After an innocuous birthday post for her man drew a flood of hate, Florence Pugh defended her relationship with Zach Braff on Instagram. In honor of his birthday on April 6, she posted a serene photo of him napping with their dog, cozy amid rain and yellow lilies. This was the first time Pugh's ever posted about Braff on her account, and it was a sweet, harmless sentiment. Her caption read, "Today, we shall smile wider than the clouds are grey. April 6 and we’re celebrating hard! Happy birthday wishes, boogies and cheers for this special person. Raise those bubbles and jiggle!" Unfortunately, it was not well-received by fans and followers.
On April 8, Pugh posted an IGTV to address the hate she got over the birthday tribute. "Within eight minutes, I had about 70% of the comments hurling abuse and being horrid," Pugh said. "Basically, bullying someone on my page." This is the first time she's ever had to disable comments on post, she explained, adding she's only ever tried to "bring some light" and "make people smile" on Instagram.
"I have been earning money since I was 17 years old... I started paying taxes when I was 18 years old. I underline this fact: I am 24 years old," she continued. "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 can't love."
Since Pugh and Braff were first spotted holding hands in April 2019, the couple has received tons of hate. The main focal point for trolls is Braff and Pugh's 21-year age gap. Her April 8 IGTV wasn't the first time Pugh's had to address haters about the controversy. In December 2019, a fan replied, "You’re 44 years old," to a supportive comment from Braff on one of Pugh's Instagram posts. “And yet he got it,” Pugh responded. It's her relationship and her call, at the end of the day.
"It is not your place and really, it has nothing to do with you," Pugh said in her IGTV video. "If those rules are something you do not like, then please, unfollow me." Period. Enough said.