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Zendaya Addresses Backlash Over Age Gap With John David Washington In New Film

Zendaya Addresses Backlash Over Age Gap With John David Washington In New Film

The 24-year-old actor spoke about her on screen relationship with Washington - who was 12 years older than her at the time of filming

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd

Zendaya has addressed the criticisms over her age gap with John David Washington in upcoming movie Malcolm & Marie:

The 24-year-old said she feels the controversy comes from people still seeing her as a teen, telling E! News: "I've played a 16-year-old since I was 16."

She went on: "You have to remember, also, people grew up with me as a child.

"It's like watching, I guess, your younger sibling now, you know, they're grown. So it's hard for people to wrap around the idea that I am grown in real life. You know, even though I do play a teenager on television still."

Malcolm & Marie will be released on Netflix on 5 February and when it comes to John David Washington's views - well, he isn't 'concerned' about any backlash, with the 36-year-old saying it was 'him learning from her.'


In an interview with Variety, when he was asked about Zendaya, Washington said: "People are going to see in this film how much of a woman she is.

"She has far more experience than I do in the industry. I've only been in it for seven years. She's been in it longer, so I'm learning from her. I'm the rookie. I was leaning on her for a lot.

"Some of the stories she's shared about what she's had to go through with Twitter and everything. I appreciated her wisdom and discernment when it comes to this business. I admire that.

"What I'm really excited for people to see when the film is released - they're going to see how mature she is in this role.

"We're talking about versatility, and [director] Sam [Levinson] and Zendaya brought both."

Many people have taken to social media to point out the age difference between the pair.

One wrote: "I like what I see will definitely watch it but I am concerned about the age difference. I even googled it 12 year difference. She looks great in the role but."

Someone else defended the casting of the pair, saying: "I'd understand the ruckus about Zendaya and John David Washington's age difference if she was like 18 but she's pushing 25."

Malcolm & Marie focuses on the relationship between a director and his girlfriend, which is tested after they return home from his movie premiere and await critics' responses.

The film will be released on Netflix on 5 February.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Netflix