This week, in the tenth month of the strangest year that ever there was, something depressingly familiar happened.
A famous man was photographed with a famous woman who was not his wife, and the Internet momentarily lost its addled, overwhelmed little mind.
You might know Dominic West as McNulty in The Wire. Or as Noah Solloway in The Affair. He's an English actor of a certain craggy gruffness. One of those men who appears to have been born aged 35. These days, he's 51.
Watch the trailer for The Affair. Post continues below.
You might know Lily James as Cinderella. Or as the young Donna in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. She's about to be everywhere in the new do-over of Rebecca. An English actor, too, she's 31.
These two people were stalked and photographed by paparazzi cameras in Rome last weekend. In the pictures that we will not be showing you, Dominic leans close into Lily's neck, a hand pushing her hair back in what looks like an intimate moment, his lips apparently close to her skin. In other frames they are both riding an electric scooter, in others they are eating with another woman (reported to be their mutual manager), laughing, eating lunch, drinking wine, being in Rome. The bastards.
The photographs appear, on the surface at least, to be a classic paparazzi Gotcha moment. A rare thing in 2020, when celebrities out their own shortcomings on social media and the stalking of private people getting on with their lives has largely fallen out of favour (Mamamia does not run paparazzi images, choosing not to support an economy built on stalking women and children).
They're not common, genuinely revelatory pap moments. Think Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's relationship finally confirmed by grainy images of Brad playing with a tiny Maddox on an African beach in 2005. Or Kristen Stewart being groped by Rupert Sanders in a car in 2012, when he was married with kids and she was one half of a generation's most swooned-over couple. Or, if you want to go way back to 1992, there was a time when a princess called Fergie was photographed having her toes sucked by a Texan oil tycoon while she was meant to be married to Prince Andrew (so many things wrong with that sentence by 2020).