Are Brad Pitt and Lykke Li a Little Bit in Love?

Or are the tabloids a little bit desperate?

Brad Pitt and Lykke Li
(R) Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI) | (L) Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Brad Pitt dating rumors are like tabloid editors’ own personal QAnon. They always get worked up over scant evidence until they turn it into some overblown conspiracy that almost always has no basis in actual fact. Even Pitt himself has joked about this phenomenon.

So when the English tabloids exploded in unison yesterday that Pitt has been “secretly” dating Swedish singer Lykke Li for months now, there were numerous reasons to be suspicious. We should add that the rumors aren’t necessarily new—the notorious anonymous gossip clearinghouse Instagram account Deux Moi first stated Pitt and Li had been spotted together back in June 2021, and the source claimed they’d been hanging out since at least March.

On the other hand, this is far from the first time a Post-Angelina Pitt was linked to a woman you’d more likely read about in hipster or art magazines rather than grocery checkout tabloids—only for it to turn out that they were just friends (see: Search Party actress Alia Shawkat or MIT Professor Neri Oxman).

Like Julia Fox before she met Kanye West, Li might be far from a household name, but she is an established figure among more culturally clued-in sets. She’s a musical icon for the types of Millennials who fondly remember their American Apparel slim slacks, Tumblr accounts, and cans of Sparks. She broke through in 2007 with her music blog hit “A Little Bit” and has maintained a respectable indie music career ever since, with two of her four albums being awarded Pitchfork’s coveted “Best New Music” designation. (Fun fact: in 2009 Drake interpolated “A Little Bit” on his breakthrough mixtape “So Far Gone,” which actually seemed to get certain music snobs to sit up and take notice of the former Degrassi actor as an actual musician). Li has never had a single chart on Billboard, but she has attended the Met Gala, hung out with Kim Kardashian at magazine parties, and sat front row at fashion shows. You know, she has that sort of effortlessly chic level of fame where boomer mothers have never heard of you, but you have no problem moving in the right circles. The kind of fame where you could conceivably meet Brad Pitt while out and about, but no one would immediately pick up on it.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

The ‘bloids have also picked up on the fact that Li and Pitt allegedly live near each other in Los Angeles, making any relationship geographically convenient. Oh, they’re also both in the drinks business: Pitt has a winery at Château Miraval in France, while Li is a partner in the mezcal brand Yola. So that’s something.

On the other hand, since separating from Angelina Jolie, Pitt has dived headfirst into Los Angeles’ artsier social circles. He regularly hangs out with acclaimed sculptor Thomas Houseago. He goes to Thundercat concerts with Shawkat (even though the pair maintains they’ve never dated). He’s spotted at art exhibitions around the globe. He produces films for some of cinema’s most exciting young directors. It would only make sense he’d eventually run into Li socially, who has long kept her home base in Los Angeles. Pitt has also proven that he’s managed to (gasp) maintain platonic adult friendships with members of the opposite gender without dating them.

Could this be just another case of tabloids jumping the gun? Who knows. It actually wouldn’t be the most random celebrity romance rumor of 2022.

Update: As it turns out, it may be just another case of the tabloids being desperate. Page Six and People both report from sources that the pair aren’t dating. They are casual friends, but Page Six adds that they haven’t even seen each other in two years.