The 91st Annual Academy Awards were tonight in Los Angeles and, like roughly 98% of the global population, I tuned in for one reason and one reason alone: The GAGA COOPER DUET. While I found the entirety of A Star is Born to be overrated save for some key romantic chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, as well as a beautiful performance by Sam Elliot, “Shallow” was undeniably the song of the fall/winter season. It was the only time I cried during the entire film.
I turned to my mom as the final credits rolled and said “Wow, you would think those two are in love.”
And I continued to think that throughout most of the press tour that followed A Star Is Born’s release. The duo would play coy in any number of interviews and press junkets. They held hands at Cannes. Gaga proclaimed, now infamously, that Cooper was the only person who believed in her. This was all before the ELLE Women in Hollywood speech where Gaga thanked her — now ex — fiancé, Christian Carino. So, as far as I knew, Gaga was single and very possibly making out with Bradley Cooper. I admittedly felt the smallest amount of joy when it broke that Gaga and Carino had called off their engagement after the Grammy Awards.
One small problem — Bradley Cooper was never single to begin with. It felt as if the world had all forgotten that he was instead dating Victoria’s Secret model Irina Shayk. The very private pair have been together since 2015. They welcomed a daughter, Lea de Seine Shayk Cooper, in 2017.
While the entire internet was divulging in a Gaga/Cooper dreamscape, Shayk stayed mostly out of view. Well, until tonight’s awards ceremony, where she was seen siting next to Gaga all night. Then, around 8:30 p.m, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper delivered a performance that sent the internet into a tailspin. They almost kissed! He kept his hand on her lower, lower back! She rested her perfectly-coiffed head on his shoulder!
And Irina, in all her supermodel glory, watched while the internet lost its mind her baby daddy and the newly-single superstar.
And that sucks. I love a good fanfic, but what about when those people are actually happily with someone? I hardly saw any news about Irina and Bradley over the course of this entire A Star is Born news cycle. I don’t think he mentioned her once. Is that really fair? Now, I’m assuming all is well between Cooper and Shayk considering we have heard nothing about them, but I also imagine that it must be very hard to watch thousands of people dream that your partner should be with someone who is not you. Imagine having to sit through countless interviews, watching your partner seemingly flirt with someone for the cameras, pour his heart out to her over and over again.
Want proof? Look at the recent comments on a recent Instagram post by Elle displaying Cooper and Shayk on the red carpet.
But this all goes beyond a simple made-up romance between two onscreen lovers. This entire internet obsession completely devalues the existence, and importance of, platonic love. While Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga aren’t romantically together, they can still love each other. Platonic love is incredibly important: it reinforces one’s ability to have strong, meaningful relationships outside of their romantic or same-sex relationships. I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that men and women cannot simply be friends. In the case of Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, they clearly each admire the other’s work in their own respective fields. Being that A Star is Born is Lady Gaga’s first acting role, it would make sense that the entire experience is extremely impactful to her. It also would make sense that she and Cooper would become close over the course of making the film, presumably because he played a major role in her transition from a singer to an actress. But, that does not by any means make them an item.
Also, you can have chemistry with someone who isn’t your romantic partner. Hayley Nahman of Man Repeller wrote a really wonderful piece on having crushes on someone else while in a romantic relationship, and I think a lot of the points can be applied here as well. She writes:
“Human affection is an expansive, complicated thing, and it’s not something that turns off the moment you enter a relationship.”
Nahman’s article is fairly personal, but it goes on to direct the idea that human attraction is a complex, difficult thing. We as the viewing public do not know the parameters of Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper’s intimate relationship. We do not know the conversations they’ve had, if any. We do not know the relationship between Shayk and Gaga, either. As long as we do not know these intimate details, I don’t think it’s appropriate to wish ill on another human being’s love life.
#JusticeforIrina, lets get it trending.