Dev Patel Reveals Shocking Mario Testino Insult, Says He and Ex Freida Pinto Are Still ''Incredibly Close''

Actor also says he never Googles himself

By Alyssa Toomey Feb 23, 2015 7:18 PMTags
Dev PatelChris Jackson/Getty Images for IWC

It's been more than six years since the release of Slumdog Millionaire—the film which catapulted Dev Patel to stardom. 

"People ask how hard it is to stay grounded. It's f--king easy," the 24-year-old British actor tells the U.K.'s Guardian, opening up about his rapid rise to fame. "Because you just do normal s--t like everyone else. My friend circle is very small, and that's a conscious choice."

Patel also has ex-girlfriend Freida Pinto, whom he met on the set of the Danny Boyle-directed flick in 2008, to thank for his level-headed approach to Hollywood. 

Although the two split before the New Year, the former lovebirds remain close friends, and it's clear their break-up was incredibly amicable. 

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Jim Spellman/

"We are incredibly close," he says of the 30-year-old beauty. "She's just a really generous, patient human being who has been one of the most impactful people on my life. A lot of my motivation has come from her, from being with her and knowing her."

Aww. So why did the two call it quits?! 

"No. I can't. I'm sorry," Patel responds when asked to share why the chapter is closed. "I can't say."

Unlike some actors, The Newsroom star says he doesn't have a thick skin, and instead, stays away from Google because his "confidence is very fragile." 

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"I wouldn't dare play with it [self-confidence] now because it's so essential to what I do," he says. "I made the mistake of reading the papers early on, when we did Slumdog." 

Criticism aside, Patel has no time for false rumors, and he is quick to shoot down the suggestion that his relationship with Pinto was formed to promote their careers. 

"That would be a really long game for a horny 17-year-old to play. There's not even any point me trying to clarify or justify it, because then you give those silly headlines power," he says. "And they mean nothing. I never read gossip because it doesn't matter to me."

While Patel may be weary of Google, he reveals he feels like an outsider industry "all the time" and shares an anecdote that confirms the often harsh truths of Hollywood. 

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Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images for IWC; Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

"I remember going to this one Burberry show, and it was exciting. They've always been very kind to me and, even as a gangly guy, I felt I was rocking their suits," he recalls. "So when I was invited to one of the fashion shows in London, I went. Even though I had this preconceived notion – ‘I'm not going to fit in with this crowd, it's going to be intimidating'

"I was sitting there, and this fellow says, ‘Are you the one dating Freida Pinto [his Slumdog co-star]?' And I'm like, ‘Yeah, I guess,'" he continues. "He gives an embarrassed shrug. And then he says: ‘Why? How? Why is she dating you? She's so beautiful.' And I say, ‘Yeah. She is!' And then he says: ‘But you're so, ugh, so normal-looking.'"

As the author of the Guardian piece then notes, "Patel looks upset even now. It turns out it was the photographer Mario Testino."