Actor Tom Hiddleston's relationship with Taylor Swift has been the subject of fascination, judgment and even semi-believable conspiracy theories alleging that the whole thing is staged. And according to an unconfirmed story from London tabloid The Mirror, it's also recently robbed the actor of the chance to be the face of a lucrative fashion campaign. But did it, though?

Hiddleston, who's currently Emmy-nominated for his work in The Night Manager, was reportedly on the shortlist for Italian fashion house Armani's next campaign. In a coincidence that's very...convenient for this rumor's story, Armani had previously tapped Taylor's ex Calvin Harris as their celebrity model, with photos of the DJ-producer in his underwear rolling out around this time last year.

But we won't get to see Hiddleston in Armani underwear now, if we were ever going to (you can comfort yourselves with these already-existing shots of Tom in his boxers from W Magazine back in June). Quoth an anonymous "U.S. fashion source" in the Mirror:

“Tom was on the shortlist as they examined who could take over from Calvin. Obviously with Tom now being Taylor’s other half and the Calvin past deal, it would generate huge media coverage and headlines. 

But Armani see themselves as classier than that and think that a rising sports star may suit their current needs better.

Armani would hate to be seen as getting PR for their brand by riding on Taylor Swift’s coat tails, so Tom will not get the job.”

Hmm, okay. That means that either:

  1. Tom was already being considered for the new campaign before leaked photos first showed him kissing Taylor back in June,
  2. Tom was considered more recently because he'd "replaced" Calvin as Taylor's love, and the shade of "replacing" Calvin with Tom in their campaign would garner headlines (this requires us to believe that a leading fashion house would make pivotal casting decisions within weeks of campaign kickoff), but then Armani decided that wouldn't be "classy,"
  3. Armani is punishing Tom for dating Taylor by passing him over, OR
  4. This story verges on fiction, and is the one actually punishing Tom for dating Taylor.

Whether it's true or not — again: it's currently hearsay unsubstantiated by Armani reps — to take delight in this story is, ultimately, to enjoy the idea of a celebrated and commercially successful actor being penalized for dating a woman who's built a more financially fruitful career than his (he's worth $20 million while Taylor's worth $250 million, according to Forbes).

Conversely, if you think their relationship is less than genuine, the point of gratification here is that lying liars/publicity-seekers get punished. ARE they liars, dating for show? While the leak of the first Tom and Taylor photos did just happen to land within 24 hours of the GQ story containing Kim Kardashian's first allegation that Kanye had recorded he and Taylor's "Famous" phone conversation, and the two DO seem to pick strangely public places to make out, it's all inconclusive. As Buzzfeed noted on August 1, there's been a sharp dropoff in public documentation of their love, but this could merely indicate that they're hiding out at home to snuff out some of the overexposure backlash.

Either way, the Mirror story's angle, of Tom suffering professional consequences for dating a hugely successful and currently-divisive woman — and any gleeful public reaction to it — may say more about all of us than it does about Hiddleston's career.

Hiddleswift: A Timeline of Their Extremely-Public Romance

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