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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

2021 was the year of the deranged celebrity couple


By Holly O'Neill
24th Nov 2021

Read time: 5 minutes

2021 was the year of the deranged celebrity couple

Travis and Kourtney. Zoe and Channing. Jennifer and Ben. Pete and Kim. It’s been a long year.

Last year, Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly cast a spell upon their fellow celebrities; for the next year, all celebrities must join them on their quest of surprising celebrity partnerships and the rebranding of public displays of affection. This spell has brought us a cursed year for celebrity couplings and being incredibly public in letting us know they’re boning. Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson. Tessa Thompson, Rita Ora and Taika Waititi all kissing at a party. The reunification of Bennifer. Kourtney and Travis making us permanently very uncomfortable with the energy we have created in the studio today.

We’re happy for everyone. But mostly, we’re baffled. It all has roots in last year’s Deranged Celebrity Couple Of The Year, Megan Fox and MGK. But if we had to lay the blame on who the 2021 instigator was, we’d probably lay it at the feet of…

Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde

On January 4, photographs of Harry and Olivia at a wedding, holding hands and wearing Gucci, altered the state of the universe and celebrity couplings for months to come. Olivia Wilde ended her seven-year engagement to Jason Sudeikis in 2020, and Harry Styles is in her upcoming film. Throughout the year, we’ve had photographs of them on set, linking arms in LA and on holiday in Tuscany, but it’s all set to ramp up next year ahead of the release of their movie Don’t Worry Darling in September. We look forward to more Gucci outfits from both and more photographs we can use to envisage what it would be like if Harry Styles was our boyfriend.

Zoe Kravitz and Channing Tatum

In another relationship that possibly began on set, Kravitz cast Tatum as a tech mogul in her directorial debut, Pussy Island, and now, here we are. Zoe Kravtiz is the daughter of Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz, and the stepdaughter of Jason Momoa – basically, the trio of eternal cool. Channing Tatum split up with Jenna Dewan and started dating Jessie J. Sure, they’re riding bikes and she’s transformed his wardrobe. But they are not the same. I want to go back to that brief moment when her and Jonah Hill both posted Instagram pictures of them hanging out, both – crucially – wearing The Row, and we thought they were lovers.

Jlo and Ben

Love is eternal and we needed Jlo and Ben Affleck to remind us of that. We rooted for them throughout their hardships, from Ben’s questionable back tattoo and the saga of him throwing out his Ana de Armas cardboard cut-out, through to Jlo’s divorce from A-Rod. We saw them laughing together at dinner. Then there was the official reveal on the yacht. Ben was photographed looking at wedding rings. They appeared on a red carpet, then together at the Met Gala. Low rise jeans, Sex And The City and Bennifer are back. It’s 2004 again.

Taika Waititi and Rita Ora (and maybe Tessa Thompson)

It was a wild day in May when the Daily Mail shared a million photographers of rumoured lovers, actor-director Taika Waititi and singer Rita Ora and their possible third, actress Tessa Thompson all kissing each other at a party in Taika Waititi’s home. Waititi was kissing Ora, Ora was kissing Thompson, Thompson was kissing Waititi, all of them were kissing at once. Rita and Taika then appeared together on red carpets, on Rita Ora’s Instagram page and seemed to have more fun than anyone else at the Met Gala, as per the photograph of them with their arms around each other while Emily Blunt, Frank Ocean, Ava DuVernay and Hunter Schafer all made various ‘wtf’ faces.

John Mulaney and Olivia Munn

In May this year, days after John Mulaney and his wife of nearly seven years Annamarie Tendler confirmed their divorce, Mulaney and Olivia Munn were in the tabloids as a rumoured couple. Then a 2015 HuffPost Live resurfaced, where Olivia Munn remembered “fangirling” over Mulaney when she met him and Annamarie Tendler at a wedding. “I was like ‘Oh my gosh, do you and your fiancé want to go have dinner or something and go hang out?’” she said. “At first it was cool, and then I kept going up to him at the wedding like, ‘So you having fun?’ I was just so obsessed with hanging out with and talking with him.” Munn said she sent him an email but “he never emailed back.” The Internet also sleuthed to find that Olivia Munn tweeted had “SO MUCH love and support” at him when he entered rehab the previous December. People had strong feelings. In September, Mulaney announced that he and Munn are expecting a baby and the term ‘parasocial relationships’ trended on Google. ‘Parasocial relationships’ means to spend energy on public figures who don’t know you exist – if no word of this article is news to you then congratulations, you and I are in parasocial relationships with celebrity gossip, let’s make a WhatsApp group! The root of everyone’s hurt was that John Mulaney was famously a Wife Guy who said he never wanted kids, then split with his wife and got someone else pregnant. How dare he treat us like this? Next, we were hit with rumours that they were on the rocks. Are they still together? Olivia Munn isn’t saying. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times this month, she said; “They think they know our relationship so well. When in reality, they don’t. There’s no way anyone could know what any of his relationships were or what our relationship is.” So, who knows. Tendler, if you’re wondering, is doing great, and going regularly viral with life hacks on TikTok. It’s been a wild ride.

Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker

Blink 182 and a Kardashian. It’s all a bit Avril Lavigne Sk8er Boi. We all know too much about this. You’ve seen the red carpet photos. You’ve seen the videos of them sucking fingers and grinding on each other in a packed room at a friend’s birthday. You’ve seen frankly too much. They’re engaged. We’ve left Hot Girl Summer behind, it’s Goth Boy Winter. The biggest must-have for Christmas is a man who definitely has a good relationship with his mother, a casual relationship to standard male clothing and wears nail varnish. Long may it reign, but perhaps this relationship could reign not as long, or just not as much in our newsfeeds.

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson

Anyone questioning the stellar track record of Pete Davidson – Ariana Grande, Kate Beckinsale, Daphne Bridgerton – is failing to recognise that all we require of men is a not-terrible haircut and an alright jumper. Pete Davidson not only has great hair and a designer wardrobe but the one trait to rule them all; he’s a comedian. He’s also the reason we have the cultural locution Big Dick Energy. Sure, Kim Kardashian is a surprise and it looks like Kourtney and Kim are seeping the life force out of these pale men. But it is, apparently, a thing. They had a little kiss in an SNL skit, then they held hands on a rollercoaster, then they maybe held hands in a car park and now, they’re definitely holding hands. Pete’s wearing Skims, Kim’s travelling to Staten Island for dinner and Pete possibly has a hickey. Do we believe it? Not sure yet. Pete has a new show out this month and Kim has knickers and make-up to shill. Either way, they are unquestionably in the lead to take over from Megan and MGK for Deranged Celebrity Couple Of The Year.

Katie Holmes and Emilio Vitolo Jr.

The short-lived romance between the actress and pasta god gave us some of the greatest casual outfits of 2021 and we will remember it fondly for wardrobe inspiration for years to come.

Kanye and Irina Shayk

Rumours of this surprising duo floated all around the usual suspects – Deuxmoi, TMZ, Daily Mail – before finally pictures of them appeared in France for Kanye’s 44th birthday. According to TMZ, they started seeing each other in March, the month after Kim Kardashian filed for divorce. By July, the same usual suspects were saying it was all over, and this month, Irina was photographed with her arm around her ex Bradley Cooper, reigniting their romance rumours (they share a child too) and Kanye was photographed with a model at a basketball game who also attended his Sunday Service. That same week, Ye did a two and half hour interview with Drink Champs where he called Kim his wife, said that there “ain’t no paperwork” and that he didn’t like that Kim said she “divorced him” on her SNL appearance. “That ain’t no joke to me,” he said. “My kids want their parents to stay together, I want us to be together.” We secretly do too – their marriage is a pop culture juggernaut that just makes sense.

Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim

What a truly fantastic week it was for Selling Sunset fans when we pieced this relationship (which Stause put down to ‘the Jlo effect’) together via Instagram Stories and comments from other cast members.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CNTsoaMJeCj/

Shailene Woodley and Aaron Rodgers

Actress Shailene Woodley continues her campaign to force us to know who her fiance Aaron Rodgers is and I refuse to engage. Against my will, I have learned that he is a Green Bay Packers quarterback and an anti-vaxxer who, according to her, has very big feet. I do not care to ever know any more than that, thank you.

Photography via Instagram.