’s part, but Zendaya tweeted that he’s “just Instagram stupid.”
Holland later told British GQ that the moment was “so funny” and “was obviously a mistake.”
June 1, 2019: Zendaya called Holland a ‘wonderful person’ in a post shared for his 23rd birthday
“Happy birthday weirdo, thanks for being the wonderful person you are, we’re all very lucky to have you and your weirdness,” she captioned a selfie with Holland, Batalon, and her assistant named Darnell Appling.
June 2019: Holland and Zendaya admitted that it’s bothersome that fans want them to date in real life
“It’s a little annoying, yeah,” Holland told Entertainment Tonight Canada.
“But it kinda comes with the territory,” Zendaya added. “We kinda know what we signed up for, a little bit.”
June 2019: Holland told Elle magazine that he’s single
In the interview, which was conducted as part of the July 2019 issue, the actor said that he’s “definitely a relationship person.”
“I’m not the fleeting type at all; it’s not my way of life,” he said.
July 2, 2019: ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ released in theaters
Peter and MJ’s relationship blossomed in the sequel, as they headed to Europe as part of a class trip.
Holland described their dynamic to ET Canada as “puppy love,” while Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly that it felt like a “natural progression of a 16-year-old’s relationship where you have a crush on somebody.”
“I think the cool part is that in this he likes her for all of her quirks and the weird things she’s into, the things that her whole life have made her a little bit of a loner,” she said. “I think he’s a little bit of a loner too, and that’s why they find that connection.”
September 1, 2019: Holland wished his costar a happy birthday
“The birthday girl! 🥳 hope you’re having an amazing day,” he captioned a photo of the pair that was taken at the Empire State Building during the press tour for “Far From Home.”
February 2019: Zendaya praised Holland’s performance in the movie ‘Cherry’
In a departure from his role as a lovable, goofy webslinger, Holland portrayed a drug addict and army veteran in the film “Cherry.”
Zendaya told Esquire that she watched a screener of the film while on set with Holland and was “super impressed.”
“It’s very hard to watch, because you’re like, ‘Dang, that’s my friend and I’m seeing him every day as Peter Parker.’ It’s brutal. But he took on the challenge beautifully,” she said.
“Once people get to see this version of Tom Holland, what’s next?” Zendaya continued. “Sky’s the limit.”
February 2021: Holland named Zendaya as one of his biggest mentors
In an interview with Backstage, the actor said that he, Zendaya, and Batalon “all became best mates” when they filmed the first “Spider-Man” movie.
“She was so helpful in the process of my life changing, because not only are you making big films and you’re traveling the world, but everyone starts to know who you are. And you have to behave differently,” he explained. “You have a responsibility to kind of uphold this idea of being a role model to young kids. And, arguably, she’s the best at that.”
Holland called Zendaya, who rose to fame through her starring role on the Disney Channel show “Shake It Up,” as “the perfect person.”
“It was so wonderful to have someone like her in my corner, to help me grow through that process,” he said.
Holland said that specifically, his costar taught him to be nice about taking photos with fans as he became more popular, which “made that whole process so much nicer.”
“Having her as a friend has been so valuable to the success and happiness of my career and life,” he said.
March 2021: Holland described Zendaya as ‘very sensible and humble’
“She’s got a good head on her shoulders and she’s very sensible and humble,” he told MTV News. “And I think she recognizes how much she’s helped me over the years.”
He continued: “Having someone like her in my corner who is the same age as me, who’s been through it before at a much much higher level was really really helpful because the moments when I would panic and go ‘I don’t know if I want to do this anymore, I don’t think this is what I want in life,’ she was always there to kind of help me through those times of trouble.
He also gushed about Zendaya’s performance in the film “Malcolm & Marie,” saying: “I was so proud of her and you could tell that it was a real passion project for her and she was really really proud of it when she showed it to us. And it was just really nice to see that side of her.”
April 2021: Holland reiterated how valuable Zendaya was been in helping him navigate fame and spoke about how ‘frustrating’ it can be when people link him romantically to costars
Holland told British GQ that he “used to come across sometimes as a bit of a d— to fans, mainly as I was always so surprised that they’d want a picture with me or signature or whatever.” When Zendaya noticed, she gave him advice that “totally changed the way I am able to be more comfortable in public.”
The “Chaos Walking” star also said that it’s “incredibly frustrating” when people speculate about his love life.
“It’s very nerve-racking,” he said. “It means that if you are dating someone, you have to be really conscious of their feelings, because if something does happen between the two of you, it’s not just happening between the two of you, it’s happening in front of the entire world. And it can be very complicated. It’s one of the things I worry about most, of all the things in my career.”
June 1, 2021: Zendaya posted a black-and-white photo of Holland on his birthday
“Pretty glad you were born…happy birthday @tomholland2013,” she captioned the photo, which showed Holland wearing a face mask and clear shield while showing his middle finger.
July 1, 2021: The stars were photographed kissing after years of dating rumors
They were reportedly photographed at a red light in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, where Zendaya’s mother lives. Additional photos posted by Page Six showed Holland and Zendaya walking out of a home with her mom, Claire Stoermer.
Photos later published by TMZ and People showed Holland and Zendaya dining at a Thai eatery the day before they were photographed kissing. According to Daily Mail UK, they also spent the 4th of July weekend together in Santa Barbara.
Meanwhile, Zendaya was last linked to her “Euphoria” costar Jacob Elordi and the two were seen kissing in New York City in February 2020. By September of that year, the pair’s apparent romantic relationship ended, and Elordi is now dating model Kaia Gerber.
July 2021: Zendaya said that it was ‘special’ for her and her ‘Spider-Man’ costars to mature together
“It’s pretty special to have grown up all together,” she said in an interview for E News’ “Daily Pop.”
Zendaya said that “it was so much fun” filming the upcoming third “Spider-Man” movie. But it’s also “kind of bittersweet” because she’s not sure if they’ll get to star in another installment together.
“Normally you do three movies and that’s pretty much it,” she said.
July 23, 2021: An anonymous source told Us Weekly that Holland and Zendaya ‘challenge each other and balance each other out’
“Zendaya and Tom started off as really great friends and stayed that way for a long while before things turned romantic,” the source said.
The source also said that Holland “makes her laugh,” while Zendaya “really helps guide him through the world of celebrity.”
August 2021: They attended a wedding together in California
An attendee named Esteban Camarillo posted a group photo on his Instagram story, which showed Zendaya leaning her head on Holland. Fan accounts for Holland also reposted additional photos and videos that showed them dancing and posing together at the event.
August 28, 2021: Zendaya seemingly reacted to a viral video compilation of her laughing hard at Holland’s comments during an interview
The video, which was reposted by Twitter user @youdoingtoomuch, compiled several moments from the “Far From Home” cast’s 2019 “Kimmel” interview.
“Naurrrrr why is Zendaya laughing so hard omg my sister got it bad for Tom,” the person tweeted.
The tweet received more than 130,000 likes and 15,000 retweets.
Shortly after, Zendaya tweeted a GIF of a man similarly laughing hard.
—Zendaya (@Zendaya) August 28, 2021
September 1, 2021: Holland called Zendaya ‘My MJ’ in a post for her 25th birthday
“My MJ, have the happiest of birthdays. Gimme a call when your up xxx,” he captioned a mirror selfie taken by Zendaya that showed him dressed as the webslinger, presumably in a trailer on the set of the “Spider-Man.”
October 2021: Zendaya said that she appreciates Holland’s work ethic and called him ‘very charismatic’
In the November 2021 cover of InStyle, released the month prior, Zendaya said that from the perspective of an actor, she appreciates that Holland “really loves being Spider-Man.”
“It’s a lot of pressure — you take on the role of a superhero wherever you go. To the little kid who walks by, you are Spider-Man,” the “Dune” actress said. “I think he handled that so well. And seeing him at work, even though he’s not a Virgo, he is a perfectionist.”
Zendaya also said that it was “cool to see how he cares so much about his work and making it right.”
“I watched him do a fight scene all day, which is exhausting,” she recalled. “He’d do a move, come back to the monitors, watch it, and say, ‘I can do that better.’ I’d be like, ‘Dude, you got it.’ But he wants us to be perfect, and I really appreciate that.”
“He’s a fun time,” Zendaya said of her costar. “Very charismatic, can make anybody feel comfortable and have a good laugh and a good chat.”
Holland and Zendaya will reunite as Peter and MJ when ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is released in theaters
The film, out on December 17, will show the couple navigating their relationship now that the whole world knows about Peter’s secret identity. The movie will also explore the multiverse and bring back popular villains from past live-action “Spider-Man” franchises.