You know him and love to hate him, onscreen, of course: Loki star Tom Hiddleston is back in action. Following his reprisal of the unhinged demigod on Disney+, the British actor is embracing yet another mythical storyline in the new Apple TV+ period drama The Essex Serpent. Behind the scenes, the Marvel actor’s love life is also ramping up after his recent engagement to fiancée and The Handmaid’s Tale actress Zawe Ashton.

We can only assume she’s supporting his latest role as William Ransome, a married vicar who strikes an unlikely friendship with the town’s newest arrival. In fact, Zawe, herself, will join Netflix’s upcoming Regency drama Mr. Malcolm’s List. What’s more, she’s also set to star as the supervillain in Captain Marvel 2 — talk about couple goals.

The pair had a palpable compatibility from the start: Tom reportedly met Zawe in 2019 while costarring in the London play Betrayal in which they portrayed a strained couple (oh, the irony). A source recently told People that the duo always had “lovely” chemistry together when working on the play.

Tom Hiddleston and Zawe Ashton in December 2021 in London.

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“Tom has always been a very, very private person,” the source said to the magazine. “Behind the scenes, they would just privately be affectionate and hugging and sitting next to each other and holding hands.” Shortly after Tom’s Broadway debut, the two sparked dating rumors when they were spotted attending the US Open together in September 2019.

“Tom really has fallen for Zawe in a big way,” a source told The Sun. “They now spend most weekends together and going for long walks with his dog. He thinks this could be the love of his life — he’s ready to settle down.”

Less than a year later, the newspaper reported that they had moved in with each other mid-quarantine in July 2020. “Tom and Zawe have stayed quiet about their relationship but she has spent the last few weeks with him in the US,” a source told the outlet. “They are very well suited and enjoy the quieter side of life away from the glitz and glamor 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 hiddleston and zawe ashton at the ee british academy film awards in march 2022

Stephane Cardinale – CorbisGetty Images

Tom and Zawe recently walked the red carpet together (that’s right, hand in-hand) at the 2022 BAFTA. Though her voluminous pink gown draped over her hands, a certain accessory on that finger made eagle-eyed fans squint. A few days later, TV presenter AJ Odudu posted a selfie with the duo on Instagram that revealed a large, oval-shaped diamond ring on Zawe’s hand. (Swipe to the second photo!) Though the pair have yet to publicly comment on their relationship, People confirmed their engagement in March.

Wedding bells may be ringing in the near future but we can expect the duo to keep their relationship low-key — and for good reason. Tom has previously spoken about how his public dating history taught him to guard his private life. “Everyone is entitled to a private life,” he told The Telegraph in 2017. “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.”

The Avengers actor reaffirmed those thoughts two years later when he and Zawe starred opposite one another on Broadway. “I’m protective about my internal world now in probably a different way,” Tom told The New York Times in 2019. “If you go through life without connecting to people, how much could you call that a life? Because you have to fight for love. You can’t live in fear of what people might say.”

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