Are We Partly To Blame For Celebrity Break-Ups?

taylor swift joe alwyn breakup
Are We Partly To Blame For Celebrity Break-Ups?Getty Images

There are rumours circulating on the internet today about our favourite celebrity couples which, of course, is nothing new. There's talk of Kendall Jenner having reunited with Bad Bunny, who is said to have recently been spotted on the dating app Raya. There are reports suggesting that Ben Affleck, the husband of Jenny From The Block herself, is relapsing amid their rumoured marriage breakdown, while another corner of the internet is abuzz that Joe Alwyn, the ex-boyfriend of billionaire musician Taylor Swift, is still heartbroken about the end of their relationship, despite explicitly stating his current contentment in recent interviews. There are videos dedicated to dissecting these celebrities and their struggles and Reddit threads filled with ruminations on what such rumours might signal for their wellbeing. In a world of opinion-based facts where privacy is a luxury afforded to very few, the public refuses to allow A-listers who try to lay low the ability to do so. To be famous, in the eyes of the internet, is to allow the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the most intimate parts of your existence to be a topic of discussion. Namely, your relationship.

taylor swift and joe alwyn
Robert Kamau - Getty Images

In an interview with The Sunday Times' Style magazine this weekend, Alwyn said that he has made peace with the 'gap between what is known and what is said' about his personal life, particularly in reference to his six-and-a-half-year relationship with Swift. The Kinds of Kindness actor remarked that the news of their break-up was leaked to the press just one week after the end of their relationship. 'What is unusual and abnormal in this situation is that, one week later, it's suddenly in the public domain and the outside world is able to weigh in,' he told the outlet. 'So, you have something very real suddenly thrown into a very unreal space: tabloids, social media, press, where it is then dissected, speculated on, pulled out of shape beyond recognition.' Read between the lines and it's Swift's horde of fans – known as 'Swifties' – whose picking, prising and pulling apart of her lyrics and his actions which likely contributed to his amplified pain from the end of their relationship.


Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, who rekindled their love in 2022, are rumoured to be in the midst of preparing for divorce. The house they bought in 2023 has been quietly listed with a Los Angeles estate agent, with insiders insisting that 'divorce is imminent.' There are blogs, videos and 'blind items' shared with gossip sites that have been dedicated to sharing the 'truth' of what's happened with the pair. The Instagram tribute Lopez paid to Affleck on Father's Day has been interpreted as 'proof' of their relationship demise. The singer posted a photograph of her husband with the caption: 'Our hero. Happy Father's Day.' When she cancelled her US summer tour in order to take 'time off to be with her children, family and close friends,' the flames were fanned even further. Some – who have not met neither Lopez nor Affleck, nor know the real goings on in their pair's relationship – are convinced that the actor is to blame, others are convinced it's the 'Love Don't Cost A Thing' singer's fault. None of them account for the nuances, the grey areas, that exist in every relationship but which only the people in said relationship are privy to. Even fewer people seem to remember that the reason for the couple's split in 2004 was because they 'crumbled under the pressure' of fame, a reality Affleck admitted in her new This Is Me...Now: A Love Story documentary.

'When Jen and I broke up before, the catalyst for that was the massive amount of scrutiny around our private life,' the Air actor said.

ben affleck jennifer lopez wedding las vegas
Rich Fury - Getty Images

When Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny sent the rumour mill into overdrive by emerging bleary-eyed from New York City's The Mark hotel the morning after the Met Gala, fans were quick to speculate on the nature of the ex's relationship. Were they back together? Were they not? Social media pages dedicated to mining the internet for what it deems to be 'clues' erupted with accusations that Bad Bunny was dating other women, while Jenner was reported to be considering reconciling with her ex Devin Booker. Bad Bunny and Jenner quietly attempted to spend time together, the way that any two people who were once in a committed, intimate relationship might want to. That was until, on a trip to a sleepy restaurant in Puerto Rico, they were 'outed' by fans who spotted the pair discreetly sitting in a corner of the restaurant. Their cover was blown, and as such a new fleet of speculation was born.

Of course, there's a very basic level of cultural arithmetic required to afford somebody the fame that these individuals enjoy, and one part of that sum is their personal cache. Who they're friends with, who they're in relationships with, how they spend their free time. But where do we draw the line? Despite the skills they might have honed and the publicity they might be required to partake in, as a result of contractual work obligations, when did these people – who are just that, people, like the rest of us – sacrifice their right to live a normal life away from prying eyes and whispering voices? When did they sacrifice their right to be able to navigate difficult times in their romantic lives in private?

People are quick to ascribe blame to the paparazzi who dedicate their lives to photographing these people as their private lives tremble, but these photographers are simply reacting to the demand. Where there's demand for anything in this world, a supply to satiate people's appetite is sure to follow. If the demand didn't exist, neither would the role of the paparazzi or, increasingly, 'citizen paparazzi' on social media.

kendall jenner and bad bunny gucci campaign
Courtesy Gucci

A truth universally acknowledged is that break-ups are universally hard, and heartbreak doesn't discriminate. In fact, in many ways it's the great equaliser. There's no amount of fame, influence or wealth that can inoculate a person from how much of a sucker-punch losing somebody they love is. It might do for the fans – or detractors – or anybody else indulging in the commentary surrounding the intimate nature of these people's personal lives, to remember just that.

ELLE Collective is a new community of fashion, beauty and culture lovers. For access to exclusive content, events, inspiring advice from our Editors and industry experts, as well the opportunity to meet designers, thought-leaders and stylists, become a member today HERE.

You Might Also Like