"It's my life, and I'm not doing anything to please people."
Fans have thoughts on Florence Pugh’s relationship with Zach Braff, and Pugh has thoughts on those thoughts. In a July 4 interview with The Sunday Times, Pugh opened up about the backlash and vitriol she and Braff have faced online due to their age difference. (Pugh is 25 years old; Braff is 46.) “I think it bugs people that it’s not who they expected,” Pugh told The Times. When asked whether her fans might prefer to see her with someone like her Little Women co-star Timothée Chalamet, she responded, “Exactly. Exactly.”
Pugh and Braff reportedly started dating several months before Pugh confirmed their relationship in December 2019. She’s spoken up several times about the “bullying” she experiences whenever she shares a photo of Braff, and she’s even responded directly to a few trolls. “It’s so weird to me to go on to someone’s page and sh*t on it. That’s so not my nature — to go and bully for the sake of bullying. It’s such an odd thing that we’ve become OK with in the past 10 years of social media,” she told The Times. “I don’t mind you not liking me, that’s absolutely fine. In which case, don’t follow me.”
Her recent comments echo a video she shared to Instagram in April 2020, days after posting a birthday tribute to Braff. “I do not need you to tell me who I should and should not love. And I would never in my life ever, ever tell anyone who they can and cannot love. It is not your place. And really, it has nothing to do with you,” she said. A month later, in an interview with Elle UK, she reiterated that she has “the right to hang out and be with and go out with anyone I want to.”
Not much is known about the start of Pugh’s relationship with Braff, but fans speculate that they grew close while filming the April 2019 short film In the Time It Takes to Get There. Later that summer and fall, they were photographed on several trips together. Then, in December 2019, Braff commented on one of Pugh’s photos. A follower responded, “You’re 44 years old,” to which Pugh clapped back, “And yet he got it.”
Braff hasn’t spoken up as much about the responses to his relationship, but he did talk about Pugh’s Instagram video. “She literally sat down, hit record on her phone, and said that,” he recalled in a November 2020 interview with Mr. Porter. “I thought, ‘How could I possibly follow anything as intelligent and articulate as that?’ So I chose not to.”
Love them or hate them, Braff and Pugh are going strong — they share a dog and reportedly live together. “It’s my life and I’m not doing anything to please people or to make it a better headline or story,” Pugh told The Times. “I want to also be a person!”