celebrity

All the signs that Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas' highly publicised love affair is a lie.

There are three things in life we must all admit are true.

New Year’s Eve is always a letdown, no one is asking influencers to share their skincare routines, and highly publicised celebrity relationships are fuelled by PR, not love.

While some publicity styled pairings end up resulting in marriage and a baby carriage (here’s looking at you Beyonce and Jay-Z) others never quite feel authentic and so the negative publicity far outweighs the good (ahem, Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston).

The latest couple who appear to be taking their turn on the publicity carousel are actors Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, with pictures of the new couple out in the wild steadily flooding entertainment and pop culture websites and magazines over the last few weeks.

Affleck, 47, and de Armas, 31, met while filming the upcoming psychological thriller Deep Water, based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. In the film, they star as a married couple who have fallen out of love and so play a series of mind games against one another that results in everyone around them dying.

Now, if that’s not a perfect setting for a workplace romance, I don’t know what is.

The Justice League actor and Knives Out actress were first photographed together in early March 2020, while walking along a seemingly secluded (except for the waiting photographers) beach in Costa Rica.

On March 10, they were allegedly sprung by paparazzi again when a series of images emerged of Affleck taking photos of de Armas during a nighttime walk, which she later posted to Instagram.

To hear a Hollywood publicist lift the lid on ‘showmances’, listen to The Quicky. Post continues. 

By late March, coverage of the couple strolling around Los Angeles grabbing coffees, walking their dogs and openly smooching in known celebrity/paparazzi hotspots increased, which, considering the COVID-19 outbreak was already underway and other celebrities had already locked themselves up in their mansions for quarantine, is a little telling.

It doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of precarious time period in which you should develop a multiple flat white a day habit, which requires two people to make each trip by wading through a tangled flock of waiting photographers who are certainly not practicing social distancing.

The thing about celebrities, paparazzi and the outlets who purchase their images is that they are each their own businesses with different sets of skin in the game, feeding and playing off one another in tandem. A love-hate where everyone reaps some kind of reward.

So even though there’s nothing wrong with Affleck and de Armas playing up their relationship for the cameras, in order to jazz up a bit of extra publicity for their soon to be released films, it’s been done in such a heavy-handed way that it wouldn’t be amiss to assume that Kris Jenner is somehow the mastermind behind all this.

The truth is that if celebrities want a degree of privacy over their lives and the images that are released, there is a way to procure it, even if it comes at the cost of some freedoms.

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Former spouses Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds conducted a high profile relationship over many years and held a lavish week-long wedding with no images of their intimate moments making it into the public domain, while Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx dated for nearly a decade and there’s barely enough photography proof to string a story together.

Ben Affleck himself married Jennifer Garner in 2005 in a small beach wedding that went undetected by the press until they formally announced it, proving that he does know how to avoid the cameras when needed.

Now, this may seem like a cynical opinion to have on what could just be a couple of movie stars head over heels in love with each other and the idea of taking multiple laps around their neighbourhood, but in this case, even the general public is starting to question their authenticity.

Regular citizens who have encountered the couple in the wild, sometimes multiple times a day in different outfits, have posted their own images to Twitter, TikTok and Instagram of the couple seemingly walking towards waiting photographers to have the ‘candid’ pictures taken.

Hollywood publicist Jack Ketsoyan told Mamamia’s The Quicky “that he had personally had a hand in setting up high profile celebrity romances for the cameras in the past, all with the sole purpose of promoting an upcoming project or smoothing over a tarnished reputation.

“It’s to be able to sell the hype of it, whether a concert, album or getting people to go to see the movie, it’s all about the hype at the moment,” he said on the podcast.

“The main clue is that you would see a high profile male dating a woman who is not high profile and all of a sudden overnight they’re the most talked-about girl in Hollywood.”

For his part, Affleck, who was once a bankable movie star and one-half of a golden Hollywood It Couple, has been on a recent mission of redemption.

Following a string of failed movies, a divorce from Jennifer Garner, and media coverage around his alcohol addiction, which he spoke about at length in an interview with The New York Times, the actor has been busily attempting to establish his next career arc.

On her end, de Armas, a talented actress in her own right, has previously spoken about arriving in Los Angeles in 2014 and having to start her career over again after leaving behind an established acting career in Spain. Thanks to her breakout role in the hit 2019 movie Knives Out, she’s finally beginning to ride a wave of success in Hollywood.

While we’ll never know for sure if Affleck and de Armas’ relationship is PR spin or the real deal, what we all now know is that Deep Water will be coming to a cinema near you.

And in the business of Hollywood, isn’t that all that matters?


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