News broke back in May that John Mulaney and Anne Marie Tendler were divorcing and then three days later, PEOPLE reported that he and Olivia Munn are a thing. As Maria wrote at the time, it felt like a rollout. And it feels like the rollout is continuing now six weeks later with this update – PEOPLE once again with the exclusive this weekend, the first photo of John and Olivia together out for lunch.


There are some curious things to unpack here. First, there’s only one shot. Typically, when celebrities are papped, there’s a whole set of photos. PEOPLE’s only giving us a single image of John and Olivia looking cute, smiling cutely together, and in HQ. There’s nothing blurry here except for the man in the background. Our two subjects, however, are shown in perfect resolution. So it doesn’t seem like whoever was taking these photos was all that far away. 

Speaking of whoever’s taking these photos, PEOPLE credits the photographer as Michael Simon without an agency. Michael Simon is a name that comes up often with an agency called StarTraks. And StarTraks celebrity photos are often high quality, good resolution, and, well, almost posed. Much like this one of John and Olivia. I mean, they’re posed naturally, and it’s not like they’re putting their hands on their hips and working the camera, but I also wouldn’t say this is as… um… candid as some of the other pap shots we’re familiar with. 


StarTraks also works directly with celebrities for magazine features. Tori Spelling seems to be a regular - Us Weekly ran photos of her at home with her baby and Michael Simon has worked with Tori before too. Multiple times actually. And StarTraks has taken what seems like celebrity product placement shots before too. 

So my point is… 

I don’t know how convinced I am that this photo of John and Olivia happened because a lucky pap just stumbled upon them having lunch the other day. Like, sure, it’s possible. Of course it’s possible. But it’s also possible that this was set up. Which is fine, if that’s the case, no shade. This is strategy, this is work, this is controlling the message, on your terms. I just… would rather they not pretend that they don’t participate.