Who Is Tom Hiddleston's Fiancee, Zawe Ashton?

Apropos for someone portraying the God of Mischief, Disney+ "Loki" star Tom Hiddleston mixed business with pleasure when it came to former West End co-star Zawe Ashton. After sharing the stage in 2019's London production of "Betrayal," Hiddleston and Ashton were rumored to have been cohabiting by July 2020, per The Sun. Heading to Atlanta, Georgia in March 2020 to film "Loki" right before lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic halted production, Hiddleston remained there before picking up filming in September 2020, per Screen Rant

Per The Sun's source, Ashton visited him during this downtime. "Their lives are typically very busy, so spending time together while not working has been ­something they have both embraced," the insider told the publication, contradicting denials from Hiddleston's friends of the romance. This wouldn't be the first time Hiddleston's been accused of entangling romantically with co-stars. Hiddleston and his "I Saw the Light" and fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe co-star, "WandaVision" actor Elizabeth Olsen, have been enthusiastically linked by fans in the past.

Given the public scrutiny Hiddleston faced following his whirlwind 2016 relationship with Taylor Swift and its dissolution, it's understandable why he kept his status under wraps with Ashton. That is, until People confirmed the couple was engaged in March after Ashton donned a rock on her ring finger next to her man at the 2022 BAFTAs. Breaking his silence about the engagement, Hiddleston told the LA Times in June, "I'm very happy." But who exactly is Hiddleston's fiancee? Let's learn a bit more about her together. 

Zawe Ashton will join her future husband in the MCU

Not only is Zawe Ashton an actor of stage and screen, but she also claims the titles of writer and director. In addition to penning and directing two 2014 shorts — one of which starred such famous faces like "Lucifer" star Tom Ellis — Ashton is also a playwright. According to a 2019 profile in The Guardian, her off-Broadway play, "For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad," tackled the impressively intricate issue of the relationship between Black women and psychiatric drugs. "It's essentially about people not believing in Black women's pain and letting them die," Ashton elaborated.

As a Black woman in the entertainment industry, Ashton also told the British publication that she didn't want to be perceived as a token of a movement such as #MeToo. "I'd like one of the cisgender Caucasian males to step up and be that face," she asserted. "I feel like I'm answering on behalf of them and they somehow get to remain blameless and free of public responsibility."

After acting in recurring guest roles in British TV shows and indies like Jake Gyllenhaal's 2019 art-world think piece, "Velvet Buzzsaw," Ashton hit cinematic pay dirt in 2021 with her casting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (where maybe-paramour Tom Hiddleston's "Loki" resides). In February 2021, Deadline announced Ashton's role as the main villain in the 2023 sequel to 2019's "Captain Marvel." Given the MCU's track record of turning stars into even bigger ones, Ashton will certainly be known for more than as anyone's token anything. 

Zawe Ashton started acting at a young age

Like many actors, Zawe Ashton got her start young, an advantage she credits to her devoted mother. "[My mother] was amazing and threw me into every hobby I asked to be part of, including signing me up for weekend drama classes," Ashton explained when speaking to Guru in 2011. "I was maybe five and a half, perhaps just six when I started [acting classes] and remember lying about my age," she continued. "That's the first top tip I can pass on."

Looking at her career now, Ashton is undoubtedly grateful for her mother's willingness to support her hobbies as a child. It would seem that after joining that acting class at such a young age she got bitten by the bug. From there, she continued to pursue acting but by the time she was in her 20s, Ashton tapped into another creative outlet: writing. 

Ashton has proven to be as gifted a writer as an actor. She landed a sixth month writers residency at the prestigious Contact Theatre in Manchester, and her first play "Harm's Way" premiered when she was just 22 in 2010, per Manchester Evening News. Ashton described the experience as a way "to bring poetry to settings and scenes that maybe it hasn't been experienced in before."

Zawe Ashton comes from a powerful family

Zawe Ashton has spoken at length about the role privilege plays in the world of acting. When speaking to The Guardian, she noted the pay disadvantage actors without a certain amount of wealth have when they take on passion projects, at least at first. It's indisputable that Ashton is a hard worker, but she'd likely be the first to admit she had a leg up in terms of social status. Though she was born and raised in the United Kingdom, Ashton's maternal grandfather Paulo Muwanga was, at different points, the president and prime minister of Uganda, per The Sun.

The momentous scope of Muwanga's life deeply impacted Ashton, not just in terms of social standing, but emotionally as well. "My grandad talked a lot about the decisions he'd made; the moments where you truly go about being the agent of change and revolution in your life," she told the Guardian. "Tiny moments, where you were present enough to have a deep connection with someone, even if it was fleeting. Those are the things that stay with you." 

Spending time with her grandfather in his final weeks of life put things into perspective for Ashton. She began to make an effort to dedicate her time to meaningful pursuits and connections outside of her career. "I've been acting for such a long time, since I was a child, and I was like, 'I need to make space really and truly for those things,'" she said. 

Zawe Ashton doubted her talent

Looking at her life now, it seems crazy that Zawe Ashton ever doubted her acting ability. After all, she's now engaged to a world famous actor and landing major roles herself. It turns out though, that Ashton was once riddled with doubt. The world of acting is essentially full of rejection. Actors are constantly auditioning, taking meetings, pitching why they'd be the perfect fit for whatever role, and ultimately losing it to someone else. Ashton's experience was very similar.  

"I'd got to a point where I wondered if acting was basically the worst medicine I should be taking for all of the symptoms I was experiencing in life," she told The Guardian. "It's like going to a doctor and them saying, 'What I think you should do is: be extremely aware of your face and body, move around constantly, have no fixed abode, and get lots of strangers to profess that they love you or hate you simultaneously.'" She added, "Who would write a prescription for acting?"

For Ashton, the worst part was the anxiety and constant rejection. Ashton is the first to admit that you have to develop a thick skin if you're going to get anywhere in the industry. "When you're riding on your highest wave you might also feel at your most disconnected," she explained to Guru in 2011. "You've got to have something inside you — I call it 'molten lava' — which you can then draw on in the hard times."