Zendaya Wants to Keep Tom Holland Relationship Private but Still 'Live My Life and Love the Person I Love'

"You can’t hide. That’s not fun either," the actress said of maintaining her private life while being in the spotlight

Zendaya is shedding light on how she balances her private life while being in the public eye.

The Challengers actress, 26, is Elle's September cover star, and in her accompanying interview, she was asked about public interest in her relationship with Tom Holland and how her fans view them as a couple.

“Parts of my life, I accept, are going to be public,” Zendaya said. “I can’t not be a person and live my life and love the person I love."

"But also, I do have control over what I choose to share," she continued. "It’s about protecting the peace and letting things be your own but also not being afraid to exist. You can’t hide. That’s not fun either. I am navigating it more than ever now.”

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<p>ELLE Magazine/ Steven Klein</p> Zendaya for <em>Elle</em>'s September 2023 issue

ELLE Magazine/ Steven Klein

Zendaya for Elle's September 2023 issue

Related: Tom Holland Jokes He Has 'No Need for Rizz' Since He's 'Happy and in Love' with Zendaya

The Euphoria actress also recalled to Elle how she felt "a visceral change" in her level of fame and notoriety following season 2 of the HBO teen drama and Spider-Man: No Way Home, while she was filming Challengers in Boston in spring 2022.

“Before, I could get away with going places and getting in and out. But in Boston, I would end up going right back home because it was really overstimulating," she said. "Everybody would go hang out at a bar or something, and I’d be like, ‘I’d love to, but I think I could ruin everybody’s night. Because it’s just not going to be fun once I’m there.' "

Zendaya also told the magazine she once went to a store to buy a pillow, where fellow customers took photos of her at the cash register as she was "flustered," dealing with a credit card issue.

And during an outing in Italy a few weeks ago, while walking her dog Noon, “I had this idea of, like, I can walk around Venice. No, I can’t,” the actress said with a laugh. “I had to pick up his poo, and I was like, Lord, please, don’t take a picture of me picking up my dog’s s---."

"There’s a picture of me holding the bag, but thankfully they spared the grabbing and the putting-it-in-the-bag part," Zendaya added.

<p>ELLE Magazine/ Steven Klein</p> Zendaya on the cover of <em>Elle</em>'s September 2023 issue

ELLE Magazine/ Steven Klein

Zendaya on the cover of Elle's September 2023 issue

Related: Zendaya and Tom Holland's Relationship Timeline

Zendaya previously opened up about her fans' respect for her personal life in a cover interview for Vogue Italy's July 2022 issue, saying, "Many of them have grown with me and have watched me evolve in different parts of my life and career and with that, many of us being around the same age, have similar outlooks on life, similar thoughts or even just hopes and wishes for the future, whether it be for my career or the world."

She added that her fans are "really understanding that I’m human, even the hardcore ones, and they want me to be happy and I genuinely feel that from them. They're really respectful of my boundaries and the things that I choose to keep a little bit more private and keep for myself.”

Zendaya said while she's still "able to maintain a little bit of anonymity," it's nothing compared to her "pretty normal life" of the past. "Recently, I've had more of a change happening in regards to reactions when I meet people or how people interact with me on a daily basis," she said at the time.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Zendaya
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Zendaya

"Of course it comes with new sets of challenges and pressures, but I've been doing this for a long time, and I started when I was quite young," the Emmy winner told Vogue Italy. "So thankfully I've had a little bit of time to ease and grow my experience in a way that wasn't just completely an overnight change."

"I'm always adjusting to it and trying to be grateful for it all in the end, because it means that people are clearly resonating with the work that I'm doing, and that means a lot to me," she added.

Challengers is in theaters April 26, 2024.

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