Florence Pugh, one of Hollywood’s brightest young talents, and we’ve been anticipating her ascent for some time now here at LaineyGossip, is dating Zach Braff. She’s 24 years old, he just turned 45 years old a few days ago and she posted about his birthday on Instagram, which was their “Instagram official” moment:
You can see there that the comments have been disabled on that post. And that’s because people were leaving comments about the age difference. Yesterday she addressed those comments with another post – a video of her basically telling the haters to shut the f-ck up and that she’s been independent since she was 17 years old and she can love who she wants to love:
I get why people are in their feelings about the age gap. I don’t get why they have to leave those kinds of comments. Stop that sh-t. There’s nothing to be gained in the comments section. That said…
About the age gap…
Again, I understand why some people are having a reaction. It may be misapplied in this situation but there’s an underlying precedent that has set up the response to this relationship. In a perfect world, if people dated variably – that is, sometimes they’d fall in love with someone their age, and sometimes it would be with someone older, and sometimes with someone younger (but legal) – perhaps we wouldn’t be squicked.
But there’s been a normalisation, both in greater society and especially with the rich and famous, of men frequently and exclusively going much younger in their romantic preferences, setting up power imbalances, and sometimes exploitative situations. When Florence pushes back against the criticism of her relationship, and of course she would find it upsetting, because she and Zach aren’t actually what I just described about power imbalance and exploitation, she is missing the history of why age gap, older male/younger female, relationships make people uncomfortable.
Zach Braff’s romantic history isn’t actually young women only. But you know who comes to mind for some – perhaps many – when they’re thinking about him and Florence?
I mean, Leonardo DiCaprio has to be near the top of that list, non?
Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t ever had a girlfriend over the age of 25 and he’s older than Zach by a year. Leo’s been mocked for this. People have made graphs about it. It’s been joked about at award shows and talk shows and, well, at least online, this is a thing.
If I’m Zach Braff, the next time I see Leo at a party, here’s what I would say: “You ruined it for me, man”.
Attached - Florence and Zach stocking up on supplies the other day in LA.