Florence Pugh Says Backlash Against Her Age Gap Relationship Felt "Like Sh*t"

by Candice Jalili
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Can you imagine the entire world banding together to turn your relationship into a meme that they collectively hate on and make fun of? Well, for one 24-year-old actress that nightmare has been an unfortunate reality. And Florence Pugh said the backlash against her and Zach Braff felt "like sh*t." Pugh opened up about her struggle with the public's opinion of her relationship during a July 7 appearance on the podcast Sue Perkins: An Hour or So With.

"I've always found it funny, how I can be good enough for people to watch my work, and support my work, and pay for tickets, and I'm old enough to be an adult and pay taxes, but I'm not old enough to know who I should and should not have sex with," Pugh shared. "Once again, [it's] making a young woman feel like sh*t for no reason. I think I did feel sh*t for awhile about admitting that, and then I thought, 'How ridiculous is that?'"

Nowadays, Pugh is standing strong in her romantic decisions. "I'm 24 and I can't choose who I love... There's a reason why I'm not with someone my age— It hasn't worked," she shared. "So who are you trying to match me up with?"

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Pugh and Braff, who is 21 years her senior, were first spotted together holding hands in New York City in April of 2019. Their age gap consistently drew criticism from fans and, finally, things hit a boiling point for Pugh on April 8, 2020, two days after she posted a loving birthday Instagram in honor of her boyfriend. The innocuous post in question featured Braff cozying up to a dog on the couch on a rainy day alongside this sweet caption:

Today we shall smile wider than the clouds are grey.April 6th and we’re celebrating hard!Happy Birthday wishes, boogies and cheers for this special person.Raise those bubbles and jiggle!

Apparently, just minutes after she posted the above birthday message, Pugh saw that “about 70 percent of the comments” were “hurling abuse and being horrid.” Things actually were getting so mean that she wound up having to turn comments off on the post. So, on April 8, she created a video on her page essentially telling the haters to back off.

"I'm 24-years-old. I have been working since I was 17-years-old. I have been earning money since I was 17-years-old. I became an adult when I was 18-years-old and I started paying taxes when I was 18-years-old," she said. "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 someone who they can and cannot love. It is not your place. It has nothing to do with you."

Here's an idea: Why doesn't everyone just agree to let these two live?