Life is at a standstill, and yet the celebrity romance rumor mill still, somehow, finds a way to churn. While many in America are now on their third week of social isolation, the gossip columns are still somehow full of news of the latest celebrity hookups.
Everyone from Ben Affleck to Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande have found new flames. Other celebrities, ranging from Rihanna to Bachelorette cast-offs have discovered ways to broadcast their supposed flirtations to the world. Even celebrities whose relationships were very public before the coronavirus pandemic are providing digital tabloid fodder: Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello's daily walks have become a ritual.
Meanwhile, normal people are slowly beginning to seriously figure out what the "Zoom date" hype is about.
Ben Affleck's new relationship with actress Ana de Armas has publicly blossomed amid *waves hands* all of this. Earlier this month, the couple was spotted in de Armas's native Cuba before jet-setting for a quick vacation in Costa Rica. They've finally returned stateside, but had been seen on numerous walks together. They essentially confirmed the nature of their relationship as romantic by sharing some PDA. Sure, they were six feet apart from everyone else (including the paparazzo), but who can even imagine PDA at a time list this? Though, the pair's relationship may be a few months in the making. In December, the 31-year-old actress and 47-year-old actor wrapped filming on Deep Water, in which they play a married couple.
Meanwhile, Demi Lovato has apparently rediscovered a resource we had forgotten this country still produced: hot soap opera actors. When former Young & Restless star Max Ehrlich posted a thirst trap on Instagram with the caption, "When u realize u should’ve packed more for your quarantine stay." Lovato commented, "Fine by me." Tabloids quickly confirmed the pair are a relatively new item and they were spotted buying groceries.
Ariana Grande, meanwhile, has apparently been dating a real estate agent named Dalton Gomez for a few weeks, which we've all just now found out about. Nina Dobrev seems to have something going on with snowboarder Shaun White. Former Bachelorette contestant (and Gigi Hadid ex) Tyler Cameron has spent the past few weeks less-than-subtlety hinting that he's re-sparked something with co-star Hannah Brown.
Meanwhile, Rihanna and Drake interacted in the comments of an IG Live stream, which some have gone ahead and described as "flirty."
Cabello and Mendes have retreated to Miami (where Cabello grew up) and in addition to live streams, and trading Spanish and guitar lessons, are now going for a walk with coffee mugs every day—this activity is dutifully snapped by the paparazzi.
Why is all of this still happening? In some cases, celebs who may have been casually seeing someone before the coronavirus decided to throw caution to the wind and speed up the seriousness. In other cases, perhaps it's because people sitting at home with good gossip have nothing to do, and just decide to leak information. In other cases, this might be the most nefarious of PR strategies: getting cheap attention when the regular entertainment news cycle has grown to a hilt. Still in others, we might just be desperate enough to blow up any crumb of a romance rumor into a weeks-long news cycle.