Taylor Swift is in love with love. The self–described hopeless romantic “dives headfirst into relationships,” a close Swift insider tells the new issue of Us Weekly. She admitted as much when speaking to Parade a few years back. “I don’t think there’s an option for me to fall in love slowly, or at medium speed,” she explained. “I either do or I don’t.” Her all-in approach means that once she clicks with a guy, she ignores potential pitfalls. “I don’t think it through, really, which is a good thing and a bad thing,” the pop star told the magazine. “You don’t look before you leap, which is like, Yay, this is awesome! Let’s not think twice!” When the relationship begins to unravel, however, the second-guessing kicks in. As Swift summed it up, “You’re like, ‘We used to be flying. Now we’re falling. What’s happening?’”
Her heart is crashing back to Earth once more. Multiple sources confirm the 26-year-old Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, native has ended her 12-week whirlwind romance with actor Tom Hiddleston. And the end came, well, as swiftly as its start. Just two months ago, says a Hiddleston friend, the 35-year-old London-born star — beloved for his role as Thor’s evil brother, Loki, in the Thor and Avengers films — was contemplating buying a ring for the 10-time Grammy winner. “He’s talked about all of it: marriage and kids,” the friend told Us at the time. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he proposed.” Indeed, the twosome flew back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean to introduce each other to their parents within days of their June 14 first date and swapped I love you’s before their one-month anniversary.
But it was too much, too fast. “It was an intense start,” says a Hiddleston family source. “No one can keep that kind of momentum going.” Echoes the close Swift insider, “They just dived in and it backfired.” Slowing the relationship down failed to save it, explains the insider: “They decided to take a break and it turned into a breakup.”
The space between them caused a chasm. After spending the early weeks of their romance together 24/7 — traveling from Nashville to England to Italy — the fledgling duo struggled when Hiddleston reported to Australia in early July to film Thor: Ragnarok. Though Swift — unfettered by work commitments, having wrapped her record–breaking 1989 World Tour last December — joined him at first, once she flew back home, “the distance was hard,” notes another close Swift source. “Especially because they were together every minute when they started dating. They’d gotten used to that.”
Weeks into long-distance love, their frustrations began boiling over, resulting in their first big blowout in early August. “It was a major argument,” confirms a source. “They fought about not spending enough time together.”
The spotlight on their union was also a source of strain. Within hours of being photographed making out near her seven-bedroom Westerly, Rhode Island, spread (just weeks after her split from Scottish EDM DJ Calvin Harris, 32), the two had been dubbed “HiddleSwift” by fans who eagerly tracked their every move. Well versed in public romance (see: her dalliances with Jake Gyllenhaal and Harry Styles), Swift suggested they fly under the radar. (After all, as she joked to Vanity Fair last year of relationships, “I usually don’t make the same mistake twice. I make new ones, but I don’t usually repeat my old ones.”)
Explains a source close to the couple, “Taylor knew the backlash that comes with public displays of affection. But Tom didn’t listen to her concerns when she brought them up.” Instead, a madly-in-love Hiddleston boldly donned an I [heart] t.s. tank and a temporary heart tattoo emblazoned with the letter T at her annual 4th of July bash. Days later, he gushed to The Hollywood Reporter that he and Swift “are together and we’re very happy.”
Hiddleston’s declarations stunned family members. “The paparazzi photos, the public displays of affection, they all seemed very un-Tom,” a Hiddleston family source says of the actor, who never confirmed his 2015 romance with I Saw the Light costar Elizabeth Olsen in the press.
They also concerned Swift. “Tom wanted the relationship to be more public than she was comfortable with,” says the Swift source. Though the pair tried to work out their issues — texting and speaking on the phone regularly, as well as convening at her Rhode Island home for two days in mid-August — Swift realized she needed to take a step back. Explains the source, “She was the one to put the brakes on the relationship. They get along great and will remain friends, but they just don’t see it working romantically right now.”
The revelation crushed Hiddleston, leaving the Eton- and Cambridge-educated star “embarrassed that the relationship fizzled out,” says the source close to the couple. Swift is also dismayed at the prospect of enduring yet another public breakup. Although the insider says Swift “doesn’t regret” allowing herself to be wooed by Hiddleston (he even sent flowers before their first date!), she wishes their early days could have been spent in private. “I think she feels a little embarrassed that the whole world saw them so serious and now it’s over,” notes the insider.
Still, the pop star — famous for turning failed romances into hit records — knows how to shake off a split. The insider says she has been spending time at her homes in Nashville, New York City and Rhode Island, hanging out with her parents, stockbroker dad Scott and former finance-exec mom Andrea. (She also reported for jury duty and was excused from a rape case August 29.) “She’s doing OK — just living her life and not talking about Tom,” says the insider, adding that, yes, “she’s been writing a bunch.”
Hiddleston is not writing off the singer just yet. The strapping 6-foot-2 star has a history of laying it all on the line for love — he once told a Russian website that he skipped a key audition to surprise his college girlfriend in Paris — and the family source predicts he will try to rewin Swift’s heart. “He’s in Oz now for Thor,” says the source, “so he’s got some time to figure out what he wants.” Swift is contemplating their future as well. Says the insider, “They could get back together when Tom is done filming and comes back to the States. It’s possible they will see each other and make it work. She had an amazing time with him.”
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