11 Things You Never Knew About Tom Holland

Tom Holland is riding a pretty massive high these days. His newest movie, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" is smashing box office records, having made over one billion dollars worldwide and clocked in as the third-fastest movie to earn that honor (via CBC). However, Holland is handling the onslaught of fame, attention, and awards well, and is focused on staying true to the person he's always been.

Holland got his start when he was cast in a stage production of "Billy Elliot: The Musical" at the age of twelve. He spent years training for the role, after being approached to audition for the part when he was only nine. Holland dove into ballet training so he could be in peak condition, an experience that would end up coming in handy when he tried out for and won the role of Spider-Man in 2017 (via GQ).

Before he was cast as Peter Parker, Holland was on the brink of becoming a carpenter and leaving acting behind for good. To say that he's experienced a career comeback is an understatement; Holland's tremendous success has come down to his skills as an actor, his determination to succeed, and perhaps, his enthusiasm for the game of golf. Here are a few facts you might not know about Holland.

Tom Holland is a trained ballet dancer

Tom Holland was only twelve years old when he joined the cast of "Billy Elliot: The Musical" in 2008. The play, which was based on the 2000 film, follows the story of a young boy who is found to be skipping his boxing class to partake in a girls-only ballet class instead (per IMDB). Holland had been enrolled in dance classes for a few years at that point, and he ended up auditioning for the role after being discovered by a choreographer. One thing led to another, and Holland earned the title role (per GQ).

Holland later explained that while learning ballet had a profound impact on his life's direction, at the time he had to endure pretty severe bullying. As he told GQ in 2019, other students at school would often look in on his lessons, which took place at school during lunchtime. He shared, "To a bunch of 10-year-olds who all play rugby, Tom Holland doing ballet in the gym isn't that cool."

As an adult, Holland seems to have a healthy approach to looking back on the treatment he received from his classmates. He told the publication that dealing with bullies was just part of what he had to go through to get to where he is, and that learning ballet even influenced his turn as Spider-Man. He said, "For instance, in the Spider-Man suit, you often can't see his face. But I find a way to convey feeling anyway" (per GQ).

The actor is also a talented gymnast

The role of Spider-Man definitely requires a limber and flexible actor, as Spidey is often running, flipping, and flying all over New York City while nailing poses that many a yogi can only dream of pulling off. As such, it's really not a surprise that in addition to ballet, Tom Holland is a trained gymnast and parkour runner. 

In fact, Holland's gymnastics skills are a big part of the reason why he was cast as Spider-Man in the first place. Holland told the Associated Press (via Collider) that he chose to somersault into and out of the frame during his audition, assuming that it would be important to the crew that he had the ability to pull off at least a few physical moves. As it happens, he was right, which director Joe Russo confirmed to Entertainment Weekly.

Russo explained that Holland was just the best person for the job, saying, "He's also a dancer and a gymnast. He fits the part like you can't believe."

He had his first kiss backstage when he was in Billy Elliot

Winning the role of Billy Elliot in the musical version of the film impacted Tom Holland's life in a lot of ways, both professionally and personally. In fact, he even shared that he had his first kiss during the production! While chatting to Moviefone alongside "Spider-Man" costar Jacob Batalon, Holland confessed that he kissed a fellow actress during his Billy Elliot run on a dare.

Holland said that he has no regrets, because he was already head over heels. He explained that he was "dared by a friend because I was falling madly in love with her, but she had no interest in kissing me. She was dared to and I made out with her for all of three seconds and it was magical" (via YouTube). Holland also spoke about the moment with W Magazine, sharing in the same interview that his first movie star crush was on Emma Watson when she starred in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

Tom Holland is open about his dyslexia diagnosis

In December 2021, Tom Hollland participated in an interview with 11-year-old superstar reporter Jazlyn Guerra for her show, "Jazzy's World." Guerra asked Holland quite a few excellent questions, including one about how his diagnosis of dyslexia impacts his career. While discussing how he works through the challenge, Holland said, "It's just about taking your time. The better prepared you are for anything, the more you will be able to do and accomplish things that are fantastic" (via Entertainment Weekly).

The website Dyslexia Advantage has provided more details about Holland's diagnosis, sharing that he received it at the age of seven after being enrolled in a private school. While some people have come at the star online after he's made spelling or grammar mistakes, it seems that many fans know of his diagnosis. Holland himself even played on the diagnosis in 2019 on Jimmy Kimmel Live, when he attempted to spell Jake Gyllenhaal's last name and came up short.

He wasn't sure he would keep acting before landing "Spider-Man"

It's hard to believe now, given that Tom Holland has made several films in which he's played Spider-Man, but back in 2014 the would-be Marvel hero was in a bit of a career rut and unsure of whether or not he would continue to work as an actor at all. As he told GQ, he was going on audition after audition after filming the Ron Howard movie "In The Heart Of The Sea" and was feeling like it should be a piece of cake for him to get more work — but absolutely nothing was happening. 

Even though Holland felt like he would surely land something after all those auditions, the reality was that he wasn't approaching the work seriously enough. He says that his mom took action, telling her son that if acting wasn't going to work out, he needed a plan B. To that end, she signed him for classes at a carpentry school in England, owing to the fact that many of her male relatives were already carpenters and it seemed like the thing to do.

Holland tells the publication that he enjoyed the school a lot, though he did audition for four movies while enrolled. The very last audition was for a little movie called "Captain America: Civil War." As he shares, he was still in classes when he found out he won the spot, and the rest is history.

Tom Holland got a Spider-Man tattoo after landing the role

In 2017 Tom Holland revealed that he immortalized his "Spider-Man" role in a big way: he got the Spider-Man symbol tattooed on the bottom of his foot while in New York. Holland says he got his tattoo at celebrity favorite Bang Bang Tattoo in the city, and that he even had to have the tattoo inked in three separate times because the specific spot on his body meant the tattoo faded quickly. 

Holland told BackToTheMovies that getting the tattoo was a long-term goal. He said, "I always wanted to get that Spider-Man symbol on the bottom my foot, but I just never thought would ever get it done, and the opportunity came about" (via YouTube).

As far as anyone knows, his Spider-Man tattoo is the only one that Holland has committed permanently to his body. This is likely great news to his dad, who reportedly found out about his son's Spidey-themed tattoo from Twitter

He's one of four children

While Tom Holland certainly gets a lot of attention, it's worth noting that the actor is one of four children in his family — he has three brothers named Harry, Sam, and Paddy Holland, and Tom is the oldest of the crew. His brother Harry even had a role in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" that ended up being cut, a fact that Tom later delighted in while appearing on "The Graham Norton Show." 

While chatting on the show, Tom explained that Harry was cast as a burglar after Tom had complained to director Jon Watts about his younger brother's attitude. Tom had told his brother that he was exhausted after filming upside down for hours, and Harry had replied, "Suck it up." Lo and behold, Watts had just the role for Harry, and it required him to also film upside down for quite some time.

Tom said, "Harry's upside down swinging back and forth. Bless him, he's doing a really good job. And as the day's going on, he's got these lines and he's starting to forget his lines, and his eyes are about to pop out of his head" (via YouTube). Unfortunately, Harry's scene ended up being cut from the film, but he at least finally understood where his big brother was coming from.

Tom Holland and Zendaya have been dating off and on for years

Many people were asking themselves and others if "Spider-Man: Homecoming" co-stars Zendaya and Tom Holland were dating pretty much as the first trailer for the 2017 movie dropped. Zendaya herself set tongues wagging back in 2016, when she took to Instagram and shared a photo of the pair on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter alongside the caption, "Amidst all the chaos and sadness ... this one good thing did happen to me today. Honored to share it with the very best ... Spider-Man himself."

The following year, a source confirmed to People that they were quietly exploring a relationship together, but added that the pair were trying to keep the details under wraps. As the source said, "They've been super careful to keep it private and out of the public eye but they've gone on vacations with each other and try and spend as much time as possible with one another."

In the years that followed, it was tough for fans to figure out what was going on. In 2020, the Daily Mail said that Holland was living with then-girlfriend Nadia Parkes during lockdown, but by July 2021 Page Six and numerous outlets confirmed that he and Zendaya were back on.

The actor spends a lot of time playing golf

In addition to ballet, gymnastics, and parkour, Tom Holland is also an avid golf player. He's incredibly enthusiastic about the sport, having told People that one big reason he plays is that spending time outside on the golf course gives him the opportunity to unwind and disconnect from the world around him. In fact, he even credits the game with impacting his career, noting that, "I'm addicted to golf and had I not been addicted to golf, I would have had a very different career."

Holland also discussed his golf addiction with GQ, explaining to the publication that he plays no matter where he is in the world for whatever movie he's promoting at the time. The interviewer mentions that the pair are actually heading to a golf course for the interview itself, and Holland explains that he thinks about the game constantly, explaining, "I go to sleep thinking about playing golf the next day."

The Rock is one of Tom Holland's idols

It might seem funny that celebrities have their own heroes and idols that are famous, but after all: They're humans like us. It turns out that one of Tom Holland's inspirations is none other than Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. While speaking to GQ, Holland explained that he's looked up to The Rock for years. He said that The Rock's personal work ethos has always been important to him, sharing, "His whole thing is: Be the hardest-working person in the room. It's something that I've really taken to heart."

The Rock was pretty touched by what Holland had to say, and even took to Twitter to offer his gratitude and to praise the young star. He tweeted that he hopes the pair link up professionally, writing, "That level of fame isn't easy to navigate and he's done it brilliantly & elegantly. Look forward to working with him one day."

Tom Holland is British, but enjoys playing American characters

Something that still seems to come as a surprise to many is the fact that despite his excellent American accent in so many films, Tom Holland is actually British. Holland told GQ that a funny part of his recent career is that he's played American characters for the last half-decade, which has resulted in pretending to be American feeling like a "security blanket" that allows him to slip fully into a role. As he puts it, "For me the accent thing is such a massive bonus, because you're immediately not yourself."

However, if you think five years of pretending to be American means that Tom Holland always has the accent ready to go, think again. As he told E! News, maintaining the accent is a job like anything else, and he's often practicing in unexpected places. He said, "I always have to practice my American accent. I do it every day in the shower. I shower in American, just so I'm ready."