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Zendaya shoos away criticism of 12-year age gap with 'Malcolm & Marie' co-star

John David Washington may be 12 years her senior, but Zendaya says it's no big deal.
/ Source: TODAY

Age is nothing but a number to Zendaya.

The actor, 24, wants people to take it easy when it comes to discussing the age difference between her and her co-star John David Washington, 36, in their upcoming Netflix movie “Malcolm & Marie.”

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The 12-year age difference between "Malcolm & Marie" co-stars Zendaya and John David Washington has raised some eyebrows, but the stars don't think much of it.Courtesy Netflix

"People often forget — which is understandable because I've been playing 16 since I was 16, you know — (but) I am grown," she told "PEOPLE (the TV Show!)." "I knew that, as I grow and as I evolve, there would be that moment where I could play someone my own age."

The pair portray a couple in the black-and-white film, but some detractors have pounced on the fact that they are so far apart in age. That age discrepancy may be amplified by the fact that Zendaya grew up in front of the camera as a child star and currently plays a high school student on HBO’s “Euphoria.”

Zendaya and Washington play a couple in their new movie, "Malcolm & Marie."Courtesy Netflix

In “Malcolm & Marie,” Washington plays a filmmaker and Zendaya portrays his girlfriend. After returning home from a premiere for his newest project, the night goes off in unexpected directions and their relationship is put to the test.

Zendaya’s comments echo those made by Washington, who has also downplayed the age gap.

“I wasn’t concerned about it because she is a woman,” he told Variety earlier this month when asked about their age difference. “People are going to see in this film how much of a woman she is.”

Washington, the son of Hollywood legend Denzel Washington and singer and actor Pauletta Washington, also pointed out that while he may have more years under his belt, Zendaya actually has more years under her belt in show business.

“She has far more experience than I do in the industry,” Washington explained. “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.”

Washington, who has also starred in "BlacKkKlansman” and “Tenet,” says Zendaya shows she’s beyond her years in “Malcolm & Marie.”

“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,” he said.