5 Signs a Celebrity Relationship Is a PR Stunt

Allegedly, of course

Collage: Gawker / Photos: Getty Images, Shutterstock
Tabloid Fodder

Celebrities dating each other is the fuel that keeps the gossip machine running. We love to see two gorgeous people cozy up with one another, and it’s even better if they fell in love while working together. When people we are used to seeing on a screen show any signs of human emotion in real life, we absolutely lose it.

If you have ever read an interview with a celebrity who is dating another celebrity, you have no doubt heard the line about how it’s “just so much easier to date someone who gets it.” While I have no doubt that that is true, I also think that sometimes the “it” to be “got” is that both people involved want to be getting a little more press attention than they currently are.

Here are the five ways you can tell if those two people you keep seeing all the time have their publicists working a little harder behind the scenes.

Getting Papped in New York City

To someone who has not spent their life consuming celebrity news as if it were oxygen, seeing a couple get spotted by the paparazzi in New York City might seem like the ultimate confirmation of a real relationship. However, getting papped in the city is actually not that common. There are four times fewer paparazzi in New York than there are in LA, and most of them are posted up outside of the five-star hotels and Tribeca lofts where god-tier A-listers like the Kardashians and Taylor Swift stay. If you are a famous person just hanging around in the East Village, the likelihood of you being spotted by actual paparazzi are actually pretty slim.

However, if you are a famous person who wants to be seen biking around with a new lover in the East Village (as you can see in a copyright law-abiding recreation at the top of this article), all you’d have to do would be to have your publicist make a few calls. Even more suspicious than being spotted in downtown Manhattan is being spotted in upstate New York, which Zoe Kravitz and Channing Tatum were yesterday. Now, it’s possible that the two retreated to what I believe is Hudson because they are working on Kravitz’s new film together, but that brings me to my next point.

They’ve Got a New Project Coming Up

We will call this the Spider-Man rule. If you are two hotties starring in a Spider-Man movie together, you will date at some point. Of the three Spidey relationships we have seen in the last 20 years, I believe that Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst’s was the only one that wasn’t born of wanting to get asses in seats, and that is because Kirsten Dunst is the only public figure with any integrity in this town.

I’m sure both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and Tom Holland and Zendaya are actually friends who had/have great, non-romantic relationships with each other. That is the only way I think a good PR relationship can really work, because the thing that sells it is chemistry. But you should always be wary if a new dating rumor coincides with a press tour for a big, splashy movie. You want me to believe that Tom Cruise just happened to start dating Penelope Cruz mere months before Vanilla Sky came out? Actually, we’ll get to that later.

Gay Rumors

It’s no secret that Hollywood stars have been using beards since movies were still in black and white; Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn served as each other’s for years. Many celebrities (especially men) seem to prefer that rumors of their sexuality be squelched as soon as possible, despite Hollywood’s outward embrace of LGBTQ+ causes. There’s no better way to do that than to suddenly be seen with a beautiful woman on your arm, maybe even one who has recently left a popular girl group to pursue a solo career.

Take, for instance, Shawn Mendes, who once told Rolling Stone, “In the back of my heart, I feel like I need to go be seen with someone — like a girl — in public, to prove to people that I'm not gay." That was in 2018, and over the course of the next year he and fellow pop star/attention-needer Camila Cabello began to get spotted together repeatedly, leading to many candid paparazzi photos ever since.

Gawker is not in the business of commenting on people’s sexuality (anymore), but what I can comment on is that Camilla Cabello’s upcoming Amazon Prime Cinderella movie does not look very good. Also, this.

One Person is Hot, The Other Cooling Down

Not every PR relationship is romantic. Sometimes becoming best friends can be beneficial for both parties involved, especially if one’s star is rising while the other’s is falling. Take, for instance, the bizarre relationship between TikTok star Addison Rae and Kit Kat connoiseur Kourtney Kardashian.

The two became close at some point in 2020, and by June 2020 they were making TikToks in matching sweatshirts and referring to each other as “bestie.” If you think this is weird, you are aligned with the rest of the Kardashians, who invited Addison over for lunch on Keeping Up With the Kardashians to ask if the two were in some kind of Carol situation.

Dating Tom Cruise

I am of the belief that David Miscavige has somehow removed the part of Cruise’s brain that is capable of romantic love, but that’s not the issue here. It’s no secret any woman Cruise “dates” has to be vetted by the Church of Scientology, and the rumor has always been that those women actually go through an interview process before they can become his significant other. Never trust that a woman is truly dating Tom Cruise, and always keep her in your prayers.