Stylist: Edward Enninful
On Friday, news started circulating that Emma Watson had broken up with her boyfriend William "Mack" Knight, a manager of a Silicon Valley tech company, whom she's managed to keep impressively mum about over the course of their two-year relationship. In fact, so little has been known about the pair, who've pretty much only ever been spotted at a production of Hamilton, that we're only just finding out about their breakup, which turns out to be old news: The pair actually split in early 2017.
It's definitely no mistake, however, that noting this life change seems to have escaped Watson, an actress and UN Women Goodwill ambassador, in the months since the breakup. While she hasn't shied from the press, she's instead simply stuck to topics like how she brought Gloria Steinem as a date to a screening of Beauty and the Beast, and how men's unwillingness to relate to women is a large part of why most films still feature overwhelmingly male protagonists. But when Vanity Fair profiled Watson in February, she "vehemently" refused to discuss anything related to her love life, and made it clear she didn't plan on changing that any time soon.
"I want to be consistent: I can’t talk about my boyfriend in an interview and then expect people not to take paparazzi pictures of me walking around outside my home. You can’t have it both ways," she said, noting that she's stopped taking selfies with most fans so as to avoid giving any "tracking data" about her whereabouts, simply offering to answer any questions about Harry Potter instead. "I’ve noticed, in Hollywood, who you’re dating gets tied up into your film promotion and becomes part of the performance and the circus. I would hate anyone that I were with to feel like they were in any way part of a show or an act."
Of course, many stars would agree with Watson, but few, apparently, are able to pull off what in everyone else's case seems to be the impossible and keep the paparazzi at bay—and their personal life private. It's unclear how Watson, 27, and Knight, 37, who were last spotted together back in May, even met in the first place, and her representative predictably isn't providing any additional info, stating the obvious when contacted by Us Weekly about the split: "I’m afraid I don’t comment on my client’s personal life."
As for Watson's relationship with the press, that remains fraught as ever, and understandably so: Even though pretty much all Watson has discussed since her Harry Potter days has been related to feminism and her right to privacy, the photos that accompanied the Vanity Fair story still drew her criticism for opening up—quite literally, as she was called a hypocrite for daring to wear a top that exposed a good portion of her chest in the accompanying photo shoot. As Watson later put it, "They were saying that I couldn't be a feminist and have boobs."
For the most part, however, Watson has managed to stay out of the unwanted spotlight, even while maintaining a social media presence—a feat that celebrities who've recently taken a break from posting to protect themselves from criticism and maintain their privacy, like Kim Kardashian and Selena Gomez to name a few, have been unable to accomplish. That's not to say, however, that Watson might not be letting us in on her personal life in more subtle ways: It's worth noting that earlier this year, shortly after the breakup apparently occurred, she starred in The Circle, a dystopian film in which she battles a Silicon Valley-like enemy—and, of course, comes out on top.
See Emma Watson Take W's Screen Test: