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Celebrity power couples are on the rise again

Celebrity power couples are on the rise again. Since rumours started to swirl that Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer are dating in real life, the return of Bennifer and the rise of ‘normcore’ power couples like Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles – who have a limited social media presence, we look into why people are so obsessed with celebrity relationships. 

Just when we thought the age of celebrity had been killed off by the global health crisis, celebrities started to gift us with paparazzi shots of them on yachts.  

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“Why are people so invested in the relationships of people they’ve never met?”

From Ross and Rachel to Bennifer: Why are we so obsessed with celebrity couples from the noughties? 

The Independent looks at the rise in interest of 90s celebrity power couples. The paper says as rumours swirl about a possible-real-life relationship between Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer fans have gone wild. 

“Why are people so invested in the relationships of people they’ve never met?”

The internet has gone into a bit of a meltdown following the reunion of Bennifer (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) who are reportedly dating again, news Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer (Ross and Rachel from Friends) might possibly be dating after a source revealed the pair were getting ‘cosy’ since filming the Friends 25th anniversary special. 

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Why are we invested? 

The Independent says regardless of whether these relationships are real or not, the public tends to develop a ‘para-social relationship’ with celebrities which leads to our investment in their personal lives. 

“This means that we get emotionally attached to them and become psychologically involved and invested in following their lives, almost in the same way as we are interested in the lives of those in our own families, even though it’s a one-sided relationship and they don’t even know we exist, let alone have any relationship with us in return,” explains psychologist Honey Langcaster-James.

Our intrigue also boils down to the simple fact that, regardless of how famous someone is, almost all of us will engage in some sort of romantic relationship during our lifetime. It is one of the few universal experiences we share as human beings. As a result, when reports emerge that two celebrities we feel attached to are romantically involved, it’s inevitable that we will project some of our own relationship experiences onto them.

Our attachment is intensified when there is an element of nostalgia. “Nostalgic memories have the power to make us feel happier,” says psychologist Emma Kenny. But shared nostalgia, she explains, like that experienced by anyone who has tweeted about Ross and Rachel being real, or the return of #Bennifer, can make the emotional experience of those memories even more profound. 

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“It gives us hope” Celebrity Couples have ruled the summer

CNN takes a look at why celebrity power couples have saved us this summer. They say Bennifer, along with much pictured pairs like Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles, as well as Tom Holland and Zendaya, are the celebrity story of the summer. 

“The media and public’s interest in celebrity couples is nothing new. Before there was Olivia and Harry, there was Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.”

They say the fascination is as old as fame itself. But unlike power couples of the past “we’ve never needed the breath of trivial air more than now.”

“I think a lot of it is people are so desperate to feel like everything’s back to normal and what’s more back to normal than caring about celebrity,” said Cooper Lawrence, author of “The Cult of Celebrity.”

When the pandemic began, The New York Times wrote an article that said the world order had complicated our relationship to celebrities. 

“Among the social impacts of the coronavirus is its swift dismantling of the cult of celebrity,” Amanda Hess wrote. “The famous are ambassadors of the meritocracy; they represent the American pursuit of wealth through talent, charm and hard work. But the dream of class mobility dissipates when society locks down, the economy stalls, the death count mounts and everyone’s future is frozen inside their own crowded apartment or palatial mansion.”

But as weeks of isolation turned into a year-plus of navigating life through screens, we sought out connection where we could, including on celebrity’s social media accounts.

“That bonded us to them a little bit more…we now really have a more pronounced relationship with celebrity couples,” Lawrence said.

Particularly, she said, the ones that are both aspirational and inspirational.

“It makes us feel like there’s hope, you know. If I get divorced or break up with somebody, maybe there’s somebody in my past that’s right for me and he’s worth taking a look,” she said.

"Among the social impacts of the coronavirus is its swift dismantling of the cult of celebrity"

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"Revolt against social media relationships and our nostalgic longing for simpler times"

Celebrity power couples and the rise of the normcore

iD looks at the rise of the normcore boyfriend and why a partner off social media is more attractive. 

They say power couples are the height of celebrity culture and over the decades have given us some beloved ones – Brangelina, Bennifer, Kimye. 

“We love to become heavily invested in our favourite stars’ inter-romantic business. But what about when one of the partners is essentially off the grid?”

Bella Hadid debuted her new boyfriend Marc Kalman on Instagram after reportedly dating for a year. His Instagram is set to private and we know little about him. 

After previously, and very publicly, dating The Weeknd, seeing Bella thriving with her new (extremely low-key) beau feels like permission to scrap the power couple notion all together.

And Bella is not alone. We’re entering the era of the normcore boyfriend.

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Issa Rae posted photos from her surprise south of France wedding to Louis Diame. He’s reportedly a businessman but even his LinkedIn page is private. 

While it’s not uncommon for celebrities to marry non-famous people – more and more ‘it girls’ opting for a partner who’s offline seems to speak to a larger revolt against social media relationships and, perhaps, our nostalgic longing for simpler times.

Psychotherapist Rachel Wright says the pandemic might also have something to do with the shift. “I don’t think we’ll ever not have power couples, but I do think that one of the effects of Covid was deep personal reflections on how we spend our time and the relationships in our lives,” she tells i-D.

 “It seems that many people enjoyed the solitude and privacy that the quarantine and stay-at-home orders provided — an unexpected silver lining of this horrific pandemic.”

Deep Dive

Quick Facts

What celebs are dating 2021?


Wait, What? See the Celebrity Couples of 2021 Who Made Us Question Everything


Adele and Rich Paul.
Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles.
Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley. 
Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian.
Phoebe Dynevor and Pete Davidson.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
Rita Ora and Taika Waititi.
John Mulaney and Olivia Mun

Over the past few days Friends fans have been on an emotional rollercoaster after rumours started swirling regarding two of the show’s co-stars.

David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston played on-and-off-again Ross Gellar and Rachel Green in the hit 90s sitcom.

The fan-favourites stole the show, with viewers rooting for their relationship to work the whole way. – MIRROR 

 

Who was Bennifer?

In only three months, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (better known by the portmanteau “Bennifer”), went from former fiances to Instagram-official couple. The rekindled pair went public with their relationship Saturday in a post celebrating Lopez’s 52nd birthday.
 

Are Ben and Jen back together?

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are officially back together.
 

When was JLO engaged to Ben Affleck?


Lopez and Affleck first started dating again this May. The two were originally together from 2002 to January 2004. During that time, they got engaged and ultimately called off their September 2003 wedding.
 
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