Testino branded Slumdog star normal
Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel was once branded "normal-looking" by Mario Testino, who asked how he had managed to snare the "beautiful" Freida Pinto.
The Harrow-born actor made this confession ahead of the launch of his new film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Speaking to the Guardian Weekend, he described how he was approached by the world-famous photographer at a Burberry fashion show.
He said: "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'.
"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.'"
Pinto, 30, and Patel, 24, split up in December last year after getting together in 2009.
He admitted their romance was his "first big relationship" and denied it had been created to promote both their careers.
He said: "That would be a really long game for a horny 17-year-old to play," but refused to comment further.
Patel added they were still "incredibly close," describing Pinto as 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," he said.
Describing himself as "never cool" Patel, who made his debut in Skins aged 16, said he still feels like an "outsider" in the film industry but is gaining new confidence from starring with "titans" such as Dame Judi Dench and Richard Gere.
He said: "I'm never happier and more alive than when I'm on set. I love it, it consumes me and I feel more confident. But I was never cool."
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is out from Thursday.