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Tom Hiddleston Talks Taylor Swift & Maintains That Their Relationship Was Real

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Remember "Hiddleswift"? Just kidding — that was a trick question, because you'd have to be hiding under a whole pile of rocks last year in order to miss Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston's short-lived, globe-hopping fling. It was so well publicized and such a whirlwind that many wondered whether the relationship was just a manufactured distraction. But in a GQ cover story published on Wednesday, Tom Hiddleston talked about Taylor Swift and insisted his relationship with the 1989 star was the real deal.

There were several reasons why people may have doubted the veracity of Swift and Hiddleston's relationship, of course. Swift had just gotten a heavy dose of bad publicity: She had seemingly lashed out at Kanye West for his lyrics about her in Famous, only to have Kim Kardashian share videos of Swift and West amicably discussing the lyrics before the song was released. Hiddleston, a British actor breaking into the American scene, could use the publicity of a dalliance with 2016's biggest pop star. Why not craft a three-month relationship concocted of meet-and-greets with their parents, plenty of travel, and romantic kisses on the beach?

But that's just not accurate, according to Hiddleston. "Of course it was real," Hiddleston told GQ of his relationship with Swift. "Taylor is an amazing woman. ... She’s generous and kind and lovely, and we had the best time."

His relationship with Swift was, of course, subject to media and the public's interpretations — and that wasn't easy. Hiddleston told GQ:

I have to be so psychologically strong about not letting other people’s interpretations about my life affect my life. 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. Nobody had the context for that story. And I’m still trying to work out a way of having a personal life and protecting it, but also without hiding.

Hiddleston also insisted that the "I [heart] T.S." tank top he was wearing was just a joke, the result of a friend lending him a t-shirt during Swift's July 4 party. "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. And I wanted to protect the graze from the sun and said, ’Does anyone have a T-shirt?’ And one of her friends said, ’I’ve got this,'" he told GQ. "We all laughed about it. It was a joke."

Throughout the interview, Hiddleston maintained that the relationship was real — and had nothing but praise for Swift. "I only know the woman I met. She’s incredible," he said. "A relationship in the limelight… A relationship always takes work. A relationship in the limelight takes work."

It sounds like Hiddleston has done plenty of reflection and approached the break-up with maturity. I doubt we'll ever know exactly what went down between Swift and Hiddleston, and some people will probably always remain convinced that Hiddleswift was a publicity stunt. However, the relationship gave the world a brief respite from an otherwise hectic news year, so whether the love was truly there or not, I'll remain thankful for their brief summer love.