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The Taylor Swift Tank Top That Ruined Tom Hiddleston’s 2016 Didn’t Even Belong to Him

You’ve gotta feel for Tom Hiddleston a little bit: In the last few years, he’s appeared in Thor, The Avengers, Midnight in Paris, High-Rise, and so on, but he’s still best known to you and me as one half of history’s most irritating portmanteau, as the guy who dated Taylor Swift for three months last year before the lonely Starbucks lovers went their separate ways. And on top of that, their entire relationship–full of many meaningful gazes, long walks, and lovely glasses of chardonnay, we’re sure–has been reduced in the public mind to a single soggy shirt.

Rewind, for a moment, to the heady days of June 2016. The weather was warm, the garish authoritarian carnival that was the Republican National Convention was still a month away, not to mention the inauguration and our 45th presidency, and Hiddleswift hadn’t yet been cleaved into its constituent parts. We were happier then, and so was Tom Hiddleston, and he had the tank top to prove it. It read “I ♥ T.S.,” and it clung to his well-defined abs at a Fourth of July party hosted by the object of his ♥.

In retrospect, we were all a little naive back then, Hiddleston included, and that tank top came to be seen as a symbol of everything cheeseball and overly earnest about the handsome British movie star, making appearances at all of the internet’s hubs for celebrity gossip. But according to Hiddleston, the shirt didn’t even belong to him.

Hiddleston was profiled in the latest issue of GQ, and a third of the piece or so is devoted to his relationship and breakup with Swift. Over dinner with the reporter, he spoke pensively about how he came to be wearing the shirt.

“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.’ ” The friend pulled out the “I ♥ T.S.” tank top that Taylor’s friends are contractually obligated to own. “And we all laughed about it. It was a joke.”

So that’s his statement on the entire relationship: an explanation of the tank top. “It was a joke,” he repeats. “Among friends.”

It was just a joke among friends, and in a way, it still is–if you include the entire internet in your definition of “friends.” Read the rest of the profile here.