Zawe Ashton: who is Tom Hiddleston’s girlfriend, are they engaged - and how long have they been together?
The Fresh Meat star is set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2023By Rhona ShennanFriday, 18th March 2022, 11:43 am
Actor Tom Hiddleston, known for starring in the likes of Loki, Thor, The Night Manager, The Hollow Crown, War Horse and more likes his personal relationships out of the limelight, after he briefly dated Taylor Swift in 2016.
However fans of the actor have been given a glimpse into his private life, following reports of an engagement between Hiddleston and his actress girlfriend Zawe Ashton.
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This is what you need to know.
Who is Zawe Ashton?
Ashton, born Zawedde “Zawe” Ashton, is best known as an English actress, playwright and director.
Born on 25 July 1984, the 37-year-old is the eldest of three children born to Ugandan mother Victoria and English father Paul.
Ashton’s mother moved to the UK as a teenager and went on to become a teacher, teaching design and technology, a profession that her father shared before going on to for Channel 4 in educational programming.
Her grandfather, Paulo Muwanga, briefly served as both the Ugandan President and Prime Minister.
She grew up in Stoke Newington, in north London, and attended the Anna Scher Theatre School from the time she was six.
Talking about the Anna Scher classes in an interview with theGuardian, Ashton said that she was taken there to “burn off some energy” and instantly loved it.
She said: “It is very odd to be a very tiny person and know what you want to do.”
Ashton took a year off before heading to university to take care of her mum who, at the time, had been diagnosed with cancer. She eventually went to the Manchester School of Theatre to earn her degree in acting.
What films and TV shows has she been in?
Throughout the course of her acting career, Ashton has starred in a number of on screen roles that you might recognise her from, including:
In February of last year it was announced that Ashton would be joining The Marvels, an upcoming Marvel film based around the characters of Captain Marvel and Ms Marvel, as a villain. The film is set to be released in February of 2023.
As well as film and TV, Ashton has a well established theatre career, having appeared in Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Othello at the Globe Theatre, This Wide Night at the Soho Theatre, The Maids at Trafalgar Studios and Rhinoceros, The Arsonists, Gone Too Far! At the Royal Court.
In 2010, Ashton bagged the second prize at the Ian Charleson Awards for her performance in Salome at the Headlong Theatre.
If you don’t recognise Ashton’s face, you might recognise her voice - she has narrated things like 24 Hours in Police Custody and Public Enemies: Jay-Z vs Kanye.
Outside of acting, Ashton is also an established playwright, having written plays such as Harm’s Way, Skunk, She from the Sea and For all the Women Who Thought They Were Mad.
In 2019, she published her first book, titled Character Breakdown, which is a fictionalised memoir based on her experiences as an actress.
When did she and Tom Hiddleston get engaged?
Rumours of their engagement were sparked after Ashton was seen with a ring on her wedding finder at the 2022 Bafta Awards, which she attended with Hiddleston.
The photo with the ring was posted on AJ Odudu’s Instagram story, where Odudu, Ashton and Hiddleston all posed for a selfie.
OutletPeopleconfirmed the reports of their engagement on Thursday (17 March), however representatives for the two stars have declined to comment on the status of their relationship.
Ashton and Hiddleston’s relationship has largely been kept quiet, with the two generally not talking about their private life together.
Talking to theTelegraphin 2017, Hiddleston said that “everyone is entitled to a private life” when asked why he doesn’t talk publicly about his romantic relationships.
He said: “I love what I do and I dedicate myself with absolute commitment to making great art and great entertainment, and in my mind I don’t conflict the two.
“My work is in the public sphere and I have a private life. And those two things are separate.”
How long have they been together?
Hiddleston and Ashton have been together for three years, after having met on Broadway as they starred in Betrayal together at the Harold Pinter Theatre in August 2019.
Relationship rumours first started circulating when, that same month, they were seen together at the US Open Tennis Grand Slam together.
A source close to the theatre production that the two were starring in reportedly toldPeoplein March 2022 that they always had “lovely” chemistry together.
They said: “They were very private publicly, but behind the scenes you could just see a lovely chemistry.
“There were twinkles in both of their eyes, and the entire company, including [Betrayal co-star] Charlie Cox, were all very close.”
They added: “Tom has always been a very, very private person. Behind the scenes, they would just privately be affectionate and hugging and sitting next to each other and holding hands.”
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Zawe reportedly travelled to Atlanta to stick out lockdown with Hiddleston.
Hiddleton had settled in Atlanta at the beginning of 2020 to shoot his Disney+ series Loki.
A source reportedly told theSun: “Tom and Zawe have stayed quiet about their relationship but she has spent the last few weeks with him in the US.
“They are very well suited and enjoy the quieter side of life away from the glitz and glamour of the showbiz world.
“Their lives are typically very busy, so spending time together while not working has been something they have both embraced.
“Tom has made a home in Atlanta during lockdown and he is expecting to spend the rest of the year there.”
In September 2021, the couple were caught engaging in a rare public display of affection, when paparazzi photographed them kissing whilst on a holiday together in Spain.
Two years after dating rumours were first sparked, the couple made their red carpet debut together at the Tony Awards 2021, where Hiddleston was nominated for best leading actor for Betrayal.
Then earlier this month, Hiddleston and Ashton appeared together once again for the 2022 Baftas in London.
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