Earlier this week on Instagram Stories, Olivia Wilde posted a photo of an excerpt from the novel Heartburn, Nora Ephron’s fictionalized account of the dissolution of her marriage with Carl Bernstein after he cheated on her when she was seven months pregnant. This screenshot served two purposes: 1) to slyly reveal Wilde’s much-discussed special salad dressing that she allegedly prepared for her alleged side piece Harry Styles, throwing her then-boyfriend Jason Sudeikis into such a rage he laid beneath her car so she couldn’t leave and 2) to invite viewers to draw comparisons between her relationship with Sudeikis and Ephron’s with Bernstein.
(The dressing, by the way, is a mustard-forward vinaigrette with no garlic. Not that important.)
Last night, Sudeikis’s post-Wilde ex-girlfriend Keeley Hazell, the inspiration for a Ted Lasso character with the same name Keeley Hazell posted the same Heartburn excerpt, except with more context. Immediately preceding the recipe, the Ephron stand-in Rachel has a discussion with her therapist Vera about mythmaking. Vera asks Rachel, “Why do you feel you have to turn everything into a story?” Rachel tells her why in first-person:
Because if I tell the story, I control the version.
Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.
Because if I tell the story, it doesn’t hurt as much.
Because if I tell the story, I can get on with it.
One thing is for certain: Keeley Hazell either owns or borrowed a copy of Heartburn. After that, her post’s intended message gets a little hazy. Us Weekly said Hazell’s post “seemingly threw shade at the Don’t Worry Darling director.” Cosmo called it the “most side eye inducing response to Olivia Wilde.” Entertainment Tonight wrote, “Many have interpreted Hazell's post as a not-so-subtle dig at Wilde, or a commentary on how Wilde has been publicly handling her split from Sudeikis, who has largely remained quiet on the matter.”
Up until reading these responses from my esteemed cohort of entertainment writers across the net, I thought this was a moment of girl-power solidarity between fellow exes of the same nightmare man. In most conventional senses, he has not “largely remained quiet on the matter.” He’s been in control of the narrative. He had a process server give Wilde custody papers while she was on stage presenting Don’t Worry Darling at CinemaCon and presumably was screaming pretty loud when he laid underneath a car over salad. And yet, he’s coming out of this looking better than his ex-girlfriend, no? He’s looking pretty good, in fact. Even the nanny’s tell-all included that she was scared of him because he’d been drinking, but we’re all focused on the salad dressing instead. (Justice for Gordon, of course.)
So Hazell could have intended three different things with this post: either that Jason’s a controlling monster and chicas have to stick together, that Olivia’s a controlling cheating monster and she #stands with her former flame and Horrible Bosses 2 co-star, or simply that she heard a lot of buzz about an old book online and really got to enjoying Ephron’s oeuvre. Maybe she’d like When Harry Met Sally — it’s the perfect time of year for it!
Is it possible that Keeley Hazell’s literary dig was too subtle for me? Are the genders flipped in her alleged shade? Am I being reductionist? Or is this what happens when celebs try to employ literary subtext on their Instagram stories? I’ve certainly learned something here: women can do anything, whether it’s act, read, or even use social media.