Did you hear that Brad Pitt has a new friend? This shocking news dominated the tabloids yesterday, after photos of Pitt and the actress Alia Shawkat surfaced on Instagram. Pitt, 55, and Shawkat, 30, attended an art opening at the Wilding Cran Gallery in LA. on Saturday. Look:
According to veteran gossip blogger Lainey Gossip, they were spotted at dinner together afterwards, just the two of them. And apparently this is not the first time they've hung out in public, although this is the first time that people have really noticed. In September, they attended a performance of Ethan Cohen’s A Play is a Poem together in LA. And in October, they were photographed backstage at a Mike Birbiglia show.
But guess what: THEY’RE JUST FRIENDS, OKAY?
At least, that is the situation according to sources close to Pitt. Here is a brief roundup of different quotes about Pitt and Shawkat’s relationship published in the tabloids yesterday. Us Weekly: "Brad is not dating Alia. They are just friends." People: "They are absolutely just friends." Page Six: "Page Six has learned that the two performers are just friends." E! News: "They've spent time together and have similar interests, but that's the extent of it. They are not a couple and there's nothing romantic going on. Brad has different friends in different walks of life and this is one of them. He enjoys being social with friends."
Got that, pal? Brad Pitt enjoys being social with friends.
Why all this denial? It’s not like this is the first woman Pitt has been linked to since his divorce from Angelina Jolie. Last year, there was the MIT professor Neri Oxman, who ended up marrying billionaire Bill Ackman even though sources close to Pitt were pretty sure Oxman and Pitt made the perfect couple. And then there were rumors that Pitt was dating Charlize Theron, which Theron’s publicist quickly shut down. And then, in September, Us Weekly ran a whole cover story about Pitt dating a holistic healer named Sat Hari Khalsa. (The two have not been seen together since.)
Sources close to Pitt were more than happy to spill details about these non-relationships to the tabloids. But now that Pitt has actually been spotted with the same woman multiple times, the faucet has been turned off. They are joooost froonnnds. Do you believe it?
Personally, I think dating Shawkat would be a great look for Pitt. She is almost never in the tabloids—this story was her very first People headline. Years ago, she was rumored to be dating songwriter Jack Antonoff, but nothing dramatic came of that. In fact, there are only a few photos of them together, and one of them was taken backstage at a Mike Birbiglia show in 2008. This is a woman with consistent tastes.
Also coupling up this week: serial monogamist Pete Davidson, 26, and model Kaia Gerber, 18. For the first time, the new couple was spotted kissing in public, although the photos of it aren’t very good. Davidson and Gerber were hanging out at Gerber’s friend Charlotte Lawrence’s concert at Webster Hall. According to Page Six’s source, “They were very touchy and seemed very happy. Pete was a gentleman and was holding Kaia’s black coat.”
Well, as long as everyone seems very happy, I guess that’s fine.
Back in L.A., Halsey, 25, and her new boyfriend Evan Peters, 32, made out all over a Santa Monica beach, and the paparazzi photos are very close-up and detailed. They also rubbed and cradled Halsey’s stomach, sparking pregnancy rumors.
Halsey quickly denied the rumors on Twitter, but a source speculated to Page Six that she created the controversy on purpose. “Halsey is just being cute and provocative,” the source said. “That’s her game.” No, that’s MY game.
Or perhaps it is Demi Lovato’s: This morning, she posted a photo of herself with a pregnancy belly on Instagram, causing many of her fans to simply FREAK OUT. But the belly, she admitted in the caption, is fake—she is apparently guest-starring as a pregnant person on the new season of Will & Grace, for some reason.
In more official relationship news, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan have been declared “legally single” one year after filing for divorce. According to Us Weekly, they are still working out a custody arrangement and a property settlement, but they are now free to marry other people, if they want to.
Do you think they want to? Both are currently in serious relationships: Tatum has been with Jessie J for over a year and Dewan is currently (for real) pregnant with her Broadway star boyfriend Steve Kazee. My guess is at least one of them gets engaged by Christmas. But I bet it’s fun to be “legally single,” if only for a short time.
Speaking of the holidays, the Queen is reportedly “disappointed” that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have decided to spend Christmas away from Sandringham this year. But to the rest of the world, they look like geniuses, as the royal family is dealing with its worst PR crisis in years.
In case you missed it: Prince Andrew’s campaign to distance himself from the Epstein scandal completely imploded this week after his truly insane interview with Newsnight. Yesterday, he was (probably forced) to announce that he will be ceasing all public duties for the foreseeable future. He is still struggling to show any signs of remorse, however: This morning, he smiled and waved at paparazzi as he drove up to Buckingham Palace.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this photo of Bernie Sanders backstage at an Ariana Grande concert. Can you imagine fellow pop star Taylor Swift making such an easy breezy political statement?
This article originally appeared on VICE US.